It’s crazy to what perception does to someone’s mind. Last year, all we could talk about is how dominant that Martin Truex Jr. was during the first 22 races of the 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season. He’d keep that dominance up all the way through the Homestead-Miami Speedway en route to his first series championship.
But, what if I told you that after 22 races into the 2018 season, his stats are in fact mostly better than where they were after 22 races in 2017?
This year, all we’re talking about is the “Big 3” and yes Truex is among those three drivers. But, we also are overlooking at how good of a year that Truex is really having. No, he’s not dominating stage wins or laps led this year compared to last year. At this point last year, he had 1,315 laps led. This year he has 651. But, every other category he’s improved upon.
That’s scary that we’re overlooking that. If he won a championship last year with those numbers, why not this year with better and more improved numbers?
Lets just compared his numbers through 22 races last year and through 22 races this year. In terms of race wins, he won four races at this point in 2017 and has just as many this year. That’s a wash. What about poles? He only had one pole at this point in 2017 and three for the entire season. He’s already at four poles this year alone. His average finishing position for 2017 was 9.4. His average finishing position this year is 9.1. Again, all improvements.
In terms of top 10’s, he has as many in 2018 (15) as he did in 2017 (15). But, in top fives, he has 15 this year compared to nine last year at this point of the season. He’s scored 813 points in 22 races this year but had 881 last year. The only difference in that is stage points and even that isn’t very different.
So, why is he not getting the attention now that he did last year?
Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick are why.
That’s dangerous going into the playoffs because Truex is actually better now than last year.