HOMESTEAD, Fla. – Martin Truex Jr. looks to add Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series championship number two to his resume Sunday at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Truex Jr. comes into this weekend’s Ford EcoBoost 400 with seven wins and a shot at a second Cup Series title. After winning the championship in 2017 with the now defunct Furniture Row Racing team, Truex Jr. now has a chance to take the title as a member of Joe Gibbs Racing.
"I definitely don’t take this for granted," Truex Jr. said. "I love this opportunity. Having the time of my life with this team. Love working with these guys, driving their cars. It’s just been amazing this whole season. I just want to try to keep it going, not get ahead of myself, race one week at a time.
"It’s amazing to be here having another opportunity at a championship. I still have a hard time believing I’ve already got one, let alone here we are with a really, really good chance I feel like at a second. I can’t imagine the names of the list I would be on with those others. Still blows my mind. I’m pretty jacked up about it. Hopefully we can get it done."
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Like they were in 2017 winning the title, Truex Jr. and crew chief Cole Pearn continue to be two of the lowest key drivers in the Cup garage. Truex Jr. sees that as a benefit and a strength the duo have in their favor on Sunday as they try to become repeat champions.
"It’s always been a strength for us," Truex Jr. said of his chemistry with Pearn. "I think it’s because we plan ahead, go off past history, have a good understanding of that, and confidence in our decisions. We can live with ourselves if we’re off a little bit maybe in the daytime, kind of understanding what it’s going to do. It’s hard to do that, say we’re going to be off a little bit, but how much.
"Cole does a good job of being confident in himself. I follow suit."
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Truex Jr. will have two JGR teammates in Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch to battle for the title along with Stewart-Haas Racing’s Kevin Harvick. While there are definitely challenges in trying to outrun two drivers that share the same address with Truex Jr., he also sees the benefits to how strong his organization has been this year.
"I think throughout the weekend, throughout the race, you’ll start to look at those things more," Truex Jr. said of having teammates in the title race. "I feel like this race, my personal thought is I feel like we’re going to have to beat the whole field to win this championship. Every year we see it, you got to win the race.
"It wouldn’t be smart, I don’t think, to overthink one guy, what is this guy going to do, what is that guy going to do. You need to focus on what are you going to do. That’s what I’m focused on. I think you’re going to have to win this race just like every other year, so I’m focused on that."