There’s something about the Sprint Showdown that seems to bring out the best in Martin Truex Jr.
In eight editions of the Showdown, Truex has two wins, two other top-5 and a total of six top-10 finishes.
Of course, for Truex to advance to Saturday’s Sprint All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway, he once again will need to win one of the two 20-lap segments in the Showdown the night before.
“The bad news heading into the weekend is that we’re not qualified for the big show,” Truex said in a media release. “The good news is that we’ll be at a 1.5-mile track which has been one of our strong suits this season.”
Truex feels he has a good shot to win one of the Showdown races and advance to the All-Star event for the sixth time in his career. In the two years he’s won a Showdown and transitioned to the main event, Truex has finished 10th (2007) and a career-best 2nd (2010).
Since that runner-up showing in 2010, he’s made the All-Star Race just one other time, last season, when he finished 18th (due to a crash two-thirds of the way through the event).
With the season he’s had to date, Truex is more than ready for Friday’s Showdown.
“It’s a safe bet that the Showdown will be two no-holds-barred races,” he said. “Every car will be going for the gold, including our Furniture Row/Denver Mattress Chevrolet. Silver and bronze don’t count. It’s first or nothing.”
That the Showdown and All-Star Race will be held on a 1.5-mile track is actually an advantage for Truex.
“Our best overall run at a 1.5(-mile) track was last Saturday night in Kansas where we led the most laps (95) and had an excellent shot of winning that race,” he said.
While he’s still yet to reach Victory Lane in 2015, Truex has had an outstanding season to date nonetheless, the best start of his Sprint Cup career.
In the first 11 races, Truex has finished in the top 10 in all but one, matching points leader Kevin Harvick (Truex is second in the standings).
The performance of Truex and the No. 78 Furniture Row Racing Chevrolet at Kansas could bode well for All-Star weekend and in the Coca-Cola 600 a week later.
In four races this season at 1.5-mile tracks, Truex has an average finish of 6.75, with a sixth at Atlanta, second at Las Vegas and ninth at Texas and Kansas.
“We’ve proved that we can run in the top-10, but we also want to prove that we can win a race,” Truex said. “I truly believe we’re getting closer and closer to Victory Lane.”