Martin Truex Jr. failed to reach the NASCAR Cup playoffs in 2022 after going winless. This season has been a much better year for Truex, as he has three victories and won the 2023 regular season championship giving him 15 bonus playoff points.
That however hasn't mattered much, if at all, because Truex has had a very rough playoff thus far. Luckily for him, he has made the Round of 8, but there have been plenty of bumps in the road and the 2017 champion is suffering his worst seven-race stretch for since 2009.
Posting on her X page, RACER's Kelly Crandall cited the results of a driver in the six races run in the playoffs thus far.
"Without telling you who the driver is, when you see these results do you think they made the Round of 8?" Crandall wrote.
Without telling you who the driver is, when you see these results do you think they made the Round of 8?
?I didn?t create the system. We used it to our advantage.? - Martin Truex Jr. pic.twitter.com/MNn6cyJEuI
— Kelly Crandall (@KellyCrandall) October 8, 2023
Turns out it was Truex, who has not finished better than 18th thus far in the playoffs. In her post, Crandall referenced what Truex had to say about the points system in NASCAR.
"I didn't create the system. We used it to our advantage," Crandall quotes Truex as saying.
Truex has mentioned how important stage points have been for him to still be in contention while also agreeing that the system is good, or bad, depending on a driver's situation.
"That's the beauty, and that's the thing that sucks about this deal, you know what I mean," Truex said "I'm sure there are guys that are upset. They outran us enough to get in, but they didn't have the bonus points. It is what it is."
He isn't wrong and he's very fortunate to still be in the hunt for the 2023 championship. He was nearly eliminated after the first round but the bonus points he has gained all season are paying off, despite his ugly finishes.
With the Round of 8 set to begin, Truex can start over. He is second in the standings to start this round but hasn't finished inside the top 15 since August at Watkins Glen.
With so much parity in the field now with the Next Gen car, Truex and others are proving that the NASCAR playoff is almost pointless under its current structure. While there isn't a quick fix to the problem, NASCAR ought to consider ways to better reward top finishers in the playoff races.
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