This article is part of our NASCAR Barometer series.
Martin Truex Jr. picked up his third win of the season in Sunday's Toyota/Save Mart 350 with perfect calls from pit road by crew chief Cole Pearn. First, the team sacrificed stage wins to set up themselves for the race win. Then, they delayed their final stop long enough to force the hands of their primary competition, which ultimately earned the victory. It was an impressive performance on a day dictated by strategy, and gives the team another victory and more confidence as the season marches toward the playoffs.
After a week off and a road course visit behind them, the series returns to its bread and butter at Chicagoland Speedway this week. The Ford-powered teams were in the catbird seat on the last oval, and fantasy players will be able to gauge how much of a gap they maintain when the cars hit the track this week. Stewart-Haas Racing will likely be among the favorites, but Furniture Row Racing has been entrenching themselves as championship contenders as well.
Martin Truex Jr. – Truex was quick Sunday, running for the win all afternoon. The team knew early they had a machine that could take the victory, so they sacrificed stage wins to be in top position for the race win. In the third stage the team even faked out the competition and delayed their final pit stop to have the freshest tires for the final run to the checkered flag. That move gave Truex the grip to track down