This article is part of our NASCAR Barometer series.
Martin Truex Jr. became the fifth different driver to win in the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series season in as many races in Sunday's Instacart 500 at Phoenix Raceway. The Joe Gibbs Racing driver started fifth and led 64 laps to join teammate Christopher Bell as a 2021 winner. His Toyota was clearly one of the fastest throughout the race's 312 laps, but he and the team had to be flawless to beat the Penske Racing Fords that started the day at the point. Truex was able to match the pace, and one final restart gave him the opportunity he needed to get out front and not look back. Joey Logano couldn't chase him down in the final 24 laps and settled for second place ahead of Denny Hamlin. Logano's teammate Brad Keselowski finished fourth with fall race winner Chase Elliott coming home fifth.
This week the series heads back east to Atlanta Motor Speedway. The track's rough surface makes for exciting races, and challenges drivers and teams to remain fast throughout a fuel run. This week's race will be the 114th time the series has visited the track, and Kevin Harvick is the defending winner. He led 151 of 325 laps last June to score one of his nine wins last season.
Martin Truex Jr. – Truex won for the first time in 2021 and at Phoenix Raceway Sunday. The Joe Gibbs Racing driver was one of the fastest cars all afternoon, but had to battle the Penske