We saw Martin Truex Jr. last Sunday at Sonoma break a really, really long dry spell from visiting Victory Lane. While he has had a number of second-place finishes, I have been around Martin enough to know that he was getting extremely frustrated at not being able to seal the deal.
I honestly think he was at that point mentally where it was beginning to hurt his driving because he was trying too hard. Now getting to Victory Lane last Sunday is going to prime this team like never before. He’s got the right people in place to give him the opportunity to win more than one race this year, plus be a factor in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.
A lot of drivers who go through a winless-span like Martin has will begin to question themselves as a driver. They will also begin to question themselves about whether they are giving the crew chief and the team the right feedback to improve the car. That issue has been removed from Martin’s mind because he now has the victory to prove it.
I honestly see the floodgates open for the No. 56 car. I wouldn’t be a bit surprised to see them return to Victory Lane this weekend at Kentucky. I wouldn’t be a bit surprised to see them win two, maybe three more times this year.
With Sunday’s win at Sonoma, Martin has jumped three spots in the points. He’s now 10th but probably even more important than that, he has a win in his pocket should he need it for a possible Wild Card spot. Remember, there are two Wild Card spots in the Chase. They are for the drivers who are not in the top 10 in points but are in the top 20 in points.
We have 10 races to go, starting this weekend at Kentucky Speedway, before the 2013 Chase field is set in September. If for some reason Martin should be outside the top 10 come the checkered flag at Richmond, this win last Sunday is going to play a critical role in he and the No. 56 still making the 2013 Chase via a Wild Card spot.