Already a winner, Martin Truex Jr. now changing into a title contender

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Martin Truex Jr. had received a race this season however Sunday’s victory at Pocono might have cemented his title contender standing.

Truex, the reigning Monster Vitality NASCAR Cup Sequence champion, was already within the playoffs and wasn’t precisely having a nasty season, simply not fairly as dominant because the one he loved final 12 months.

Sunday’s victory at Pocono Raceway ought to function a reminder that even when Truex and his crew chief, Cole Pearn, consider they nonetheless want to enhance, they’re greater than able to going toe-to-toe with Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick and popping out on prime.

For a big a part of the ultimate stage of the Pocono 400, the race turned a battle amongst this season’s three finest groups and thru a well timed pit technique name, Truex got here out on prime.

“I feel it was a step in the best route for us this weekend. We’ve been working actually onerous and felt good about it this weekend,” Pearn stated after the race. “I feel you have a look at the primary stage, we have been third behind each these guys, and we handed them each to win the stage. 

“It confirmed that the pace was there in our automobile, and I feel all three of us all day have been give-and-take, the place every of us have been on the stability, we have been all fairly equal. Clearly, having monitor place then was good.”

On the next-to-last warning within the race, Truex and Harvick and two others elected to stay on the monitor whereas the remainder of the sector – together with former chief Kyle Busch – pit for both two or 4 new tires.

Busch was the primary automobile with 4 new tires and lined up eighth on the restart with 17 of 160 laps remaining. In a single lap, he gained 4 positions and seemed like he would quickly mow down each Harvick and Truex.

Even with one other warning and restart, Busch was not capable of make up far more floor as Truex fended off a problem from Kyle Larson earlier than pulling away to the victory.

Proper on monitor

Truex now has as many wins (two) as he did at this level final 12 months, when he when on to attain a career-best eight victories and the championship.

The No. 78 Furnishings Row Racing staff even picked up a stage win on Sunday, one thing that got here far more continuously final 12 months.

“I’d say that I feel we had successful pace (Sunday) for positive. It appeared like Stage 1 we handed (Harvick) for the lead, after which we have been in a position to take a look at,” Truex stated. 

“In direction of the tip of the race there, it (Busch) main, we have been second, (Harvick) was third, and we have been all simply sitting there, couldn’t get any nearer to one another, and I felt like whoever was out entrance at that time was going to be the automobile to beat.

“We have been all so carefully matched.”

Harvick (5), Busch (4) and Truex (two) have now mixed to win 11 of the season’s first 14 races this season. They’re additionally three of the highest 4 drivers in laps led. The opposite is Ryan Blaney, however he has but to earn a victory this season.

Placing a whole race collectively

Though Truex needed to overcome a nasty pit cease early within the closing stage, a lot of the weekend appeared to go as deliberate for Truex and the No. 78 staff.

That would properly be a telling signal.

“I felt like this was the primary weekend shortly, though we’ve been ending good, that all the pieces made sense, all people – we had form of a recreation plan, and all the pieces went the way in which we thought it will, and it was only a clean weekend,” Truex stated.

“It felt like we have been doing all of the little issues proper. So, that’s all the time a very good feeling, and that’s one thing that we actually had final 12 months. We had quite a lot of confidence in our selections and making the best changes for race day and issues like that, and I felt like this weekend we did that. 

“So yeah, I be ok with the place we’re at, and it was undoubtedly a fantastic weekend and an effective way to complete off a weekend.”