What a weekend it would be for Martin Truex Jr. if he could win Sunday’s Cheez-It 355 at Watkins Glen International.
Truex ended his nearly six year winless streak at Sonoma in June and if he could win this Sunday for the second time this season and third time in his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career, he would solidify his chances at making the Chase.
Truex sits 14th in the Sprint Cup standings just 15 points out of 10th place. He is currently in the second and final wildcard spot to qualify for the Chase but is only nine points ahead of Brickyard 400 champion Ryan Newman entering Sunday’s race.
That is too close to comfort for the driver from New Jersey as he could use one more win to almost guarantee his spot in the 12-car Chase field and really shake things up for the remaining spots.
One thing Truex and Newman who are really good friend off the track have in their favor is the current top driver in the wildcard standings Tony Stewart will drop out of the race after 355 miles of racing Sunday.
Stewart was injured in a Sprint Car crash in Iowa this week and will be out for an extended period of time after two surgeries. That means these two will likely move into the top two wildcard spots for now.
The only thing that will affect these two in the coming weeks if one can’t win on Sunday is they’re behind Brad Keselwoski and Kurt Busch in the standings of drivers outside the top 10 entering Sunday’s race. If one of them doesn’t win tomorrow or can at least stay in front of them but can win one of the remaining four races prior to the Chase they could take the two spots away.
Keselowski has finished second the last two years at Watkins Glen and starts eighth tomorrow. Busch is also a pretty good road course racer and has four top 10′s in 12 starts at the Glen.
That’s why Truex knows while he has a good road course program going this year and qualified third for tomorrow’s race needs to capitalize. He wants to put the No. 56 NAPA Toyota in victory lane Sunday afternoon and really put himself in a good position and breathing room. This is his best chance to do that.
Eric Smith is the Lead Motorsports Writer for Race Review Online. Follow him on Twitter @ericsportsguru
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