By Reid Spencer, NASCAR Wire Service
If you don’t consider Martin Truex Jr. one of the favorites to win this year’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship, you haven’t been paying attention to the first two races in the Chase.
Truex won the Chase opener at Chicagoland Speedway and had perhaps the fastest car a week later at New Hampshire, though he dropped to seventh at the finish after a late restart.
Now he comes to Dover, the track closest to his childhood home in Mayetta, N.J., full of confidence—and not just because he’s locked into the Chase’s Round of 12 by virtue of the win at Chicagoland. Dover gave Truex his first Sprint Cup victory in 2007; in addition, he notched two poles and 10 top 10s at the track.
And it’s not the Chicagoland victory that accounts for the laid-back Truex’s relaxed attitude. That sort of atmosphere permeates the Furniture Row Racing team.
“I think that we’ve been pretty relaxed throughout preparing for the Chase and starting it off,” Truex asserted on Friday at Dover. “Obviously, winning Chicago was a big deal for us, but I think that we really haven’t paid much attention to everybody else. We’ve really just focused on what we’re doing and obviously happy to be locked in that next round already.
“But, all in all, I think our teams had a good focus, a good outlook, a good mind-set even before the Chase started. We’ve just had a lot of confidence and a lot of momentum—obviously. So things are going well and I think for us it’s just important to keep that mindset, not get too many highs or lows and just keep that even keel and be smart and race hard.”