Dave Moody sounds off on Martin Truex Jr.’s dominance, and the surprising strength of Ford

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In this week's edition of 'The Pulse' Dave Moody sounds off on Martin Truex Jr.'s dominance in California, and the strength of the Ford teams.

ADAM ALEXANDER: We're back on NASCAR RACE HUB. Time for The Pulse, live on FS1 and Sirius XM NASCAR Radio. Dave Moody, the godfather, with us, alongside Brad Keselowski.

So Dave Moody, let's go to the number one topic of the week. Martin Truex Jr. Huge victory in Fontana, California. What are the fans saying about his dominating performance?

- Not a lot of surprise, Adam. If you looked at Martin Truex this year, they haven't been very far away from winning a race. They came into Fontana just 12 points behind a guy, Kevin Harvick, who had won 75% of the races. If you're that close to a guy that's been that dominant, you got something pretty good going on yourself.

- What do you think about all that, Brad?

- Well, I think Martin had a great weekend. Swept it, right? Won both stages and the race, but I got to look up at the scoreboard. Kevin Harvick's got three wins, Martin's got one. How can you write off Kevin Harvick? So he had one bad race at California. He's got three wins. That's big to me.

- That one bad race dropped him down to 8th in points. He doesn't care a lick, because those three wins have got him absolutely, positively, beyond any doubt transferring on to the playoffs. So I think that 4 team's in a really great place right now.

- Yeah, great place. But now if I'm looking at Martin Truex Jr., won last year's season championship, won the most races, I got to be thinking to myself, Dave, the confidence that my team just got from winning at California Speedway. That's a big race to win. It's one of the fastest race tracks. If you can run well there, you've got aerodynamics figured out.

- That's exactly right. And it's not just the fact that he won, it's how he won. Just laid it on everybody. Won the pole, won all three segments, drove away to win by an 11-second margin of victory. That's not just a win, that's a good old-fashioned woodshed whipping.

- Dave, when you look at the 4 car organizations, two have separated themselves. Stewart-Haas Racing and Joe Gibbs Racing. On the Ford side of things, how impressed are the race fans with the blue oval? Because they're out of the gates and I think surprising a lot of people.

- Yeah, I think so too. I think that maybe people took to the bank that Ford Motor Company has the oldest car out there, or the oldest body out there, and thought maybe that they would just kind of hang on for a year and then get the new one next year. That certainly hasn't been the case. And young Keselowski and company over at Team Penske aren't far off on this thing either, are you?

- We're not far off, but we don't have three wins. And when you talk about Ford, really I think the conversation's about Harvick. He's the one that's winning the races. He's the one that's leading the laps. Without that, the conversation is back to where we were at the end of 2017, in my mind. So you got to give Kevin the credit.

Now the Stewart-Haas cars are running the best they've ever run. The 10 car already has more top 10s in five races than it had all of last year, but they're not winning races. Harvick's the one winning races.

- Now wait a minute. Correct me if I'm wrong, Brad. I look at the point standings, and I think there are three Penske cars inside the top five. Am I right in saying that?

- It's been good. It's been good.

- But are you surprised at the results, because we all know you were a little bit of a naysayer about speed, so how does it balance out here?

- Well, it is balancing out well, but they're not wins, and we want wins as a team. Penske Racing wants wins. That's what we're for. We're at the race track to win, not to be top five in points. So when you look at wins, wins generally come from when you lead a lot of laps. Sometimes you can fall into a race in the last few laps and bring home a win, but generally speaking, you want to be like the 4 car. You want to be leading a lot of laps every week. That's how you want to win races.

- Just for the record, it's still March, right? I mean, Joe Gibbs Racing didn't win a race last year until July. Two years ago when they converted over to Ford, Stewart-Haas Racing struggled for 2/3 of the season and were still relevant come playoff time. You don't have to win the month of March. You don't have to even win in the month of March. It's nice to do it, but we've got plenty of time yet.

- I hate to bring up inspection, but we had a fairly large issue come up at California Friday during qualifying. We spoke of this earlier on the show. 13 cars didn't get out and make a qualifying run at Auto Club Speedway. What are the fans saying about that, Dave?

- Well, it was an embarrassment for the sport, it was an embarrassment for the teams. We've had a number of crew chiefs and driver types in the last couple of days say that in their opinion not everybody failed inspection by accident. Some of them failed it on purpose because they didn't want to race their car.

The bottom line that we're coming to on all of this, Adam, after two or three days of analysis, is that NASCAR made a really good move on Saturday to eliminate the incentive for anyone to go out there and not try their best. You should never be able to get ahead in this sport, or any other, by giving anything less than a full effort, and NASCAR unwittingly got roped into that kind of a corner. I think they've fought their way out of it now.

- You got to give credit to Scott Miller, Steve O'Donnell, the NASCAR team for stepping in, Dave, and fixing the situation-- kind of almost retroactively in the middle of a race weekend-- by allowing the teams to have new tires to start the race, and to completely wipe out the advantage the teams that did not qualify on Friday were going to have for the race on Sunday. So I give a lot of credit to them.

But I think if you take that lesson and move it beyond the race at California Speedway, what NASCAR clearly said is we're not going to have any more of these games. We'll step in when we have to. We don't need an existing rule in the rulebook to make this right by our teams and the fans, and I applaud them for doing that.

- Yeah, I do too. I do too. I loved what they did on Saturday, telling the Xfinity series teams if you don't qualify, we're going to make you drive at 40 miles an hour down pit road while everybody else is hauling it off at a buck 90 into turn one. We're going to give you a pass-through penalty. Shockingly-- not really shockingly, actually-- nobody had a problem getting through tech inspection with that cloud hanging over their heads. It was all NASCAR needed to do. And I think they'll do it again if they need to.