You know, Martin Truex Jr might just win this thing. This observer has said this concerning more than a couple of races over the last few seasons. For a time, the 2004 and 2005 Busch Series champion would be much like a Jamie McMurray: good enough to contend, but not quite a closer.
Then he started winning. Nine of the Marietta, New Jersey native’s 11 career Cup wins have come since the onset of the 2015 season. OK, so winning a couple of races is one thing, but a championship contender? Perhaps it’s only Sunday that this fan has come to realize that Martin Truex Jr could be this season’s champion.
Week after week, the 78 is contending, regardless of the track. I’ve always said that I become impressed when a driver can demonstrate road course excellence in addition to proficiency on an oval. Guess what? Not only has Martin Truex Jr a win at Watkins Glen, but don’t forget he also took the checkered flag at Sonoma in 2013 while racing for Michael Waltrip.
Champions are a threat everywhere. Their cars have speed every week. To hear Truex and crew chief Cole Pearne tell it, they are well past just being content to win races. Four wins last season were nice, but there was a commitment by the 78 team to be better. Not every team possesses that kind of hunger.
The stars are aligning for Martin Truex Jr Furniture Row Racing has taken all the steps to be a serious contender. The alliance with Joe Gibbs Racing has paid such dividends that they’ve outperformed their “big brother.” Toyota has equipped with the horses to ride. If being headquartered in Denver (instead of say, Charlotte) is a handicap, it’s not readily apparent. It’s all there. There is no obvious reason that Truex and Company can’t win it all.
To get to the giddy heights the 78 has attained, you have to be consistent. That is what has set them apart from fellow contenders Kyle Busch, Kyle Larson, Kevin Harvick and Jimmie Johnson. While there’s a lot of season left, but if Martin Truex Jr can remain slump-proof, the playoffs won’t even be close.