Martin Truex Jr.âs triumph in last Sundayâs race at Martinsville Speedway served as his 26th career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory, continuing Truex Jr.âs surge up the all-time wins list late in his NASCAR career.
As it turns out, when it comes to winning, itâs actually Truex and Dale Jarrett who have much in common at NASCARâs highest tier. Truex is just six wins away from tying the Hall of Fame driver on the all-time wins list, but itâs a particular span where their success on the race track link up.
Letâs first focus on the initial nine seasons of their respective Cup Series careers. While his first career win came at Michigan International Speedway in 1991 driving the iconic Wood Brothers Racing No. 21, Jarrett scored four race wins in that time span, earning two victories driving the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing entry in 1993-94, including the â93 Daytona 500. He followed that up with another win in his inaugural season driving the No. 28 for Robert Yates Racing in 1995.
For Truex, his first nine years brought along a pair of checkered flags. His maiden Cup Series victory came at Dover International Speedway in 2007 in the No. 1 Dale Earnhardt Inc. machine. In 2013, his first season with Michael Waltrip Racing, Truex scored another win at Sonoma Raceway.
But itâs their next 177 starts where the similarities between their accomplishments really begin to take shape. Truexâs span of 177 starts stretches from the 2015 Daytona 500 through last Sundayâs race at Martinsville, while Jarrettâs begins with the 1996 Daytona 500 and ends with the 2001 spring race at Dover.
|Dale Jarrett||Martin Truex Jr.|
|Championships||1 (1999)||1 (2017)|
Among the 24 victories for Truex include a trio of crown-jewel events, including the Coca-Cola 600 (2016, â19) and 2016 Southern 500. Jarrett was able to earn five trips to Victory Lane in crown-jewel races during that stretch â the Coca-Cola 600 (1996), Brickyard 400 (1996, â99) and Daytona 500 (1996, â00).
The only major difference overall lies in Daytona 500 victories where Jarrett owns three triumphs, while Truexâs quest for his first Harley J. Earl trophy continues into the 2020 season.
The biggest takeaway is Jarrettâs 2014 induction into the NASCAR Hall of Fame makes it almost certain that Truex is destined to have a place among the sportâs legends. With a bid now secured in the Championship 4 at Homestead-Miami Speedway later this month, Truex has the opportunity to bolster that cause even more with a second title, which would surpass Jarrett on another all-time list.
Contributing: Stats from Racing Insights