Martin Truex Jr. Expects Business as Usual in Approach to Sunday’s Race

Crew members push the No. 78 Auto-Owners Insurance Toyota, driven by Martin Truex Jr., out to qualifying for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Can-Am 500 at ISM Raceway on Friday. 
Photo – Sean Gardner/Getty Images

AVONDALE, Ariz. – Martin Truex Jr. has two paths to the Championship 4.

He can either win Sunday’s Can-Am 500 at ISM Raceway (2:30 p.m. ET on NBC, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio), or he can score 34 points or more in the event. Either way, the reigning Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion would lock himself into the Monster Energy Cup Series title race.

Truex says the dual scenario isn’t likely to chance the No. 78 Furniture Row Racing team’s approach to the race.

“I think it’s business as usual,” Truex said. “I think if we just have a good, solid weekend with no mistakes and execute with no pit road penalties and none of that crazy stuff happening… With that said, (Friday) was a complete disaster in practice. We took forever to get through inspection, we only got two runs, and we were way off.

“Hopefully we can get it turned around for qualifying and have a good starting spot, but we’ve come from the back here before and got stage points—we did it last week (at Texas). Just hopefully we’ll have a good day (in Saturday’s practice) and a car we feel confident we can run up front with, top-five and go get some stage points and try to make it happen.”

But for Joey Logano’s bump-and-run on the final lap at Martinsville Speedway, Truex might be the only driver already locked into the final four. Logano moved Truex out of the way in the last two corners to claim the victory and advance.

Given his recent performance in the Playoffs, Logano bandied about the notion with crew chief Todd Gordon that he and the No. 22 Team Penske Ford team should be considered the favorite for the championship.

Asked to react to that assertion, Truex answered succinctly.

“Good for him,” Truex said. “I don’t think that’s the case, but that’s just my opinion.”