Truex could write a fairy-tale end­ing

Baltimore Sun - - NASCAR - — Ge­orge Diaz

There was a time — it seems ages now — when Martin Truex Jr. was con­sid­ered the nice kid on the block. You liked him, and you re­ally didn’t think he had the tem­per­a­ment to beat you up and steal your lunch money.

Ev­ery­body may want to check their pock­ets.

Truex — a one-man wreck­ing crew for Fur­ni­ture Row Rac­ing — is crush­ing the op­po­si­tion.

His vic­tory at Dover on Sun­day was his third in five races. He won two of the three races in the first round of the Chase elim­i­na­tion series.

He has five straight top 10s. And if not for a blinkof-an-eye pass at Day­tona by Denny Ham­lin, he would have won the sea­son’s sig­na­ture race.

“Think about his year!” NBC Sports NASCAR an­a­lyst Steve Le­tarte said. “Martin Truex Jr. right now needs to be ab­sorb­ing ev­ery sec­ond of this. He was inches from win­ning the Day­tona 500, dom­i­nates the Coca-Cola 600, wins the South­ern 500, those are all the crown jew­els.”

Is there a big­ger one on the way, like a Cup ti­tle? He qual­i­fied for the fi­nal four last year in Home­stead but came up short.

“I can’t even be­lieve it, man — it’s just liv­ing a dream right now,” Truex said af­ter win­ning in Dover. “It’s a fairy tale.”

Truex and his Chevy were beasts tam­ing the Mon­ster Mile, lead­ing a race-high 187 laps. He won by al­most eight sec­onds.

On­ward to Char­lotte this week­end. Did we men­tion he al­ready has won there as well this sea­son?

“We’re not mess­ing around, I guess,” Truex said. Martin Truex Jr.’s vic­tory Sun­day at Dover was his sec­ond of the Chase. Chase tweaks? NASCAR tra­di­tion­al­ists who long for the days when champions were de­cided on con­sis­tency may be in for some good news.

Steve O’Don­nell, NASCAR ex­ec­u­tive vice pres­i­dent and chief rac­ing devel­op­ment of­fi­cer, said Mon­day on Sir­ius/XM NASCAR Ra­dio that the points sys­tem could be in for some tweaks.

“One of the things we’re look­ing at is (in) the first 26 races, are there some ad­di­tional things we could do for the win­ner of the reg­u­lar sea­son,” O’Don­nell said.

Here we go again. NASCAR has tweaked the Chase for­mat var­i­ous times since its first in­car­na­tion in 2004. The cur­rent sys­tem al­lots berth to the top 16 driv­ers based on points, with an ad­di­tional pre­mium on vic­to­ries that could bump some­one into the top 16.

“That’s the beauty of this for­mat,” O’Don­nell said. “You have to be on top of your game.”


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