Truex clinches regular season championship at Darlington

Matthew T. Thacker/NKPPhoto

By Caleb Whisler, Staff Writer

DARLINGTON, S.C.— Following two stage wins and an eighth place finish in the Bojangles Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway, Martin Truex Jr. has clinched the regular season championship in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.

With clinching the regular season championship, Truex will be granted 15 additional playoff points in addition to his 37 playoff points he currently has. Going into Richmond, Truex has accumulated 52 playoff points.

Really proud of everybody on this team for an amazing season so far, and to lock up the regular season points is a huge accomplishment for us, for our team.  I feel like we’ve come a long way in just a few years together and continue to climb, said Truex. “Sometimes they go your way, sometimes they don’t, and tonight we come up a little short.  But definitely a lot to be proud of.”

With this being the first time NASCAR awarded playoff points to a regular season champion, Truex is excited that it could be his team to do so.

“I would say it’s not harder to do, but there’s a lot more benefit to doing it, and I’m glad we picked the right time to do it.  I think we’re — the regular season winner is deserving of those extra points because it’s so difficult to do, and I think it was a good decision to make that change,” said Truex.

For Joe Garone, winning the regular season is a huge accomplishment for the team, but the focus is on Homestead-Miami Speedway.

“It’s an honor to win the regular-season championship and a milestone for Martin and Furniture Row Racing,” said Joe Garone, president of Furniture Row Racing. “At the end of the day, though, our sites are set on the long term-goal which is winning the championship at Homestead. We’ll use this regular season championship, and the bad luck the 78 team had at the end of tonight’s race, as a springboard to take us to that goal.”

Going into the final race of the regular season, Truex is able to go in without any pressure. Darlington has been kind to Truex, which makes tonight bittersweet.

“The other cool part is I clinched my first NASCAR championship here back in ’04 in the Busch Series back then.  To do it here again tonight was really cool,” said Truex. “It was just kind of a neat connection.  Darlington has been good to me.  I love coming here, and for that reason I guess it’s a little bit extra special to do it here tonight.

Truex could add seven more playoff points to his total at Richmond.

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