Martin Truex Jr. Reveals “Opposite of Normal” Secret Behind Championship Finesse

While the spectacle of NASCAR racing primarily spotlights the drivers’ determined pursuit of victory, the truth remains that a cohesive team effort underpins triumph on the racetrack. As drivers navigate the racing circuit ensconced within their cars, it is the watchful gaze of their crew chiefs that affords them a comprehensive, 360-degree panorama of the track’s nuances. This dynamic underscores the rationale behind drivers’ proclivity to maintain enduring partnerships with their crew chiefs.

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In the case of Martin Truex Jr., the current occupant of the second position in the playoff standings, his alignment with James Small appears to have cultivated the ideal crew chief-driver synergy. The connection follows Truex Jr.’s separation from his former crew chief, Cole Pearn, in 2019.

Martin Truex Jr. reflects upon his dynamic rapport with James Small


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During his tenure alongside the former crew chief, Cole Pearn, Martin Truex Jr. triumphed in 24 races and made it four times to the championship rounds, ultimately securing the 2017 Cup Series Championship. Now, alongside his relatively new counterpart, James Small, the No. 19 Toyota Camry driver has notched three victories in the 2023 regular season, further solidifying his standing in the playoffs.

Speaking candidly about their partnership on NASCAR Racehub, Martin Truex Jr. offered insights into the hitherto undisclosed facets of his relationship with his current crew chief, indicating that while most of the time, it’s the drivers on track who get panicked and crew chiefs are the ones to calm them down, it’s the opposite case for him.

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He articulated, You have seen those heated debates and things like that, and usually it’s me calming him down, which is the opposite of normal, but just the biggest thing is we have a lot of confidence in each other. He knows what I like to do, he knows how I like to drive the car, and he knows how to give me the information the way that I can understand it the best. And he understands what I am asking for in the race car.”

Indeed, these attributes epitomize the quintessential partnership between a driver and his crew chief. Martin Truex Jr. unequivocally acknowledges the pivotal role his crew chief plays in the quest for success, particularly as pivotal playoff races loom on the horizon.

Watch This Story: Martin Truex Jr Criticizes Joe Gibbs Crew in Recent Interview

Elaborating on James Small’s capacity to provide invaluable support in his redemption quest in the 2023 season, the No. 19 noted that Small’s previous experience as a driver equips him with a nuanced understanding of the intricate subtleties.

He opined, “I think one of our biggest strengths this year has been, even if we don’t practice good, we find a way to race good. And that’s going to be really really important throughout the playoffs, I think.”

2023 is a year of redemption for Truex Jr.


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The Toyota luminary, after an uncharacteristic absence from the playoffs for the first time in 2022 during his tenure with Joe Gibbs Racing, staged a remarkable resurgence this season. Initiating his comeback with a resounding victory in the Clash at the Colosseum, Truex not only secured a trifecta of pivotal point races but also clinched the coveted title of regular-season champion.

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It appears the primary driving force behind him was his failure in 2022, as evident by the fact that he wasted no time after Joey Logano’s victorious run in the Phoenix season finale last year.


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Reflecting upon this year’s journey, as per, Martin Truex Jr. remarked, “It’s been a really strong year for us, consistently up at the front and doing what we need to do. Certainly, let a few wins slip away, which is always disappointing, but to have there and the Clash win is a pretty good regular season, so you just have to keep putting yourself in the right position.”

While William Byron currently leads the playoff standings, the astute predictions of NASCAR luminaries and pundits undoubtedly place Truex Jr. among the top four contenders. With just 10 races remaining, the forthcoming playoff battles are poised to deliver a spectacle of unrivaled excitement.

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