Dale Earnhardt Jr. defends Martin Truex Jr. dominating NASCAR right now – For The Win
Martin Truex Jr. won his third NASCAR Cup Series race of the season at Kentucky Speedway on Saturday, and he absolutely crushed the rest of the field.
In the No. 78 Toyota, Truex led 152 of the Quaker State 400’s 274 total laps, and when he crossed the finish line, he seemed lightyears ahead of second-place finisher Kyle Larson. Overheard on the radio scanner audio, Danica Patrick asked her spotter where Truex was as the leader, and he hilariously replied, “In a different zip code.”
Truex’s followers were obviously thrilled — especially now that the 37-year-old driver is at the top of the driver standings — but some NASCAR fans weren’t thrilled about his total domination.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. weighed in on the issue this week on his Dale Jr. Download podcast, calling Truex’s win Saturday “healthy” for the sport.
“Especially in today’s environment with the way the cars are so similar and there’s just really not a lot of things you can do to get an advantage, I find it really impressive to see what Truex (was) capable of doing last Saturday night. Yeah, you don’t want to see that every single week. That’s not great for any sport to have a team dominating week after week after week to make things too predictable. But when that happens, you have to kind of appreciate that.”
Truex has consistently had a fast car this season, and his Cup Series-leading 13 stage wins have played a large role in keeping him at the top of the standings.
But while winning three of 18 races, he hasn’t always had the ridiculous lead he did Saturday, and Earnhardt isn’t quite sure why fans are annoyed when they should be in awe.
“This crawls under me — I guess some fans on social media were talking about how they didn’t like the domination, right? And they were like, ‘Oh, you gotta look at Truex’s car. There’s no way. Something ain’t right. No way that car passes tech (inspection).’
“I don’t know whether that’s coming from the fact that Truex has been running really, really good for quite a while now — very strong, seems to be one of the fastest guys that’s ever raced. Or do people just not like when a guy jumps out and gets a six to 15-second lead, and there’s not much of a race for the lead? I hope that’s not what people are bugged out about, the fact that somebody just dominated.
“‘Cause back in the ‘80s and ‘90s when everybody said, ‘Oh, the racing in the ‘80s was so awesome,’ Bill Elliott — you couldn’t even touch him at some of these race tracks. You couldn’t. It was no competition. You know, Dad would dominate races. Even in the ‘70s, (Richard) Petty and (David) Pearson and all those guys — they’re literally the only guys left on the lead lap at the end of the race. People loved the sport back then but don’t seem to like it when it happens today. And it’s more rare today to see a guy really dominate a race. Cars are so evenly matched so when a guy goes out and does that, to me, it’s incredibly impressive.”
But Junior and his stand-in podcast co-host Mike Davis, Earnhardt’s managing director, also pointed out that the driver who’s doing the dominating completely impacts whether fans are excited or annoyed by it.
If Earnhardt won like Truex did, fans would love it. But as the No. 88 driver said, with today’s parity in racing, people should simply be impressed by Truex.