Martin Truex Jr says is was exciting to drive away from Kevin Harvick early in the race
In the four races leading into yesterday’s show, Martin Truex Jr had yet to win a stage. This is from the team that masses 440 stage points, 63 more than Kyle Larson in 2nd.
At Auto Club Speedway, Martin Truex Jr made up for all that. He swept stage 1, stage 2 and went to victory lane picking up his first win of the year.
At the same time, Kevin Harvick has won the last 3 previous NASCAR Cup Series races. Harvick was the points leader heading into Auto Club. A wreck in stage 1 netted Harvick with just 2 points despite having the dominant car in long runs in all the practice rounds leading up to the race.
Truex capitalized on Harvick’s mistake. He has now left California as the points leader.
How good does it feel to win again. More specifically to unseat Kevin Harvick from victory lane?
“Honestly, it just feels good to win. I don’t really care — You know, I don’t really worry about who else is winning or who else is fast.”
“Obviously, the #4’s been quick and they got a great team. And Kevin’s an awesome driver. I mean, they got it going on, the last couple weeks.”
“But, as we seen today. You know, we can put a run like that together as well.”
Martin Truex Jr dominated at Auto Club Speedway. So much so that only 10 cars finished on the lead lap.
“I think most of all, it feels good that we’re able to find that speed that we’ve been looking for the last couple weeks. We’ve been close but not quite close enough.”
“We knew we were off a bit. So, it wasn’t a surprise that we weren’t winning. Today, I felt really good about what we had. It was really fast. It’s just reassurance that what we’re doing, is working.”
“It’s just been an unbelievable couple seasons. Hopefully, we can keep it rolling.”
However, if Harvick didn’t wreck, maybe this race would have played out a bit differently. Harvick was fastest in 5-10-15 laps runs in final practice.
Did you get a chance to see Harvick’s car to know if he would have been your biggest challenger?
“I didn’t no. I mean, that first pit stop was under green. He came in pretty close. We left pit road and I drove away from him. That’s the only gauge I really had on it.”
“Of course, it felt good at the time to do that,” Truex says with a smile.
“Then he had his issues. So, we’ll never know. But, I’m sure we’ll have plenty of chances to race each other throughout the rest of the season.”
Is 2018 going to be a battle between Kevin Harvick and Martin Truex Jr?
In the standings, Martin Truex Jr leads Kyle Busch by 9 points. However, Harvick still has 3 wins and 11 playoff points to Truex’s 7. If they playoffs started today, Harvick would be the leader in the opening round.
Related: Auto Club Speedway results
Related: Kevin Harvick crashes out in stage 1 (VIDEO)