Martin Truex Jr. Sits in a Dangerous Position After New Hampshire

Martin Truex Jr.

Getty Martin Truex Jr. is in a dangerous spot after 20 races.

The 2017 Cup Series champion sits in an unfavorable position despite turning in a top-five finish at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Martin Truex Jr. is now on the playoff bubble after Christopher Bell won the Ambetter 301 and took a spot in the playoffs.

There are six races remaining in the regular season, and Truex is just above the cutline. He is 68 points above Kevin Harvick, who finished fifth at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. This is a significant change from the prior week considering that Bell was the one on the bubble. His win locked him into the playoffs and dropped Truex into a dangerous spot.

Truex was dominant early in the Cup Series race. He swept the first two stages and led a total of 172 laps. However, the situation changed after Todd Gilliland brought out the caution by spinning on Lap 205. Truex led the field to pit road while Kurt Busch, Joey Logano, and Cole Custer stayed out.

Truex restarted at the rear of the top 10 after getting only two tires, which put him in a difficult position. He was unable to gain any ground while dealing with dirty air and numerous drivers around him. Meanwhile, Christopher Bell and Chase Elliott used four tires to move to the front of the pack where they battled for the win.

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Truex finished fourth overall, but he was unable to cap off another dominant day at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. He now has made 29 starts at the track with eight top-five finishes. He has also led more than 100 laps in five of his starts.


Truex Remains the Only Winless Driver at Joe Gibbs Racing

For the second consecutive season, the four drivers at Joe Gibbs Racing are all tentatively in the playoff field. Kyle Busch secured his spot with a win at Bristol Motor Speedway, Denny Hamlin won at both Richmond Raceway and Charlotte Motor Speedway, and Bell won at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

Truex is the only winless driver on the team in 2022, but he has been in contention at multiple tracks. He posted top-five finishes at Richmond Raceway, Talladega Superspeedway, and New Hampshire Motor Speedway. He was also running near the front of the pack at Darlington Raceway prior to a wreck that collected him and several other drivers.

While Truex has not won in 2022, he has been consistent while fighting for top-10 and top-five finishes. He has the most stage wins with seven, two more than Team Penske’s Ryan Blaney and Elliott. He is also fourth in overall points. The only thing missing with six races remaining is a win.


Truex & Blaney Have Success at Upcoming Tracks

Martin Truex Jr.

GettyMartin Truex Jr. races at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

Truex faces very steep odds to reach the playoffs, especially with it becoming more likely that there will be at least 16 winners in the regular season. Truex and Blaney are the two remaining drivers above the cutline, and they will face extra pressure in the coming races.

The two drivers can move forward with the knowledge that they have success at the upcoming tracks. Blaney won at both Michigan International Speedway and Daytona International Speedway to cap off the 2021 season, and his first career win was at Pocono Raceway.

Truex, for comparison, has won at three of the remaining tracks in the regular season. He reached Victory Lane three times at Richmond Raceway, once at Watkins Glen International, and twice at Pocono Raceway, the next venue on the schedule.

There are some questions about how the new cars will handle at the Tricky Triangle, especially with only a few drivers previously completing some laps around the track in the Next Gen cars. NASCAR and Goodyear sent Bell, Daniel Suarez, and Aric Almirola to the 2.5-mile track in April for a tire test.

Bell provided some thoughts about the test during a race weekend at Kansas Speedway. He explained that the three drivers ran together in a mock race and discovered that the cars handled mostly as they expected. Though he spun during the two-day session.

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