Three drivers moving closer to significant NASCAR Sprint Cup milestone

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Martin Truex Jr.’s sixth-place finish Sunday at Martinsville Speedway was easy to overlook but it accomplished something that has not been seen in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series since 2010.

Truex’s finish marked his sixth consecutive top-10 finish. That’s the longest top-10 streak to open a season since Greg Biffle scored six top-10s to begin the 2010 campaign.

Truex isn’t the only one though. Points leader Kevin Harvick and Joey Logano also have opened the season with six consecutive top-10s to open the season.

NASCAR corrected information it provided previously and stated Tuesday that the record for most top-10 finishes to open a season is 11 by Morgan Shepherd in 1990.

Truex’s streak is one short of the longest top-10 streak during all of last season. Jimmie Johnson had seven consecutive top-10s, which included wins in the Coca-Cola 600, along with Dover and Michigan.

Truex continued his streak despite losing power steering during Sunday’s race. His Furniture Row Racing team later fixed it. He heads into the off weekend third in the points.

“I can’t say enough about the team,’’ said Truex, who had only five top-10 finishes last season. “We showed we never give up. We haven’t all year long.  We haven’t given up on each other since I started here. It feels good to have another good run at one of my worst race tracks. Just can’t believe we were able to stay on the lead lap, fix the power steering and all that and drive back through there.”

Here’s a look at the best top-10 streaks to open a season in recent years:

2015 – Martin Truex Jr., Kevin Harvick, Joey Logano, six consecutive races

2014 – Jeff Gordon, four consecutive races

2013 – Dale Earnhardt Jr., five consecutive races

2012 – Greg Biffle, three consecutive races

2011 – Kurt Busch, four consecutive races

2010 – Greg Biffle, six consecutive races

2009 – Kurt Busch, Tony Stewart and Matt Kenseth, two consecutive races

2008 – Kasey Kahne, three consecutive races

2007 – Mark Martin, four consecutive races (skipped next two races since he was running a partial schedule and came back to score a top-10 in his fifth start of the season)

2006 – Jimmie Johnson, four consecutive races