NASCAR

Can Martin Truex Jr win again?

Martin Truex Jr. gives Michael Waltrip Racing a second consecutive win at Sonoma.
Martin Truex Jr. gives Michael Waltrip Racing a second consecutive win at Sonoma.
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Larry McReynolds

Larry McReynolds has more than 30 years of NASCAR experience as a mechanic, Daytona 500-winning crew chief and broadcaster. He earned 23 Sprint Cup wins as a crew chief, including two victories in the prestigious Daytona 500, as well as a pair of non-points victories in the annual all-star race. Follow him on Twitter.

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After their big win Sunday at Sonoma, race fans have already been asking me if we could we see more wins yet this season out of Martin Truex Jr. and the No. 56 team. I know I wouldn’t rule it out. Poor Martin has been in one heck of a dry spell. His only other win in his NASCAR Sprint Cup career was six years ago at Dover. Now that a span of 218 races.

There’s just been a big change since Chad Johnson has taken over that team as crew chief. Martin has come so close many times to winning a race. They have had six second-place finishes since that win at Dover six races ago. Look what happened to them at Texas earlier this year, where Martin led over half the race but got beat on pit road on the last pit stop. Unfortunately the No. 56 ended up finishing second yet again.

I really don’t believe this was just a flash-in-the-pan deal. They’ve been running well enough all year to win several races. They were good in the Daytona 500, but had an engine failure. As I mentioned earlier, they were good at Texas but got beat on pit road on the last stop. And then at Dover, it looked like they were going to be in a position to be a strong competitor and had engine failure there.

Martin runs really well at the mile and a half tracks. He and the team are carrying a ton of positive momentum into this Saturday night race. It really isn’t out of the realm of possibility that you could go from a driver that went 218 races without winning to possibly getting two in a row at Sonoma and Kentucky for he and the team.

I’m always tickled to see a driver get their first win or in Martin’s case, his first win in six long years. Being a former crew chief though, I am absolutely thrilled to see a crew chief get his first win, which is the case for the No. 56’s Chad Johnson. So a big congratulations to him!

You heard us talk about it all week leading up to the race. You heard us talk about it in the Pre-Race show. Up until Sunday we’ve had eight different winners at Sonoma. Martin Truex Jr. now has extended that streak to nine. To me it really makes a statement that road course racing is becoming as unpredictable as any of the other races we run.

I just want to add a final word about Michael Waltrip Racing. Just a few years ago they were struggling to even qualify for races. At one point there was a lot of concern about them being able to keep their sponsors and even keep the doors open. Now, here they are a consistent, winning organization on the NASCAR Sprint Cup series. There’s a lot to be said about Michael Waltrip and his co-owner Rob Kauffman and the team they’ve assembled there.

Tagged: Martin Truex Jr., Michael Waltrip

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