At times, it's looked like Martin Truex Jr. has been poised to grab his first win for Michael Waltrip Racing. But, alas, it hasn't been meant to be, whether it was at Kansas when the handling on his car disappeared when the sun came out or at Atlanta, when Jamie McMurray blew a tire with just four laps to go, erasing Truex's large lead.
And while he's 0-fer this season, those strong performances are the main reason he's in this year's Chase for the first time since he signed on with MWR. In 26 races, he has 14 top 10s.
The last two weekends, Truex has lamented his team's bad luck that's prevented them from reaching victory lane. But let's be honest; that luck will have to change rather quickly if Truex is to be a strong contender in the Chase. Will it?
Best Chase track: If you take away a crash at Talladega, Truex's lowest finish at a Chase track in 2012 is 12th. We'll go with Dover, the site of his only Sprint Cup Series win and where he finished seventh in June.
Worst Chase track: By average finish, it's Talladega and Kansas. But Talladega is a crapshoot and Kansas is a completely new track. Next up on the list would be Martinsville, but Truex finished fifth there earlier this season.
NB's prediction: 11th. Much like Brad Keselowski last year, given the improvement at Michael Waltrip Racing, using past history may not be the best guide to how Truex will perform in the Chase. But that said, the recent history doesn't have any wins either. Truex has been running well enough to win, however, and if that luck turns, he's the perfect candidate to be this year's Tony Stewart.
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