NASCAR Chase Preview: Martin Truex Jr.

Christopher LeoneSenior Analyst ISeptember 11, 2012

RICHMOND, VA - SEPTEMBER 07:  Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #56 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota, looks on from in the garage during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond International Raceway on September 7, 2012 in Richmond, Virginia.  (Photo by Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Jerry Markland/Getty Images

Every day here at Bleacher Report, we'll be counting down the 12 drivers in this year's Chase for the Sprint Cup by posting two driver previews, breaking down how they got in and what they're going to do with their berth. Today we feature the two winless drivers in the top 10, Kevin Harvick (ninth) and, here, Martin Truex Jr. (10th).


MARTIN TRUEX JR., #56 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota, Michael Waltrip Racing

CHASE POSITION: 10th, 2000 points (0 wins)

MAKING THE CHASE: Truex nearly scored his first win since 2007 at Atlanta, eventually finishing fourth but locking up his Chase berth in the process. It marked the first time that a Michael Waltrip Racing car ever clinched a spot in the Chase.

LAST 10 RACES: The No. 56 team has actually been one of the most consistent in all of Sprint Cup as of late. Besides Atlanta, he also scored a third place finish at Pocono, as well as top-10 finishes in more than half of the past 10 events. That all adds up to a strong average finish of 10.3, one of the better marks in the Chase.

LAST YEAR'S CHASE: Truex missed last year's Chase, but managed to rebound from 24th in points at Martinsville up to 18th at Homestead. The first half of his Chase saw an average finish of 24.6, but the second saw a much more respectable 9.8 for an overall average of 17.2.

AT CHASE TRACKS: Truex's lone career win came at Dover, his de facto home track, but his best Chase track is actually Homestead, where he owns a 10.4 average finish and has never finished worse than 11th since joining the series full-time. However, he has sub-20 average finishes at Martinsville (21.4), Kansas (23.2) and Talladega (23.5).

OUTLOOK: Read more into Truex's past 10 races than you do into his past record when you think about his Chase this year. Michael Waltrip Racing has made impressive strides over the past year, which he began to show late last season and has carried through until now. It's doubtful that he'll win the title without breaking into the winner's circle, but this team is now good enough to do it.


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