Martin Truex Jr. could probably list a number of reasons why he is having so much fun this season. But the main reason according to the Furniture Row Racing driver is that each week as he heads to a different venue he knows that his Toyota-powered No. 78 Camry has the speed to win the race.
“We go into a race with a realistic expectation of winning,” said Truex. “We have three wins under our belt and probably should have had more. But the feeling that we can consistently run up front has made this a special season so far.”
Fact checking is not necessary when Truex talks about running up front. He is the current Sprint Cup leader for laps led at 1407.
Though Truex continues to maintain his even keel approach as the Chase completes the first round Sunday in the Citizen Soldier 400 at Dover (Del.) International Speedway, he has set a high standard for the single-car Furniture Row Racing team, based in Denver, Colo.
“Our goal is to win the championship,” said Truex. “I truly believe that we have what it takes to capture NASCAR’s ultimate prize. But we have to go out and get it done and hopefully not have something beyond our control stop our forward momentum.”
Truex, who is already seeded in the second round of the Chase due to his win in the playoff opener at Chicagoland Speedway, returns to his home track this weekend and would like nothing more than to once again visit Victory Lane and collect the ominous Monster Mile trophy.
“There’s something special about that racetrack (Dover),” noted Truex. “The first time I went there I fell in love with it. I enjoy the challenges of the all-concrete oval. The biggest hurdle is the bump in turn three. It’s always a challenge to get through that turn without being out of control.”
Dover International Speedway is the closest track in the Sprint Cup Series to where Truex grew up in Mayetta, N.J. The venue was also the site of his first Cup victory in 2007.
“We want to win every single weekend, it doesn’t matter where we go,” explained Truex. “But Dover is special to me. It’s been a while since I won there and a victory heading into the second round of the Chase would give us added momentum.”
Truex, who will be driving the No. 78 Furniture Row/Denver Mattress Toyota at Dover, ranks second in Chase points with a win and a seventh-place finish. He was in position to score back-to-back wins on Sunday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway but was stalled by late-race cautions.
“We had a great car and led the most laps (141) in New Hampshire, but the cautions late in the race didn’t play in our favor,” said Truex. “We also had a shot at winning in Dover in the spring race, but during a late-race restart we were in the wrong place at the wrong time. We were right behind the 48 car (Jimmie Johnson) when its transmission broke and we plowed right into it, causing serious damage to our car.”
In 21 career starts at Dover, Truex’s record includes: one win, one top five, 10 top 10s, two poles and 405 laps led. He has a career starting average of 13.1 and a finishing average of 14.8.