Tuesday, 15 October 2019

Analysis: Truex’s potential to pull off first-round NASCAR Playoffs sweep – NASCAR

Analysis: Truex’s potential to pull off first-round NASCAR Playoffs sweep – NASCAR
27 Sep

Martin Truex did something he’d never done before in his career last weekend and could do something no one’s ever done before in NASCAR history this weekend.

The driver of the No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota won back-to-back races to open the 2019 NASCAR Playoffs, taking the checkered flag most recently at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and then Richmond Raceway. That was his first. There are only three other drivers who have won the first two postseason races since the playoff format was installed in 2004: Greg Biffle, Tony Stewart and Matt Kenseth.

RELATED: What happened to those three

The thing is, none of those drivers went on to score a third win in a row and Truex could very well be the first to do so considering where the next race is: Charlotte Motor Speedway’s Roval.

Truex’s road-course resume looks solid upon first glance. He has made 29 starts and averages a 14.4 finish. That places him seventh-best among playoff-eligible drivers – No. 1 is Chase Elliott with nine starts and an 11.56 average finish.

In five of the last six road-course races, though, Truex has finished first or second. The only one he didn’t end up in the top 10 was last season’s Roval race, where he wound up 14th after he and Jimmie Johnson made contact on the last turn of the last lap battling for the lead. Other than that, he won once at Watkins Glen International (2017) and twice at Sonoma Raceway (2018 and 2019) in that stretch. He was runner-up in the 2018 and 2019 Watkins Glen races, with the former seeing a fuel shortage while chasing Elliott on the last lap and the latter featuring an average running position of third.

So, within three years, Truex accomplished three of his four road-course victories overall. His tally ties Kyle Busch for most road-courses wins among all active drivers. The fourth victory came from Truex’s first trip to Sonoma’s Victory Lane back in 2013.

Truex is also on a roll this season, boasting the most wins in the series with six – the next highest are Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch with four apiece – and holding the top spot in the championship standings with 2,141 points – a 21-point advantage over Kevin Harvick in second. The points will reset at the end of the Round of 16, but Truex will keep the 41 playoff points he has accumulated over the season. Busch is only driver with more playoff points at 46.

Sunday is the third and final race in the Round of 16 – the Bank of America ROVAL 400 at 2:30 p.m. ET (NBC/NBC Sports App, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). The field will then be cut down to 12.

(2014-present: Elimination era)

Date Track Finish
Aug. 4, 2019 Watkins Glen 2nd
June 23, 2019 Sonoma 1st
Sept. 30, 2018 Roval 14th
Aug. 5, 2018 Watkins Glen 2nd
June 24, 2019 Sonoma 1st
Aug. 6, 2017 Watkins Glen 1st
June 25, 2017 Sonoma 37th
Aug. 7, 2016 Watkins Glen 7th
June 26, 2016 Sonoma 5th
Aug. 9, 2015 Watkins Glen 25th
June 28, 2015 Sonoma 42nd
Aug. 10, 2014 Watkins Glen 13th
June 22, 2014 Sonoma 15th

Source: https://www.nascar.com/news-media/2019/09/26/martin-truex-jr-road-course-succes-sweep-roval/


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