Martin Truex Jr. must be feeling good about tonight's race.
It's at Bristol Motor Speedway, where the Stafford Township native finished second and third in the past two NASCAR Sprint Cup races. And another performance like that could clinch him a berth in the Chase for the Championship for the first time since 2007.
According to his team, Michael Waltrip Racing, the sixth-place Truex needs to stretch his lead over 11th place from 69 to 97 to clinch.
“I believe we can win the race this weekend at Bristol," Truex said in quotes provided this week by his team, Michael Waltrip Racing. "The last two times we have finished second and third. We definitely have something for the Bristol fans. We are facing a different tire compound. I am also not sure what to expect since they grinded the top groove. For me, I’ll just play it by ear and work with my NAPA team. I sure hope we can get a win before the Chase starts."
He wants to get that win out of the way because it's been more than five years since his only trip to victory lane in the Cup series. Truex likes his chances now, though.
“With three races to go, we have to be smart," he said. "We are walking a fine line of trying to venture out and learn some stuff without losing consistency. I feel like Chad (Johnston, his crew chief) and the whole company have done a good job at keeping a good balance. We are working on some new things at the same time as we are trying to earn top-10 finishes and get locked into the Chase.
"For this NAPA team, we just don’t want to make the Chase. We want to be in there and make some noise so it’s all about learning as much as we can without screwing up.”
Truex's teammate, Clint Bowyer, also is in position to make the Chase. They would be MWR's first-ever drivers to qualify.
“Our NAPA Toyotas are really strong right now," Truex said. "It’s been a pleasure to be a part of this MWR turnaround. It’s been so rewarding. To come from where we were in 2010 to middle part of last season, then progress to where we ended in 2011 to where we started this year has been a constant evolution of our Toyotas.
"Honestly, with where our Toyotas are now, our old notebooks are junk. We are still learning and fine-tuning our cars. We are starting to hit on some stuff that is getting us back to form because I feel like we lost our edge when they made the new side skirt rules a few months ago."