Truex looking to sweep opening round

LAT Images #19: Martin Truex Jr., Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota Camry Bass Pro Shops

In earning his second consecutive victory last week at Richmond Raceway, Martin Truex Jr. became the fourth driver since NASCAR implemented the Playoffs to win the first two races of the sport’s championship drive. 

No one has won the first three Playoff races (Joey Logano did sweep the second round – Charlotte, Kansas, Talladega – in 2015), but there’s a good case to be made about Truex’s ability to do so in Sunday’s Bank of America Roval 400 at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Road Course (2:30 p.m. ET on NBC, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).

Truex took the lead at last year’s Roval race following a 14-car incident with five laps to go. He was leading when a hard-charging Jimmie Johnson challenged him on the last corner of the final lap. The pair spun exiting the turn only yards in front of the finish line and third place Ryan Blaney blazed past to take the victory. Truex recovered to finish 14th and Johnson finished eighth.

Johnson ultimately missed advancing to the second round of the Playoffs by a mere three points. Truex did advance and ended the season runner-up to champion Joey Logano – just missing the chance to become the first back-to-back champion since Johnson won five consecutive titles from 2006-2010.

Truex returns to the Roval locked into the Round of 12 by virtue of his two wins.

Especially later in his career, Truex has proven to be one of the best road course racers in the series. He has wins at both Sonoma and Watkins Glen. In fact, his three Sonoma victories are most among active drivers and he’s won the last two races there. Truex’s lone win at The Glen came in 2017 and he’s finished runner-up the past two seasons to back-to-back Glen winner Chase Elliott.

And just for good measure, Truex has an especially noteworthy resume at Charlotte Motor Speedway – on the oval speedway course used each May. He has won three of the last six races on the speedway course and in 2016 won the Memorial Day Coca-Cola 600 classic from pole position, leading a record 392 of the 400 laps.


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