Truex: "We came from being nobodies" to serious title contenders

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Truex:
Jim Utter
By: Jim Utter
Nov 4, 2017, 5:18 PM

It’s not difficult for Martin Truex Jr. to remain focused on the race hand instead of thinking of what lies ahead in two weeks at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Race winner Martin Truex Jr., Furniture Row Racing Toyota
Martin Truex Jr., Furniture Row Racing Toyota
Martin Truex Jr., Furniture Row Racing Toyota win stickers
Martin Truex Jr., Furniture Row Racing Toyota
Second place qualifying Martin Truex Jr., Furniture Row Chevrolet
Martin Truex Jr., Furniture Row Racing Toyota, Kyle Busch, Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota
Martin Truex Jr., Furniture Row Racing Toyota
Race winner Martin Truex Jr., Furniture Row Racing Toyota
Trouble for Martin Truex Jr., Furniture Row Racing Chevrolet
Martin Truex Jr., Furniture Row Racing Toyota celebrates his win with a burnout

If his thoughts drift to the possibility of winning his first Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series championship, he only has to remind himself of how he got here.

“I think right now when we go to the race track, we really focus in on what we’ve got to do to run up front on Sunday, what we have to do to qualify good,” Truex explained. “That’s kind of our mindset.

“I feel like we’ve done a good job of that, and again, we came from 2014 being nobodies, and we’ve learned along the way, I think, how to control ourselves and our thought process and how to get the most out of each other and ourselves as a group.

“It’s definitely taken some practice.”

Coming a long way in a short time

Truex joined the fledgling Furniture Row Racing in 2014 and struggled his first year. He led just a single lap of competition the entire season and finished 24th in the series standings.

Now three years later, Truex’s No. 78 Toyota team is the class of the field. He has led the most laps this season (2,068), has the most wins (seven) and is virtually assured of racing for the championship at Homestead whether he wins one of the next two races or not.

That’s quite a transformation for a driver, who until last season, had never won more than one Cup race in a season.

“I think we’ve kind of just learned how to (live in the moment) the past few years, especially last year. You always look back at that one as a reminder of at any time it could slip away,” Truex said. “Just try not to worry two weeks ahead of time.

“It doesn’t really matter right now. Of course we are getting our Homestead car ready to go, but aside from that, at the race track, worrying about things out of your control, it really doesn’t do you any good.”

Truex is one again off to a good start in Round 3 of the NASCAR playoffs. He finished an unexpected second last week at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway and qualified seventh for Sunday’s AAA 500 at Texas Motor Speedway.

High confidence heading into Texas

He has six previous wins this season on 1.5-mile tracks and finished eighth in the Texas spring race. There’s little reason to suspect Truex won’t be in the mix for the win on Sunday.

“Definitely confidence is high. I feel good about it. Mile-and-a-half tracks – obviously, they’ve been good for us this year, but honestly, I feel like everywhere we go this year, we can run up front and have a shot at winning,” he said.

“Last weekend was a big race for us, and being able to come here with a pretty nice points cushion feels good, and hopefully we’ll be able to go out here and take care of business.”

 

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About this article

Series NASCAR Cup
Event Texas II
Location Texas Motor Speedway
Drivers Martin Truex Jr.
Teams Furniture Row Racing
Author Jim Utter
Article type Interview