(Cover Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
By Adam Carabine
In case you missed it, StatChat is counting down the days ‘til the 2023 Daytona 500. Every two days, we will have a new article featuring one of the 36 charters of 2022.
17th Place – Martin Truex Jr. – 1,036 pts
JOE GIBBS RACING – TOYOTA
1st Winless Season Since 2014 – Martin Truex Jr.’s last winless season dates back to his first year with Furniture Row Racing. That year only featured one Top-5, and five Top-10s. Eight years (and 29 wins) later, Truex Jr. found himself back in the winless column. This time, his season was much better statistically, including four Top-5s and 15 Top-10s. However, the most important finishing position of all eluded him.
572 Laps Led in 2022 – Ranking in the Top 10 of Cup Series charters, Martin Truex Jr.’s 572 laps led unfortunately just go to show how good his car was at times this season. In a season with many unknowns, and a new car coming in that was meant to even the playing field, Joe Gibbs Racing showed that they still knew how to build machines. Truex Jr.’s teammates combined for 6 wins, including Christopher Bell’s trip to the Final Four.
1,968 Quality Passes in 2022 – Another Top-10 stat for Martin Truex Jr. this year was his ability to make Green Flag passes while running in the Top-15 (aka a Quality Pass). 2022 certainly wasn’t all doom and gloom for Truex Jr. despite not getting a win. Consider that he had four wins in 2021, but actually had 115 less Quality Passes. Fans of Martin Truex Jr. don’t need to start worrying that his winning days are over just yet – he certainly still has many of the tools to do it.
95.86% Miles Completed in 2022 – Martin Truex Jr. ranked 4th of all Cup Series charters in this category. Many often look at laps completed, but miles is a more true indicator of success, as finishing a lap at Talladega, or at a road course takes a bit more skill than just a single lap at Bristol or Martinsville. Michael McDowell, Erik Jones, and eventual champ Joey Logano were the only other three to complete more miles in 2022.
4th – Best Finish in 2022 – It feels like Martin Truex Jr. came so close to winning multiple times last season – ie. the number of laps he led, the amount of time he spent near the front of the pack, etc. However, his best finishes on the year were only a 4th place finish, which he accomplished just twice (Richmond and New Hampshire). While Truex Jr. wasn’t the “King of the Winless” (stay tuned for Ryan Blaney in a few more days), it seems shocking that he never finished second or third. Look for Martin Truex Jr. to tighten that up in ’23.
The question of whether Martin Truex Jr. was going to retire from NASCAR was quite the hot topic for a while there, but with a strong proclamation in the form of three words (a press release that simply stated “I’m coming back.”), look for a bounceback season from Truex Jr. in 2023. He will remain in the No. 19 Toyota.
Coming up next in the Countdown to Daytona series – Playoff drivers! We begin with Alex Bowman!
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