NASCAR: Martin Truex Jr. had absurd number of top 3s since last win

Martin Truex Jr., Joe Gibbs Racing, NASCAR (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Martin Truex Jr., Joe Gibbs Racing, NASCAR (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /

Martin Truex Jr. ended a 29-race NASCAR Cup Series win drought Sunday at Phoenix Raceway, but that drought featured an insane number of top three finishes.

Martin Truex Jr. entered the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series season without any victories since his dominant performance at Martinsville Speedway last June, but he’d be the first to tell you that it wasn’t from a lack of speed.

The 2020 season ended up being the first season in which Truex failed to not only qualify for the Championship 4 but finish in the top two in the championship standings since the 2016 season, which many considered his breakout season when he won four races to more than double his career win total from three to seven.

But in the fifth race of the 2021 season on Sunday at Phoenix Raceway, the driver of the #19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota broke through for his first win in 31 starts at the track and his first win in the last 30 races.

With all things considered, that easily could have been at least his seventh or eighth win since last June.

More from NASCAR Cup Series

Truex went on an absurd streak of top three finishes last season during his win drought, and he even added to the total with a third place finish at Homestead-Miami Speedway three weekends ago. At one point, he finished in the top three in eight of nine races, including seven in a row, from mid-July to late August.

That streak included finishes of second place at Kentucky Speedway and Dover International Speedway (twice) as well as five consecutive finishes of third at Kansas Speedway, New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Michigan International Speedway (twice) and the Daytona International Speedway road course.

Later in the season, he added a second place finish at Richmond Raceway and another one at Texas Motor Speedway, where a win would have clinched him a spot in his fourth consecutive Championship 4.

So he had finished in the top three on 11 occasions during his 29-race win drought — and added two additional fourth place finishes at Daytona International Speedway and Las Vegas Motor Speedway last year as well.

But now that drought is over, and he is in a position which he has only ever been in twice before: having a win under his belt through the first five races of a new year.

Next. Top 25 NASCAR drivers of all-time. dark

The next race on the schedule is the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500, which is scheduled to take place at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Sunday, March 21. This race is set to be broadcast live on Fox beginning at 3:00 p.m. ET. Ironically, it was this track at which Truex secured his first third place finish of the 2020 season and his last before winning at Martinsville Speedway.