Martin Truex Jr. looks to leave Darlington Raceway Sunday night after the Bojangles’ Southern 500 with the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series regular season crown.
The Furniture Row Racing driver can do that if he leaves Sunday’s race with a 61-point advantage and if he does, he’ll add 15 playoff points to his total. “It would be huge for us,” Truex Jr. said. “I mean, especially I think huge for our team, huge for me as a driver – we’ve never been close to this before, so to be able to compete at the highest level for 28 races or whatever it is and be atop the heap would be a huge accomplishment for all of us, so hopefully we can get it wrapped up this weekend and, yeah, I mean the bonus points are awesome, but just I think it’s a big deal for our team to be able to accomplish that for the first time in all of our careers.” But even with the comfort of knowing he’ll have a distinct advantage over the other drivers in this year’s playoff race with his point cushion, Truex Jr. is quick to caution it doesn’t necessarily make him the favorite to win the championship. “I don’t think you can pick favorites any more with the rounds and the stages and just, you know, we’ve seen last year you couldn’t pick a favorite, so I think it’s kind of the same way now,” he said. “You just never know what can happen with three race eliminations and, you know, I think our team is ready for it. We’ve shown all year long that we are, but you never know what can happen – this is racing and best out of three a few times and you never know how it could go.” Truex Jr., who has won four times this season, is the defending Darlington race winner. However, he again warns just because he won last season and has been successful so far this campaign it doesn’t guarantee anything when the green flag flies on Sunday. “Confidence – for sure we’ve had confidence all year, but you have to be carefull,” he said. “Especially at a place like Darlington, it can get you in trouble. We come to every week open minded and knowing that it’s going to be a challenge. “No matter how good you were last week, it’s no guarantee – you’ve got to go work hard and you’ve got to try to show up prepared the best you can, but there’s plenty of times this year when we’ve come in with confidence and gotten knocked back down to Earth quite quickly at start of practice and had to work pretty hard throughout the weekend, so it’s a huge challenge each and every week with these cars and all these teams out here are so good. You consistently have to find more speed and better setups and figure things out as a driver, so, yeah, confident, but at the same time knowing it’s not going to be easy.”
Monster Energy NASCAR Cup, Martin Truex Jr.
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