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.”
Coming off his best Supercross season to date, Enzo Lopes has re-signed with Muc-Off / ClubMX Yamaha and will race for the team in 2024. The deal is for Supercross only.
Lopes debuted in the Supercross series in 2019 on a Suzuki and scored his first top-10 finishes in his last two starts of that season. Showing consistent improvement, he earned six top-10s in eight Main events the following year and finished fifth in the 250 East standings. In 2022, he scored his first top-five at Daytona and finished in the top five in points again.
“I am happy to be returning to ClubMX for another season,” Lopes said in a press release. “It is like family to me there and that is very important. Although I had many options, staying where I am makes the most sense for many reasons. The bikes are great, the people are great, the tracks are amazing, and I am surrounded by people that care about me. We all want to win and together we will get there.”
While he improved his season-best performance by only one position this year, it was nevertheless a breakout season. Lopes barely missed the podium three times in 2023 with fourth-place finishes at San Diego, Seattle, and Denver.
His strong performance him rumored to be speaking with factory teams.
“We could see the growth from Enzo every time he gets on the bike,” said team owner Brandon Haas. “We all knew it was just a matter of time before he would be noticed by everyone, and we are proud of him on many levels. He had some heat race wins and qualified fastest at three events this season. It would be hard not to be noticed going that fast. He had a big decision to make and we are glad he chose to stay with us at ClubMX.”
Lopes had three podium finishes in heat races this year, including a win preceding his fourth-place finish in Denver.