The 35-race preamble is over for the Cup Series and Martin Truex Jr.
After dominating all season in almost every statistical category, Truex now knows who he has to fend off to win the Cup title .
The 37-year-old driver stands out among the group. He’s the only one without a Cup title.
“That means it’s my turn,” Truex said.
The No. 78 team heads into the race after finishing third at Phoenix.
Truex placed in the top three in all three Round of 8 races. Those three top fives give him a season-high 18. Keselowski is tied with Denny Hamlin for second with 15.
Among those top fives for Truex are a series- and career-best seven wins.
“Definitely excited about the position we’re in, to go to Homestead,” Truex said “Feel like we’ve got a lot of momentum, we’ve got a lot of consistency in our team, and doing all the right things right now. ”
With a series-best 19 stage wins and 2,175 laps led, Truex is the statistical favorite heading into the Ford EcoBoost 400. The season finale is held at a 1.5-mile track. Truex has earned six of his seven wins on similar tracks.
“If I’m the favorite, perfect, I like that,” Truex said. “I think it’s a better position to be in. I was the underdog before (in 2015) and I finished fourth, so yeah, bring it on.”
Truex will try to capture his first Cup title in his 12th full-time season. Keselowski’s title (2012) was in his third season, Busch’s in his 11th season (2015) and Harvick’s title came in his 14th (2014).
“I don’t think it’s any extra pressure at all,” Truex said. “I have a lot of respect for all three of these guys. Two of them were in the Final Four when I made it in 2015 (Busch and Harvick). Definitely have a little bit of experience in this position, but you know, honestly just excited about the opportunity. I feel like we’re in a whole lot better spot as a team than we were the first time we had a shot at it, and we’re going to go out there and just do the best job we can do.
“I’ve got a lot of confidence in our team right now and what we’re doing, and I think today was a perfect example of that for us, so just keep doing what we’re doing, go down to Miami and just have fun and do what we know how to do. Do the best job we possibly can and hopefully come out on top.”
If Truex does take the title, he will do it without the presence of team owner Barney Visser at the track.
Visser is recovering from bypass surgery on Nov. 6, two days after he suffered a heart attack. Truex said he had been home since Friday.
“It’s definitely a bummer,” Truex said. “For a long time he thought he was bad luck because we only won when he was not here. So if we do win it next weekend and he’s not there, he may never show up again.”