Will another single-car team find success after Martin Truex Jr.’s breakthrough?

Martin Truex Jr. slaps his Winner sticker on his car after Pocono. He has a Chase spot secured, but will another single-car team find success? Image courtesy of @NASCAR.
Martin Truex Jr. slaps his Winner sticker on his car after Pocono. He has a Chase spot secured, but will another single-car team find success? Image courtesy of @NASCAR.

Martin Truex Jr. slaps his Winner sticker on his car after Pocono. He has a Chase spot secured, but will another single-car team find success? Image courtesy of @NASCAR.

Furniture Row Racing is on a roll this year. It’s lone driver, Martin Truex Jr., matched a record only held by Richard Petty with 14 top-10 finishes in the first 15 races. Petty accomplished that feat in 1969, so it’s a pretty astounding accomplishment.

But outside of that single-car team, no other small program has found success this season in Sprint Cup. With 11 more races before the Chase, will anyone step up?

Last year, A.J. Allmendinger and JTG Daugherty Racing were the pinnacle of single-car success. Thanks to a win at Watkins Glen and five total top 10s, Allmendinger secured a spot in the Chase like Truex has already done for FRR.

At the start of the season, Allmendinger continued that trend with two top-10 results in the first three races. Unfortunately, he hasn’t been able to maintain that success like Truex and has slipped back to 22nd in the points standings.

One thing that he’s also proved over the last several weeks is he’s working hard to get every point possible for JTG. Following a skirmish with Richard Childress Racing driver Ryan Newman at Pocono, Allmendinger took to Twitter to voice his thoughts:

If Allmendinger is going to make the Chase again and match Truex, he’ll likely need at least one win. His past history tells us that checkered flag would likely have to come from a road course, where he’s excelled during his career.

When NASCAR returns after the Father’s Day break, it will make the first stop at a road course on the 2015 season. Allmendinger finished 37th there last year, but has two top 10s and qualified second in 2014. Oh, and he’s never finished worse than 13th at Watkins Glen, the track where he clinched his first Chase berth.

Just ahead of the Dinger in the current standings is another single-car driver. Germain Racing driver Casey Mears has just one top 10 this year, but he’s finished 14 races and has slowly found more consistency at recent tracks like Pocono (16th) and Michigan (13th).

Image courtesy of @NPPmag.

Image courtesy of @NPPmag.

In the final year of both his and GEICO’s contract with Germain Racing, Mears also has a little extra motivation for getting into NASCAR’s postseason.

“We’ve had a lot more speed this year. Obviously our stuff has gotten better. As far as I know, everything is really positive. We haven’t really dove into those conversations yet.” Mears told Lee Spencer of Motorsport.com earlier this season. “All indications are that we’re moving forward into next year. But [at] some point, we need to have that conversation for sure. … Definitely, we need to start having conversations and find out when that’s going to be.”

If he can continue putting up those results, Mears might have a shot at entering the Chase Grid. That all depends on how many race winners we have at the end of the season, of course, but the odds look decent with 11 races remaining.

Mears has posted solid results at Sonoma in the past, including a 13th-place finish in 2014 with Germain. It’s going to take much more than just one strong run, but Mears has proved he is a contender for a Chase spot. Now he just needs to convince everyone else by stringing together top-10 or even top-five results.

Allmendinger and Mears have a great shot at mirroring Truex’s success in terms of making the Chase this year. However, neither will be a contender quite like Furniture Row this year. But with a beacon of hope like Truex and FRR this season, the future looks bright for Germain, JTG and all single-car teams moving forward.

 

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