DARLINGTON, SC - SEPTEMBER 01: Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M's Caramel Toyota, speaks with Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #78 BassProShops/TrackerBoats40thAnv Toyota, in the garage area during practice for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Bojangles' Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway on September 1, 2017 in Darlington, South Carolina. (Photo by Jerry Markland/Getty Images)

Driver competing for a Cup series crown puts rivals on notice: "I’ve got to be more of a jerk on the racetrack"


For as good as Martin Truex, Jr. has been this year, he's been pretty bad at Daytona International and Talladega Superspeedway.

"We suck," is how Truex's crew chief Cole Pearn describes it to NBC Sports. "I know we've had a couple ones we've got close, but man, average finish-wise we're pretty terrible."

Truex, Jr's record at the two tracks which use restrictor plates? 0 for 50. How's that for a confidence builder going into Sunday's race at Talladega. But Truex, Jr. thinks he might have the solution.

"I've got to be more of a jerk on the racetrack if I'm going to win a plate race," Truex said with a laugh. "I give too much room. I'm too cautious. I don't make those dumb moves that cause big wrecks like some guys do."

It's not like he's got a lot to worry about. Truex, Jr. is coming off a great win at Charlotte and has a nice 64-point lead in the standings. Taking the checkered in the Bank of America 500 automatically advances him to the round of 8 no matter how he finishes at Talladega and Kansas. That lets Truex, Jr. change up his style and take some chances.

"You see the guys who win there, a lot are just erratic as hell, and they're all over the place, and you never know where they're going to go. That's why they're good there, but that's also why they cause the big wrecks. So I'm kind of in the middle. I race like I normally do -- pretty cautious. I don't want to mess anybody up. So I guess I got to race like a jerk this time around since I've got nothing to lose. See if we can win it."

Breaking an 0-50 streak has got to start somewhere. Sunday might as well be the day.