Editor’s note: This is the first in a series of four stories examining why each driver could win the 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series championship.
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Martin Truex Jr. will win the 2017 championship because …
He has been the best driver this year, and he has been the best driver on 1.5-mile tracks.
Typically, having just one of those marks would be enough to make a driver a favorite at Miami. Having both? It’s going to be difficult for any other driver to overtake the No. 78 at 1.5-mile Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Here are Truex’s finishes in the past five races at 1.5-mile tracks, dating back to this summer: Win, win, win, win, runner-up.
With a series-high seven wins, and a bevy of playoff points, the No. 78 Furniture Row Racing team has had Miami in its sights for a long while. Crew chief Cole Pearn has had plenty of time to get the exact car he wants for what likely will be the biggest race in the organization’s history.
Truex has toiled at NASCAR’s top level before finding the perfect fit at Furniture Row. His longtime girlfriend, Sherry Pollex, is in inspiration to those battling cancer, as she’d done in the past – and she’s doing now. And team owner Barney Visser won’t be at Miami as he recovers from a heart attack.
It’s been a trying season off the track for this group. That’s why Sunday’s championship will be extra meaningful.