The 2016 NASCAR season will be here soon, and Athlon Sports is helping you prep for the season with a scouting report and fantasy preview for each of the top 16 drivers. The Athlon Sports 2016 Racing Preview, available on newsstands now, includes previews and stats for every driver and every track.
Martin Truex Jr. checks in at No. 11 in our countdown. Here’s what his season could look like on the track and on your fantasy team:
“You can’t say enough positive things about the year Truex had in 2015,” an industry insider says. “His was the little single-car team that could — and did. They won at Pocono and started the year as hot as pretty much everyone this side of Kevin Harvick, going on to post 22 top-10 finishes on their way to an unlikely spot in the Championship in the season finale at Homestead. Bravo, bravo!
“Beginning this season, though, Furniture Row Racing will switch from fielding Chevrolets to fielding Toyotas, abandoning a technical alliance with Richard Childress Racing that just seemed to be bearing fruit for a completely new one with Joe Gibbs Racing. It will be a real challenge for the entire team and will test the seemingly great chemistry between Truex and Cole Pearn, who really hit it off right from the start in Pearn’s first year atop the pit box last season. History shows that this kind of manufacturer switch, especially for a smaller team like Furniture Row, is likely to come with some growing pains that will make it difficult for Truex to match or better his pleasantly surprising results of a year ago.”
Will History Repeat: Truex’s career year last season included one win, eight top 5s, 22 top 10s and a fourth-place result in the season standings. He also posted a career-high 31 lead-lap finishes and led his most laps (567) since 2007. Those types of numbers make this veteran’s career totals deceiving; don’t be afraid to use him now at tracks where he’s traditionally struggled.
Monster Performance: Truex desperately wants to win again at hometown Dover, the site of his first NASCAR victory in ’07. He struck out last year, but an average finish of 7.5 in four starts with his current team, Furniture Row Racing, makes him a sure bet to run well there.
Right-Turn Risk: A 2013 winner at Sonoma, Truex has had spotty success on road courses since. He has yet to score a top-10 finish there or at Watkins Glen since taking over the No. 78 Chevy in 2014.