No matter how many ways you analyze Martin Truex Jr.’s results in recent superspeedway races, the facts don’t change. Simply put, the big restrictor-plate tracks – Daytona and Talladega – have not been kind to the Furniture Row Racing driver.
In his last eight superspeedway races – four at Daytona and four at Talladega – Truex suffered one engine failure and was collected in five accidents.
His average finish in the last four races at Daytona International Speedway is 23.5, including an 18th-place result in February’s Daytona 500.
Truex will be looking for a Daytona reversal of fortune in Saturday night’s Coke Zero Sugar 400.
“It (bad luck) has to change eventually,” Truex said. “We tried some different strategies in the past but we still found trouble. Our mindset is to try and run up front, collect some stage points and hopefully end the race with a clean car and a top 10 finish in our No. 78 Bass Pro Shops/5-hour ENERGY Toyota.”
Though Truex has had issues at Daytona, it wasn’t that long ago when he nearly pulled off a win in the 2016 Daytona 500. His losing margin of one hundredth of a second to Denny Hamlin was the closest finish in the history of NASCAR’s biggest race.
“We know how to run at the superspeedways – that’s not the problem,” Truex noted. “We just need to stay out of the danger zone and avoid the wrecks.”
Truex, who ranks fourth in overall driver points and third in playoff standings, has been consistently strong the past seven races with two wins and six top fives. He is coming off a fourth-place finish at Chicagoland Speedway.
“We’re having a good run right now,” Truex said. “But we’re still working on making the car faster. A little more speed would go a long way for us.”
In the first 17 races of the season Truex has three wins (Fontana, Pocono and Sonoma) and 11 top fives. His average start is 10.9 and average finish is 10.4.
Saturday night’s Daytona race will mark the mid-point of the season.
Truex’s career record at Daytona includes 26 starts, one top five and three top 10s. His average start is 19.0 and average finish is 22.4.
FRR PR/Photo Credit Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images