Truex Looks to Clinch

M.Truex Jr.

Martin Truex Jr. can lock up the Monster Energy Series regular-season title Saturday night at Bristol Motor Speedway. (Photo: Getty Images)

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Martin Truex Jr. can lock up the Monster Energy Series regular-season title Saturday night at Bristol Motor Speedway.

Truex heads into the Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race with a 129-point lead over second-place Kyle Larson. If the Furniture Row Racing driver leaves Bristol with at least a 121-point margin, he’ll clinch the regular-season championship with two races remaining.

"It might appear that we have a safe margin, but I’ve been around long enough to know that points can dwindle quickly," said Truex. "The next three races – Bristol, Darlington and Richmond – are at tracks where the odds are higher of your day ending prematurely. That’s why I'm not looking ahead or counting points. All the focus right now is getting a good result in Bristol."

Truex might not be looking at the numbers, but the math is easy to figure out. He’s amassed a huge advantage in the standings thanks to a stellar season that's included four victories and 15 stage wins that have helped him rack up 35 playoff points.

The regular-season crown would add 15 more to his tally. Plus, there are still six more stages left in the regular season for him to gain even more points.

To remain on his torrid pace, Truex will need to overcome the challenge that is Bristol Motor Speedway in Saturday night’s 500-lap event. He hasn’t been outstanding at the Tennessee short track during his Cup Series career, and has just two top fives and three top 10s in 23 starts.

In April, Truex led 116 laps on his way to an eighth-place finish. He’s hoping for improvement on that come Saturday night but remains wary.

"We know the consequences of Bristol," he said. "It’s a place where you can go from having a good day to a bad day rather quickly. Staying on the lead lap and not suffering any major damage to your car are keys to having any kind of success there. The luck factor also comes into play. We had a good run there in the spring and look forward to the same this weekend."

Teams will qualify Friday at 5:45 p.m. to set the lineup for Saturday night’s race.

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