RELATED: Driver standings
Martin Truex Jr. clinched his spot as the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series 2017 Regular Season Champion on Sunday night with an eighth-place finish at Darlington Raceway.
Truex entered Sunday’s Bojangles’ Southern 500 with a 101-point edge atop the series standings. He leaves the 1.366-mile track with a 107-point cushion, an insurmountable advantage with one race remaining before the 16-driver playoff field is set.
Truex’s regular-season crown provides him with 15 bonus points for the playoffs. That figure adds to the series-leading 37 playoff points he has accrued by virtue of his four race victories and 17 stage wins.
“It’s an honor to win the regular-season championship and a milestone for Martin and Furniture Row Racing,” Joe Garone, president of Furniture Row Racing, said in a statement. “At the end of the day, though, our sites are set on the long term-goal which is winning the championship at Homestead. We’ll use this regular season championship, and the bad luck the 78 team had at the end of tonight’s race, as a springboard to take us to that goal.”
The Furniture Row Racing driver’s nest egg of playoff points makes puts him in good position to weather the three elimination rounds and reach the championship field of four at Homestead-Miami Speedway in November’s season finale. The playoff points bonus carries over — and can grow — from round to round in the postseason.
This marks the first year that NASCAR has recognized and awarded points for regular-season champions in its three national series.
This story will be updated.