Stage points? Who cares about stage points?
Not Martin Truex Jr. The defending Cup Series champ, who led all drivers with 19 stage wins last year, only cares about one thing — winning at Daytona.
“We come here and go for the win and not worry about points, don’t worry about stage points and stage wins,” Truex Jr. told Auto Racing Daily. “We just come here to win. We have 35 races remaining after Daytona to figure it out and make up the points. This race is all about winning.”
Truex Jr. has already won the Southern 500 and the Coca-Cola 600, so a win at the Daytona 500 would give him NASCAR’s triple crown. But even though he’s been in a position to win at Daytona, he’s never sealed the deal, and recognizes that speedways aren’t his strong suit.
“Our Speedway record has been very bad and typically speedways have not been my strong suit. I feel like I am always in the wrong place at the wrong time. But I’ve been able to put myself in position to have a shot at winning a few of them but haven’t been able to get it done yet. It’s a little frustrating,” he said.
But he gets to put that frustration behind him on Sunday, when he runs the Daytona 500.
The 2017 Cup Series champion has 15 wins in his career, with eight of those coming last season and another three in 2016. His 2017 was as dominant as it can be. He had the most top five and top ten finishes, 19 and 26 respectively, of any driver in the series. In fastest laps run, Truex, Jr. had 1,338, tops in the sport. He was first in laps led with 2,253. Not only that, he had the highest driver rating.
Since the move to Toyota, he has captured 11 of his 15 wins. With capturing the title last year, he could be on his way to the NASCAR Hall of Fame one day.