NASCAR America: Martin Truex Jr.’s recent performance fuels Silly Season questions

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In the last four races, Martin Truex Jr. seems to be losing ground to Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch in the playoff battle.

On Thursday’s edition of NASCAR America, Pete Pistone, SiriusXM’s co-host of “The Morning Drive,” pointed to Truex’s recent performance and how it may be part of a bigger concern in the team.

Truex’s last four races have resulted in three results of 14th or worse.

“To be fair, some of that is circumstantial,” Pistone said. “Two weeks ago at Bristol he had a really fast race car. He was in contention to win the race and he got in the incident with Kyle Busch, but there just seems to be something off there.”

The reason behind the dip in performance might not all be bad luck. Truex is part of this year’s Silly Season rumors after 5-Hour Energy announced it will not return as a sponsor in 2019.

MORE: Martin Truex Jr. laments timing of 5-Hour Energy’s decision not to return 

Truex’s contract is up at the end of the season and that inevitably led to speculation about his future.

“You can’t help but wonder with all the things that are swirling around this team … where that team is going to wind up, where Martin Truex Jr. might be going next year – if some of that is getting in the way and taking a little bit of the eye off the ball there,” Pistone said.

The relationship between Truex and crew chief Cole Pearn has been one of the secrets to the success of the No. 78 team, but that bond can get strained if one of them believes a breakup is pending.

“A crew chief and a driver, it’s like being brothers, it’s like being married, it’s like being cousins – it’s everything,” Kyle Petty said. “And once one party decides the grass may be greener, the other guy … will turn their back on you in a heartbeat because they feel hurt.”

For more, watch the video above.

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