At first it seemed like Martin Truex Jr.’s words after the Camping World 400 were sour grapes. The member of the Joe Gibbs Racing team was actually paying his competitor a compliment.
Truex was asked after the race if he thought Alex Bowman’s first career victory, and the high finishes for his Hendricks Motorsports teammates, was a sign of things to come.
“I think it’s just one race, Truex said. “You look at these things and you come to these tracks now with this [aero] package and every track is just so different. I can’t stress it enough how different it is.”
While that sounds like a swipe at Hendricks members, Truex’s next quote showed that he actually admired their strategy.
“You only get two 50-minute practices and we came here, and we were totally lost for the first whole practice and then two-thirds of the second practice and, if we had another 30 minutes, we could have been so much better,” Truex said.
“It’s one of those things where all these tracks are so different, and they want just a different package all together that the first time here is hard to hit it. Clearly, [Hendrick Motorsports] hit it out of the park because they were fast right off the truck.”
Johnson, Bryon Produce Strong Race
While Bowman won his first race, Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jimmie Johnson, and William Byron were putting in strong finishes as well.
Johnson finished fourth at Chicagoland Speedway, his best finish this season.
“It was just a solid performance for our Ally team,” Johnson said. “I’m really proud of everyone.”
Bryon finished eighth, and it was his fifth top 10 of the year. Still he said there was room for improvement.
“I just have to close in on those details a little bit more,” Bryon said. “We, as a team, are really close. It’s a little disappointing now that we have the speed that we do, but it’s good to take the lead at some point in the race.”
Longer Stages at Daytona
This Saturday’s Cup race at Daytona will feature a change in the length of the first two stages. They will have 10 more laps to determine the stage winner.
Stage 1 will now end on Lap 50. Stage 2 will now end on Lap 100. Last year the first stage ended on Lap 40, and Stage 2 ended at Lap 80.
NASCAR officials made the change to make sure that the results were not determined by fuel mileage.
This Week’s Odds, Pick
With the Coke Zero Sugar 400 at Daytona, Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski are the co-favorites at 8/1. Denny Hamlin, who won the Daytona 500 this year, is next at 10/1, as is Kyle Busch, Chase Elliott, and Kevin Harvick.
We like Hamlin to double up this year at Daytona.