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Larson: Truex's dominant NASCAR Cup pace 'pretty' crazy

Martin Truex Jr's dominant NASCAR Cup pace is "pretty crazy", says former championship leader Kyle Larson

Furniture Row Toyota driver Truex's win at Kentucky Speedway last weekend was his third of the year, and the second time he has won all three stages.

It brought him to within one point of Larson in the points, which became the points lead when Larson was hit with a points penalty - and had his crew chief suspended for three weeks - for a rear brake infringement at Kentucky.

Truex also has a 12-point lead over Jimmie Johnson in the playoff points that count towards the title runoff.

Larson, who finished second to Truex at Kentucky, said his rival's margin over the field last weekend was eye-opening.

"[On the] last run, Truex was upwards of 15 seconds ahead of us," Larson said.

"That was pretty crazy.

"He has definitely been the fastest car all year.

"So we've got some work to do but, if we can keep chasing him, I think we can beat him."

Truex has led the most laps of any Cup driver this year with 1115 - 257 more than Kyle Busch, who is second in that ranking.

He is the only Toyota driver to have won in the top series this season.

Furniture Row team owner Barney Visser believes he has grown into the best driver in NASCAR.

"I think he's peaking right now," said Visser.

"For the last year I've thought he was as good as anyone in the garage.

"Now I think he's better than anyone in the garage."

Crew chief Cole Pearn suggested one of the keys to Truex's 2017 success is his qualifying performances.

He has an average starting position of 7.9 this year, a major improvement over his career average of 15.3.

"A lot of it comes down to qualifying well," Pearn said.

"If you look at our qualifying averages, we've been really stout that way. Definitely our best as a team.

"I think having good track position to start the race is a huge, important part of it and, if you're able to maintain that, it makes it a lot easier to score stage points for sure."

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