Texas Motor Speedway will be a welcome site for Chase driver Martin Truex Jr., who is on the right side of the cutoff line with two races remaining before the final four drivers battle it out for the NASCAR Sprint Cup championship Nov. 22 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Truex is coming off a sixth-place finish in the eight-driver Eliminator Round opener at the Martinsville Speedway short track. The result put Truex into a tie for second in the Chase standings, nine points to the good. With Jeff Gordon locked into the championship by virtue of his Martinsville win, there are three spots among seven drivers available for advancement.
"Nothing is safe at this point," said Truex, who has a 9.0 finishing average in the seven Chase races. "You have to go out there and fight for every point you can possibly get. You now have seven drivers trying to secure those final three spots. It's difficult to predict what will happen -- all I know it's going to be a tight battle right to the end to be one of the drivers contending for the season title in Homestead.”
He added, “We want to show our fans, the people of Colorado (team's home state) and our new sponsor Western Union that we are indeed a championship caliber team.”
A positive sign for Truex, driver of the No. 78 Furniture Row/Denver Mattress Chevrolet, is that Sunday's AAA Texas 500 at the 1.5-mile oval will be contested at one of his favorite tracks.
"Texas Motor Speedway has a lot of speed, a lot of banking and the tires wear out," explained Truex. "I enjoy all of those characteristics, which is why Texas has been one of my better tracks over the years. Based on how we have run at intermediate tracks this year, I feel good about what we are capable of accomplishing this weekend. We know that everyone is going to step up their game and that's what we need to do."
Truex has nine top-10 career finishes and has led 231 laps at the Texas track, located in Fort Worth. He finished ninth in the spring race and came close a few times in his career of pulling off a win at the Texas track.
"We felt all along that Martinsville was going to be a tough challenge for us and felt more comfortable with the next two Chase races at Texas and Phoenix," noted Truex. "We have the potential to be in the final four -- no doubt about that. But we're in a middle of the dogfight right now and you can't afford to make any major mistakes. I have all the confidence in our team, led by crew chief Cole Pearn. They have brought fast cars to the racetrack all year and I anticipate the same this weekend."