Due to his win in the opening race of the second round of the playoffs at Charlotte on Sunday, Truex earned an automatic transfer into the third round of the playoffs. His average finish in the first four playoff races is 2.76.
“We definitely want to perform (at Talladega), but I will say that it’s going to be pretty awesome going to Talladega and say, ‘Oh what the heck, let’s go race,’ ” said Truex, who will drive the No. 78 Bass Pro Shops/TRACKER Boats Toyota in the Alabama 500. “Doesn’t matter if we crash. Talladega has just been a tough track for us to finish. I mean, last year we probably had the best car we’ve ever gone there with, and we ran 20 laps (actually 41) and blew up.”
The engine failure knocked Truex out of the playoffs, despite having one of the fastest cars throughout the 2016 campaign. His career Cup record at Talladega includes 11 DNFs (did not finish) in 25 starts.
“There are so many unknowns at Talladega, and you can run up front all day long and finish 25th,” said Truex. “You can run up front and run 20 laps and get destroyed. You just never know. There is so much out of your control. To go there and not have to worry about all those things is definitely a good feeling.
“But we’ll go there and try to do everything just the way we did (at Charlotte). We want to be the best we can be, and we want to get those (playoff) bonus points and stop somebody else from getting them. But it will definitely be a little bit of a different feeling to go there and not have that pressure, not have to worry about if we go out early for something crazy.”
In this year’s Talladega spring race, Truex qualified 13th but finished 35th due to being collected in an accident.
Though he has had recent difficulties at the 2.66-mile tri-oval, Truex does know how to win at the big track. When he raced in the XFINITY Series, he won three consecutive races at Talladega.
Truex’s victory at Charlotte was his sixth of the season, tripling his output of wins prior to joining Furniture Row Racing in 2014. He has won 11 races with the Denver, Colo.-based team, bringing his career total to 13.
Truex not only leads the NASCAR Cup Series in wins this season at six, he also leads in stage wins (19), playoff bonus points (64) and laps led (1,977).
With the way that 2017 has gone for Truex, this could be his best opportunity to win at Talladega.
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!