As the regular season is in the homestretch with six races remaining, interest is starting to crescendo about the 15 playoff bonus points that will be awarded to the regular season champion.
The six regular season races remaining are Pocono (this weekend) followed by Watkins Glen, Michigan, Bristol, Darlington and Richmond.
The 10-race playoff for the NASCAR Cup Series championship commences on Sept. 17 at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill.
The good news for current points leader Martin Truex Jr. is that the remaining six regular season races are at venues where he has had strong runs in his No. 78 Toyota Camry. He is currently 48 points ahead of Kyle Larson in the driver standings.
The Furniture Row Racing driver has already accumulated a series high of 29 playoff points as a result of three overall victories and 14 stage wins. (five playoff points for a win and one point for a stage win)
“Our guys back at the shop in Denver have given me fast Toyota Camrys at whatever track configuration we compete on,” said Truex, who will drive the No. 78 Furniture Row/Denver Mattress Toyota at Pocono. “But let’s be honest, no matter how fast your car is, there are those uncontrollable variables that can easily make a good day turn into a bad day. With that said we aren’t putting ourselves ahead of the game. All focus right now is strictly on Pocono.”
Since winning the June 2015 race at Pocono, Truex has been competitive at the 2.5-mile triangular track, but hasn’t been able to nail down a second victory.
“We always seem to be competitive at Pocono and probably should have had another win there,” noted Truex, who finished sixth at Pocono in the June race. “Since that victory two years ago we’ve been on the pole at Pocono, led laps and contended for wins. But haven’t been able to close the deal. Hopefully this weekend it will all come together.”
Truex added, “They call the track the tricky triangle and it is tricky with the long straightaway and three different turns. The guys who are good there make their cars work in all three turns. If one turn is off, you better figure out a way not to mess up the other turns. I always look forward to Pocono. Got some good fishing holes up there as well.”
In 23 starts at Pocono, Truex has one win, three top fives, eight top 10s, one pole, 135 laps led,16.2 starting average and a 16.0 finishing average.