A Pocono Sweep Will Put Martin Truex Jr. in Elite Company
Martin Truex Jr. is in position to help Pocono Raceway establish a Super 8 Sweeper’s Club.
No, it’s not about a new hotel on the grounds of the Long Pond, Pa. track, but it’s about Truex becoming the eighth driver in Pocono Raceway history to sweep the two Sprint Cup season races at the 2.5-mile triangular venue.
Truex, who claimed the Pocono victory in early June driving the No. 78 Furniture Row/Denver Mattress Chevrolet, could join an elite group of drivers with a win in Sunday’s Windows 10 400.
The seven drivers who have achieved the Pocono sweep are Bobby Allison (1982), Bill Elliott (1985), Tim Richmond (1986), Bobby Labonte (1999), Jimmie Johnson (2004), Denny Hamlin (2006) and Dale Earnhardt Jr. (2014).
“That’s a stout group of drivers and it would be pretty special to be included with them,” said Truex. “After winning there last month how can you not feel good and upbeat about returning to Pocono? We're going to have a big target on our back but that's ok. We'll use everything we learned last time and more to hopefully achieve a Pocono sweep.”
Though Truex was dominant in scoring the Pocono win in June, leading a race high 97 laps and securing a 1.346-second margin of victory, he is well aware that more speed will be required for a duplicate performance.
“Our Furniture Row guys have been working hard to find more speed for this weekend,” explained Truex, a native of Mayetta, N.J. “All the teams are also working harder as we get closer to the Chase. The toughest thing about Pocono is to find the right balance for all three corners. The three unique corners at Pocono are all different and the challenge is to figure out a way to make your car work in each of them. Conditions for this Pocono race will most likely be different, especially with the weather being hotter than in early June."
Truex, who is coming off a fourth-place Brickyard 400 finish, has claimed one win, six top-fives, 15 top-10s in 20 of the 36 races completed this season. He ranks fifth in driver points and sixth in the Chase playoff standings.
Truex’s overall record at Pocono includes 19 starts, one win, three top-fives and seven top-10s. He has a 17.9 starting average and a 15.1 finishing average.