Martin Truex Jr.’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series championship aspirations are already looking good but on Saturday night at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway they can get even better.
Entering Saturday night’s Bass Pro Shops Night Race, Truex leads the series in wins (four), points (933), playoff points (35) Stage victories 915) and laps led (1,372).
A good finish, or even a victory at Bristol, could potentially allow him to add ‘regular season champion’ to that already-impressive list.
Truex holds a 129-point lead in the series standings over Kyle Larson. Should he leave Bristol with at least a 121-point margin, he will clinch the regular season title with two races remaining before the playoffs begin.
“It might appear that we have a safe margin, but I’ve been around long enough to know that points can dwindle fairly quickly,” said Truex. “The next three races – Bristol, Darlington and Richmond – are at tracks where the odds are higher of your day ending prematurely.
“So, that’s why I am not looking ahead or counting points. All the focus right now is getting a good result in Bristol.”
Truex’s performance in Bristol’s spring race earlier this year was his best at the track during his career. He qualified third, won Stage 1 and finished eighth. He led more laps – 116 – than he did in his previous 22 Bristol starts.
“We all know the consequences of Bristol,” Truex said. “It’s a place where you can go from having a good day to a bad day rather quickly. Staying on the lead lap and not suffering any major damage to your car are key to having any kind of success there.
“The luck factor also comes into play. We had a good run there in the spring and look forward to (another).”
Should Truex clinch the regular season title on Saturday night, he would again an additional 15 playoffs points, giving him at least 50 entering the playoffs, and with two races still remaining in which to collect them.