Do you remember that golden horseshoe that Kevin Harvick once referenced in relation to seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson? Do you wonder where it went? Well, I think you’d agree Harvick doesn’t have it, and neither does the hyper-dehydrated Kyle Busch. If you’re looking for luck, you may just find it in the tool box of Cole Pearne, crew chief for Martin Truex Jr.
By now, it’s safe to say Martin Truex Jr. is having one of those years. We’ve chronicled well his years of struggle until things started coming together in his second season at Furniture Row Racing. Check it out: he started 17th. Then, the regular season champion opens the race with a set of tires he wasn’t expecting, providing a car that was a handful to start.
Champions find a way to power through. Poor performance on pit road can make a good driver look bad, a strong performance can help bail out a potentially bad day. This is a far cry from this race at Richmond in 2011 during his days with Michael Waltrip Racing (warning: language gets pretty salty). Whether you’re a Truex fan or not, the story of of driver who went about six seasons between his first and second Cup victory is a testament to perseverance. Now, instead of luckless languishing, MT is equipped with all he needs to be put into a position to win. Since 2015, the New Jersey native has captured 11 of his 13 career Cup wins.
In another NASCAR day and time, Martin Truex Jr. would be cruising to his first NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series title. Kyle Larson, Harvick and the younger Busch are all mustering enough good days to try to keep Truex honest, but race in and race out, the 37-year old must be accounted for.
Weird things can happen to take Truex out. With this funky playoff format we have now, someone could abscond with that golden horseshoe at Homestead, and the season Martin Truex Jr. is having ould go down in history with David Pearson’s 1973 or Harry Gant in 1991 as great seasons underappreciated because it produced no championship. Until someone finds that gold luck charm, sit back and enjoy the ride, you encouragers of the underdog.