Martin Truex Jr. has posted an impressive finishing average of 3.8 in the previous five NASCAR Cup Series races.
The streak started with a victory in Kansas, followed by third-place finishes in Charlotte and Dover and a pair of sixth-place results in Pocono and Michigan.
“No question the guys have given me fast race cars every week,” said Truex. “The performances by our Toyota Camrys have been strong. The only hiccup is that we had a shot at winning each of the races since Kansas and didn’t close the deal. The competition is tough and we’ve battled hard in every race. Believe me it’s only going to get harder to win as the season wears on.”
When Truex says it’s only going get harder he is right since the next stop on the Cup schedule is the season’s first road race – The Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway.
The highly technical 11-turn, 1.99-mile road circuit has provided plenty of anxiety to the world’s best stock car drivers since the track’s first Cup event in 1989.
Truex, who will drive the No. 78 Furniture Row/Denver Mattress Toyota this weekend, is not an exception. He has experienced the ultimate high and ultimate low at Sonoma Raceway, winning in 2013 and finishing second to last (42nd) twice in 2010 and 2015.
“It’s a wild race and you have to be ready to expect the unexpected,” said Truex, who finished fifth in last year’s Sonoma race. “You’re out there banging each other through the tight corners. One little mistake will put you in the tire wall or sand trap and end your day.
“But no matter the difficulty of Sonoma’s road course, I love road racing. We’ve not only had good runs at Sonoma but also at Watkins Glen. Actually, the first racing I ever did was on road courses in a go-kart. I had to pick it up early. You couldn’t race on ovals in New Jersey until you were 18 so I raced a lot of road courses early and learned what it takes to do well on them.”
With his sixth-place finish in Michigan coupled with Kyle Larson’s win, Truex dropped from first to second in overall driver points, five markers behind Larson.
On a brighter side, Truex, who won both stages in Michigan, increased his series’ stage wins to 10. The next closest competitor in stage victories has four. Truex’s 20 playoff bonus points also leads the NASCAR Cup Series.
The stages for the Toyota/Save Mart 350 will be 25/25/60 laps for a race total of 110 laps.
Truex career record at Sonoma Raceway includes: 11 starts, one win, two top fives and three top 10s. His starting average is 14.9 and finishing average is 19.5.