Twelve miles and eight laps. When one looks at a race, those kind of numbers are possibly the amount one didn’t lead at the end of a race; a race where the driver who didn’t lead them ends up looking back and wondering, “What could be done different.”
That was the complete opposite for this weekend.
Instead, that is the amount of time that one car didn’t spend out front in an entire race. This wasn’t the typical 400-mile event that a 1.5-mile track sees, nor was it a 500-mile race that places like Texas and Atlanta host during the season. This is the marathon, the longest race of the season in terms of distance, and time. A race that starts in daylight, moves through sunset, into the night and ending in darkness.
To be dominant in this race is rare, but can be done. However, to be THIS dominant is a rare occurrence, and possibly one to never be duplicated.
After everything that has occurred to Martin Truex Jr. this season, losing Daytona by inches, a lose wheel at Kansas, caught up in a wreck at Dover, and a bad pit decision in Texas, having such a dominant car meant that everyone was thinking, “What will happen next?”
This time, what happened was…nothing. Nothing was keeping the No. 78 team from victory.
For 588 of 600 miles, Truex had the competition looking at his rear bumper. For 392 of 400 laps, the No. 78 was at the top of the board. Anything but a win on this night meant disappointment, and for that team, the anxiety of all the bad luck and unfortunate circumstances they had to experience this season, it went away. Domination, in every aspect, meant victory for all, and one to savor for a long time.
Dominance is also the word to use for the writers, because one of the writers has earned another victory this week, and it’s the same writer that started the year with a dominating performance of win after win, after win. Let’s take a look at the standings after the whipping that Truex put on in the Coca-Cola 600:
Ashley McCubbin (461) Kevin Harvick finished 2nd – 2
Sal Sigala Jr. (404) Kevin Harvick finished 2nd – 2
Dustin Parks (382) Kasey Kahne finished 22nd – 1
Ashley Hull (381) Martin Truex Jr. WON – 6
Patti Rodisch (376) Kevin Harvick finished 2nd – 2
Rob Blount (361) Kevin Harvick finished 2nd – 2
Kara Martin (355) Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished 14th – 1
Mary Jo Buchanan (338) Jimmie Johnson finished 3rd – 1
Misan Akuya (313) Tony Stewart finished 24th – 2
Klarissa Mitchell (312) Jamie McMurray finished 19th – 1
Billy Fellin (311) Joey Logano finished 9th – 1
Rob Tiongson (303) Carl Edwards finished 18th – 2
Ashley Hobbs (284) Kyle Larson finished 13th – 1
Stephen Conley (263) Carl Edwards finished 18th – 0
Next Race: How exactly can one follow up that kind of night by one driver? Simply put, one can’t.
So instead, we are keeping it simple and moving ahead to next week. It’s the first trip of the season to the “Tricky Triangle” in Pocono, Pennsylvania, where it is a unique track and is a challenge for teams and drivers alike.
Have your picks locked in by Thursday, June 2, at 10 p.m. ET for the Axalta “We Paint Winners” 400.