This year’s quest for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series championship is far from a two horse race. While Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch are the clear front runners, defending champion Martin Truex Jr. has reminded us his car is no Clydesdale.
Recognizing that the 78 was a long run car at Pocono Sunday, Martin Truex and crew chief Cole Pearn played their cards right and picked off their second win of the season. The Furniture Row team may not appear as imposing as they did in 2017, they’re still a force to reckon with.
If you look at the stat line for the 2017 champion, you can see that the number of Martin Truex Jr. compares quite favorable with Busch and Harvick. He has nine top fives, the same as Busch, while Harvick leads the way with 10. For top 10s, Busch and Harvick have 11, while Martin Truex Jr. has nine. The big difference is the wins, yes, they really matter. Harvick has five, Busch has four and Truex has two. Those three DNFs really hurt.
There’s still room for more. I suspect that Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski will be accounted for. So will just about any veteran driver for Stewart-Haas Racing and Joe Gibbs Racing. Who will take the day at the road courses on the schedule and the summer race at Daytona will add intrigue.
For fans of longshots and underdogs, Martin Truex Jr. is there to represent. The 78 team shows once again that they did not simply capture lightning in a bottle. A driver can get lucky once. But no one gets as lucky as Truex and Company have been over the last three seasons.
They continue to show that the magic is still there. For the fan, Martin Truex Jr. provides a nice counterweight to the polarizing figures dominating figures making most of the headlines, It gives a little something for everyone.