Momentum can be a fleeting thing.
Just ask Martin Truex Jr., who comes to Sunday’s Bank of America ROVAL 400 (2:30 p.m. ET on NBC, PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) seeking an unprecedented first-round sweep of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs.
“I think we’re feeling good, you know,” Truex said after Friday’s opening practice at the 2.32-mile, 17-turn Charlotte Road Course, which features the majority of the traditional oval as well as a challenging infield section. “The funny thing about our sport is every weekend is such a different challenge. You look at the last two weeks, nothing we really did prepares you for the Roval.
“We get a lot of curve balls thrown at us in this sport, and that’s what makes it fun. That’s what makes it a huge challenge, but as far as the team goes, I feel good about things and everybody is clicking. Everybody is working hard and looking for more all the time. I think our approach is good, and we’ll just continue to take these things one at a time and do the best that we can do with it.”
On the strength of his victories at Las Vegas and Richmond in the first two events of the 2019 Playoffs, Truex vaulted to the top of the standings, building a 21-point lead over second-place Kevin Harvick. His win at Vegas locked him into the Round of 12, which begins Oct. 6 at Dover International Speedway.
A native of New Jersey who grew up racing on oval tracks, Truex has found success on road courses during his NASCAR career. He won at Mexico City in the Xfinity Series, and since graduating to Cup, he has collected three wins at Sonoma and one at Watkins Glen.
In last year’s inaugural Roval race, Truex was leading in the final chicane before contact from Jimmie Johnson’s Chevrolet sent both cars spinning and deprived him of the victory.
“Actually, the first go-kart racing I did was all on road courses, so that was a little bit of it – kind of getting that mentality and just kind of getting what it takes to do that in your brain,” Truex said of his acclimation to road-course racing. “Growing up, racing Modifieds, we didn’t do road courses, but in the Busch North Series (now K&N Pro Series East), we did.
“My first year of racing stock cars, there were a few road courses mixed in there. Then, of course, moving up to Xfinity, we won in Mexico, we raced Watkins Glen. I’ve had enough of it throughout my past, I think, to understand it and to figure out the things that I was good at and the things I needed to work on. Going back each and every year, I just tried to continue to pick those things apart.”