Since Jimmie Johnson’s off-and-off dominance of Charlotte Motor Speedway came to a permanent end several years ago, another driver has taken up the mantle as resident king of the hill at the 1.5-mile quad-oval. That driver is 2017 NASCAR Cup Series champion Martin Truex Jr., who has captured three of the last eight points races at Charlotte, including two Coca-Cola 600s. Truex’s first 600 triumph — recorded in 2016 — was an astounding achievement for the then Furniture Row Racing driver, as he led a record-setting 392 of 400 laps in NASCAR’s longest race.
“That was a special night and will always remain a career highlight,” Truex said. “We had a great car and it was just our night. We didn’t make any mistakes and took advantage of a very fast Toyota Camry.” Truex earned his second and most recent 600 win in 2019 with his current team at Joe Gibbs Racing, where he’s now in his third season and second season with James Small atop his No. 19 pit box. The 2021 campaign has thus far been a terrific one for Truex, who owns a series-high three wins in 14 starts.
Given his recent history at Charlotte coupled with his 2021 success, Truex will undoubtedly come into the weekend as the favorite to go to Victory Lane. Some might also argue he’s the favorite to win the championship, but Truex isn’t so sure. “I don’t think we really look at things that way,” he said. “That’s more of the media approach of picking favorites and naming people and all this and that. I don’t know that we get too wrapped up in all that stuff.”