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NASCAR America: Martin Truex Jr. still the championship favorite after Texas loss

Even though Kevin Harvick brought home the checkered flag at Texas, Martin Truex Jr. still has the advantage at 1.5-mile tracks like Miami.

With his second-place finish in Sunday’s Cup playoff race at Texas Motor Speedway, Martin Truex Jr. clinched a spot among the Championship four at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

The Furniture Row Racing driver has finished second in both Round of 8 races so far. Sunday’s result came after he was passed by Kevin Harvick with 10 laps left in the race.

But NASCAR America analysts Kyle Petty and Parker Kligerman don’t think that changes that Truex is still the favorite to win the championship, which will be decided at a 1.5-mile track. Six of Truex’s seven wins this year have been at 1.5-mile tracks.

The No. 78 team’s average finish at those tracks is 2.7. That’s second all-time to Bobby Labonte in 1999 (2.4).

“He has been the best car all year on the mile-and-halfs,” Kligerman said. “It’s an upset if someone goes and beats them. It was an upset yesterday when Kevin Harvick beat him on a mile-and-a-half, on a green-flag run in a green-flag pass. ... Yes, they got beat yesterday, but they still have that speed advantage.”

Said Petty: “I’m going to compare this to a Mike Tyson or a Tiger Woods. Once they get beat, people look at them and say, ‘ooh. They’re beatable on a mile-and-a-half race track.’ ... This may give them that little bit of an opening that you need to say they’re not invincible this year.”

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