Martin Truex Jr. appears to be almost a lock to qualify for the NASCAR's Chase for the Championship for the first time since 2007.
The Stafford Township native is in fifth place through 21 races this season. After 26 races, the top 10 drivers plus two wild cards based on wins make the 10-race Chase.
Truex has only a 15-point lead over his teammate, Clint Bowyer, who sits in 10th. But Truex leads 11th-place Kasey Kahne by 72 points.
"I think we are close to where we need to be, but we still have some more work to do," Truex said in quotes provided this week by his team, Michael Waltrip Racing. "I don’t think a team is completely happy unless they are winning every race."
Truex would be the first MWR driver ever to qualify for the Chase in the team's six-year history. He joined the team in 2010.
"I am just proud of my NAPA team as well as the entire Michael Waltrip Racing organization especially looking back at where we all started," he said. "Having a real shot at making the Chase is a really big deal for us. Michael Waltrip Racing has never had a car in the Chase. Right now we are looking at putting two Toyotas in there (with Bowyer in 10th). All and all, things are going well for us."
Truex said he likes his chances in the last five races before the Chase, starting this weekend at Watkins Glen International.
"I think with the tracks coming up like Michigan, Bristol and Richmond, we have a real shot at it," he said.
As focused as he is on the Chase, Truex hasn't forgotten about chasing his first victory since 2007.
"I also would like to get that win out of the way, too," he said. "If we can get a win, it would boost our confidence even more and provide the momentum we need to be a serious threat out there.”