After another so-so outing at the Talladega big track on Monday, Martin Truex Jr. must be eager to head West. The 2017 champion is the only driver in history to sweep a season’s races at Kansas Speedway (2017) and then he finished runner-up in the very next race – a three-race streak of excellence unmatched in the track’s 19-year history.
Eight of his nine top-10 finishes have been fifth-place or better. He was fifth in this Playoff race last year and 19th here at Kansas this May.
Truex is already the winningest driver of the 2019 season with six victories – including two in the Playoffs (at Las Vegas and Richmond, Va.). He’s second in the championship standings – eight points behind Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Denny Hamlin.
He salvaged a 26th-place finish at Talladega after his No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota suffered crash damage. Prior to that his worst finish in four Playoff races was a seventh place at the Charlotte ROVAL. He was runner-up at Dover. a week ago.
Truex won the 2017 title with a career best eight-wins and finished runner-up to Joey Logano last year. Seven-time Cup champion Jimmie Johnson is the only active driver to earn more than one title.
“We’re pretty happy where we are in the Playoffs now that we’re through Talladega,’’ Truex said. “We knew that would be a wild card for us, but we’re confident we can go everywhere else and be competitive and have a shot to win.
“That starts this week in Kansas. We know what we need to do to move on to the next round, but we’d also like to add more Playoff points if that opportunity presents itself.’’