CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Regular-season champion Martin Truex Jr. says it’s hard to pick a favorite in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series playoff.
Kyle Busch disagrees.
“With the way the system is set up, I don’t know that you can have a favorite, honestly,” Truex said on Wednesday during playoff media day interviews at the NASCAR Hall of Fame. “I mean, this has got to be the toughest championship in sports to win, without a question.
“With the eliminations, with one race for the championship at the end especially, you’re not out there one on one. There’s 39 other cars, and you’re racing against three of them. So, yeah, I mean, it’s got to be the toughest one there is. I don’t really know if you can have a favorite.”
Then Busch was asked if he thought there was a favorite for the championship as the playoffs begin Sunday at Chicagoland Speedway (3 p.m. ET on NBCSN). He had a one-word answer.
Though Busch and Kyle Larson have been the only two drivers this season able to challenge Truex on a consistent basis, Busch had concrete reasons for installing Truex as the man to beat.
“I mean, there’s no question why you can’t put him ahead of us,” Busch said. “The reason I say that is because if you look at every single race during the year, (other than) maybe one or two instances here or there, Truex is either first or second, or first, second or third. You look at Larson. If he’s not first, he’s like fourth to eighth.
“I feel like us, if we’re not first, we’re fourth to sixth. Truex is always first or second. His average is always higher than what ours might be. If we’re having an off day, our off day is sixth to eighth, whatever it is. Larson’s off day is sixth to eighth, whatever it is. The off day for the 78 (Truex) is, like, second. That’s just how good they’ve been.”