Race Weekend Central

NASCAR Stat Sheet: Martin Truex Jr. Continues Short Track Dominance

NASCAR’s oldest track on the calendar, Martinsville Speedway, never disappoints. Beatin’ and bangin’, fenders rubbing, good short track racing.

Entering Wednesday night’s race (June 10), the 2020 short track aerodynamic package was batting 100% on entertainment at Phoenix Raceway at Bristol Motor Speedway. While it was challenging to pass for the lead at Martinsville, racing throughout the field was superb at times, making it three for three this season.

But enough of about the package; that can be tiring to talk about at times. But stats aren’t! So let’s dig in.


Remember the first 13 years of Martin Truex Jr.‘s career, when he found every way to lose a short track race? Yeah, that’s over.

Heading into the Spring 2019 race at Richmond Raceway, Truex was 0-80 in his career on short tracks at the NASCAR Cup Series level. ZERO for EIGHTY.

Sure, Truex had flashes of brilliance. Hell, Richmond alone probably owes him four victories since the Fall 2016 race. But over the past six short track races, Truex is surely making up for missed opportunities with four wins.

Since that brisk Richmond night last April, the No. 19 car has won four of six short tracks, all coming in dominant fashion. He kicked it off by leading 186 laps at Richmond, following that up with 109 in the fall race, passing Kyle Busch in the final stage. Don’t get me started on the October race at Martinsville, where Truex led 464 of 500 laps. Tonight, Truex faced his issues, battling to the lead with 131 laps remaining, and didn’t look back.

The win is Truex’s first of the season, earning consecutive top-five finishes for the first time since the first two races of the 2019 playoffs.


Ole seven-time is back, baby.

No, Jimmie Johnson didn’t win. In fact, he barely hung on for a top-10 finish. But the No. 48 Chevrolet passed Joey Logano for the lead in the middle of the second stage, going onto lead the next 70 circuits of the race – the most he’s led in a single event since the Spring 2017 race at Bristol Motor Speedway, 112 races ago.

Through the opening 11 races of the 2020 Cup season, Johnson has been quick. Hendrick Motorsports overall has been really fast, winning twice with Alex Bowman and Chase Elliott. But Johnson, though running towards the front for much of the year, has found ways to lose valuable points (flashback to NASCAR’s return to racing at Darlington Raceway, crashing on the final stage of stage 1 while leading. The No. 48 was disqualified for being too low in the rear of the car following a second-place finish in the Coca-Cola 600).

On Wednesday night Johnson maximized his speed, when he had it, specifically winning the second stage. It was just his third stage win since stage racing came into play in 2017. It resulted in a 10th place finish, but for a rough three-year stretch it’s small victories that matter. Before long, the No. 48 will find victory lane again.


When Wood Brothers Racing runs well at its home racetrack, all is well in the world.

Unlike his Team Penske affiliates, Matt DiBenedetto didn’t spend much time running inside the top five. But when the checkered flag flew, the famed No. 21 car was sitting in seventh position.

That’s important because the Wood Brothers hadn’t finished that well at Martinsville since 2005, when Ricky Rudd piloted the No. 21 car to a seventh-place position.

Over the past two decades, there were several years where the No. 21 was a part-time ride. But since it came back to full-time competition in 2016, Ryan Blaney drove it to a best finish of eighth at Martinsville, while Paul Menard, in four attempts, had a best outing of 13th.

Through 11 races this season, DiBenedetto has a trio of top-10 finishes, averaging a 15th-place finish.

About the author

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Dustin joined the Frontstretch team at the beginning of the 2016 season. 2020 marks his sixth full-time season covering the sport that he grew up loving. His dream was to one day be a NASCAR journalist, thus why he attended Ithaca College (Class of 2018) to earn a journalism degree. Since the ripe age of four, he knew he wanted to be a storyteller.

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