Martin Truex Jr. may be in the Top 10 of the Sprint Cup standings, but as a major figure in the battle among multiple drivers to make the Chase, he knows that one bad result can cost him a shot at the post-season.
“We’re kind of in that hornets’ nest there, which we’ve been in for the past month or so,” he said Friday at Michigan International Speedway, where he’ll start 17th in tomorrow’s Pure Michigan 400. “We just need to come here and have a good, solid run…These type of tracks have pretty much been what we’ve been our best on the last few years and hopefully, that will be the case again this weekend.”
Truex is better off than some in the Chase fight, as he has a win at Sonoma that could help him earn a Wild Card spot if he’s unable to stay in the Top 10 – which ensures an automatic entry to NASCAR’s playoff stretch.
But he only has a two-point advantage for 10th in the championship over Kurt Busch, who has not yet won a race. He’s also in the middle of a clogged group of drivers from eighth-place Brad Keselowski (no wins) to 12th-place Kasey Kahne (two wins) that is separated by just 12 points.
However, Truex doesn’t seem like he’s biting his nails on the matter just yet.
“The points, again, they are what they are and I’ve kind of gotten the past month or so where I’m, ‘It is what it is,'” said Truex. “We’ve gotten into this position, it’s not where we want to be.
“I don’t feel like as a team, it’s where we should be, but we’re in it and I think all we have to do is just concentrate on the week ahead.”
Much would need to be worked out, starting with how much garage and grandstand access would be afforded for a 2021 season opener that likely would occur during a still ongoing novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
He was a spectator (with racing legend Mario Andretti) at four-time champion Jeff Gordon’s final Cup race as a full-time in the 2015 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. In 2011, Hamilton swapped cars with three-time champion Tony Stewart at Watkins Glen International.
Having rubbed shoulders with other racing greats so often, it would seem right for Hamilton — who is one victory from tying Michael Schumacher’s career record and also could tie the F1 record with a seventh championship this season — to spend some time with the greatest basketball player of all time.