Why the Unfancied Martin Truex Jr. Will Defy the Odds in Phoenix?

Published 11/05/2021, 7:43 AM EDT
Mar 14, 2021; Avondale, Arizona, USA; NASCAR Cup Series driver Martin Truex Jr. (19) celebrates after winning the NASCAR Instacart 500 at Phoenix Raceway. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports


Of the four drivers who will battle for the championship, Martin Truex Jr. is getting the least buzz heading into Phoenix. The Joe Gibbs driver isn’t enjoying major attention either from the media or from the odds. But perhaps this could be the key to his victory.

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Despite having the second-most wins this season with four, only behind Kyle Larson’s 11, Truex is considered as a dark horse in the championship by many.

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Truex had started the season with promise, winning in Phoenix, Martinsville, and Darlington, but then in the second half of the season, he went quiet, with just one win at Richmond in September.

One thing common in all of his four wins and in the coming race on Sunday is that they all support the higher 750 horsepower package. So don’t be surprised if No.19 has some surprises to offer on Sunday.

Martin Truex is in a battle with no enemies

Martin Truex Jr. will compete with Kyle Larson, Denny Hamlin, and Chase Elliott for the title. All of them, except Truex, have something extra to prove.

For Kyle Larson, winning the title, after winning 11 races in a season in which he was dropped and then came back in supreme form, will be a statement to make. His teammate Chase Elliott, the defending champion, will aim to become the youngest driver to win back-to-back titles.

Truex’s teammate Denny Hamlin will be hungrier than ever to end his title drought in a 17-year-old career.

But Martin Truex Jr. has no headlines to make but one ahead of Phoenix. He’d simply want to win with no demons to bury or any enemies to laugh upon.

“Luckily, I haven’t been in any confrontations lately,” he said in a press meet on Thursday as reported in AP News.

“It’s always good to not have enemies when it comes to a race like this.”

A second title?

In his Cup Series career which spans 18 years, Truex has won 31 races. For the fifth time, he is part of the last 4 competing for the title, which in 2017 he won.

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After his victory in Phoenix earlier this season, Truex said, “I wish it was November.”

“Hopefully, we can come back in November and have a shot at the championship.”

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Well, as it has turned out, it’s November and all of Martin Truex Jr.’s wishes have come true. And the only thing left now is to lift the trophy.

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Shaharyar

187 articles

Shaharyar is a Formula 1 & NASCAR writer at EssentiallySports. A Graduate in Journalism from Amity University, he has been a passionate follower of motorsports for the better part of the decade. A Max Verstappen and Ferrari supporter, he dreams of a pairing of the two in the future.

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