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Martin Truex Jr. – Seeking Second Cup Championship

Coming from a racing family, Martin Truex Jr. won his first NASCAR Cup Series title in 2017 but has been unable to emulate that success. While he came close twice in 2018 and 2019, the 41-year-old veteran slipped and had to settle for second.

Despite his age, Truex Jr is enjoying the most successful periods of his career. He has made it to his fourth finale in the last five years, having previously reached only one since he made his debut in 2006.

Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #19 Auto-Owners Insurance Toyota, drives during the NASCAR Cup Series Xfinity 500 at Martinsville Speedway on October 31, 2021 in Martinsville, Virginia. Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images/AFP (Photo by Jared C. Tilton / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP)

A solid start to the 2021 season has earned Truex Jr. a spot in the final four – now only one race is separating him from tying his brother’s (Ryan) record of a two-time champion in their respective competitions. Without further ado, let’s check the NASCAR odds for this weekend

How they got here: Wins, Top 5s, Top 10s

Truex Jr. enjoyed a solid start to the season, and while he couldn’t show up in Daytona (25th, 12th), he quickly regained traction and accumulated a streak of four top 10s in the next four races, including a third-place finish in Homestead-Miami and a victory in Phoenix.

By the end of the season, Truex Jr. won four, finished inside the top-5 in 12, and grabbed 19 top-10s. Out of the remaining four drivers, Truex Jr. has the second-most wins of the season but the least top-5s and top-10s.

2021 Stats and Finishes

  •         Wins: 4
  •         Top-5s: 12
  •         Top-10s: 19

Championship history

Truex Jr. won his first and only NASCAR Cup Series title in 2017. The 41-year-old came close in 2018 and 2019. Truex Jr. reached the final four in both of those two seasons but could only manage a runner-up finish.

Although a bittersweet results for Truex Jr., they prove that he is a serious candidate for a strong finish this Sunday.

Past Record at Phoenix Raceway

When we talk experience on the Phoenix Raceway, there is only one driver left in the race who has made more appearances on the track than Truex Jr. With 31 starts in Phoenix, Truex Jr. trails only Hamlin (32); however, unlike Hamlin, Truex Jr. has won here in 2021.

Truex Jr.’s win in Phoenix early into the year was his first W of the season, and coincidentally also his first on the track. Beyond that, Truex Jr. has five top-5s and 13 top-10s, which isn’t exactly spectacular.

What’s more, Truex Jr. average start (11.9) and average finish (15.4) in Phoenix are also two of the worst stats of the remaining four drivers. So, numbers-wise, Truex Jr. is not in a good spot; however, we have to remember that most of Truex Jr.’s success has come from the last five years.

Stats at Phoenix

  •         Starts: 31
  •         Top Finish: 1st (2021)
  •         Top-5s: 5
  •         Top-10s: 13
  •         Average Start: 11.9
  •         Average Finish: 15.4

Why Truex Jr. will win the title

If you believe in the driver’s resurgence in his later years, you have to have some faith in the Joe Gibbs Racing driver. If you look at Truex Jr.’s career as a whole, his achievements are fairly mediocre; however, the 41-year-old has looked like a completely different man since his NASCAR Cup Series title win in 2017.

Adding to that, Truex Jr. has proven that the Phoenix track suits him with his impressive victory in the spring of 2021, and while one victory doesn’t mean much, it indeed proves that Truex Jr. knows his way around the oval.

Why Truex Jr. won’t win the championship

There is a reason why Truex Jr. has made it to the final four, but there is also a reason why the bookmakers have him priced as the least-likely driver to win the championship. Reaching the championship race in four of his last five attempts is undoubtedly a huge achievement; however, it would be hard to argue that he is better than Chase Elliott, Kyle Larson or Denny Hamlin.

Additionally, Truex Jr. has four DNFs on the track from 2020, 2016, 2012, and 2008. While the first two were due to engine issues, the latter two ended in a crash.

Odds

Truex Jr. is priced at +350 to win the NASCAR Cup Series Championship.

Prediction

Truex Jr. is rightfully one of the four drivers who still have a shot at the title. Admittedly, he wasn’t as successful as Larson during the playoffs – but then again, no one was – however, Truex Jr. won in Richmond and placed top four in Las Vegas and Martinsville.

Even though Truex Jr. is priced as the underdog for the championship race, you couldn’t blame anyone for betting on him to win his second title. Truex Jr. has been in solid form, is highly experienced on the track, and knows how to cope with the pressure of the season-culminating race

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