It doesn’t matter what sport you’re in, you want to be heading into the playoffs with momentum. Unfortunately, Martin Truex Jr. is sliding in the wrong direction.
The Furniture Row Racing driver went from Dover in early May through Loudon in mid July scoring nine top four finishes in 10 races. Among that string was three wins (Pocono, Sonoma, Kentucky) and three runner-up results (Kansas, Charlotte, Daytona).
In the now five races since, other than a second place finish in his No. 78 Toyota in Watkins Glen, he’s yet to crack the top 10.
That’s uncharacteristic for this team.
Among his last five finishes are 15th, second, 14th, 30th and now 11th respectively. He had a four race stretch earlier in the year where he finished 37th, 30th, 14th and 26th respectively between Texas and Talladega, but none of the four tracks during that stretch of the schedule are strong suits for him.
Darlington is one of his better tracks too. He entered this weekend with three straight top 10 finishes including a win in 2016. He’s had some dominating nights in the Southern 500 and now Truex heads to Indy hoping to reverse this bad luck string. If not, he’s going to have some troubles in the playoffs to end it.
In the race itself, Truex was running strong early and was in contention before having an uncontrolled tire on one of his pit stops in the second stage. He fell two laps down but made up one lap and was in the free pass position before race leader Kyle Larson lapped Austin Dillon on the final lap of that stage. Truex, was pinned a lap down. Then, to make matters worse, in the final stage he had a loose wheel and had to have an unscheduled stop.
These are things championship teams don’t make this time of year.