I’ve said it before I’ll say it again: I’m a big paint scheme guy. Just a few days ago, I said Chase Elliott should be given the Championship in 2020 because his new Hooters paint scheme is so awesome (click here to read that). And honestly, I was 20% serious with that statement. But when it comes to Martin Truex, Jr. and his paint schemes, I’m even more serious. For the last few years, myself (and a few others in the Fantasy NASCAR community) have noticed something: Truex tends to dominate more often with a certain sponsor on his hood–Auto Owners Insurance.

Now, it’s only been a few years that Auto Owners Insurance has been a primary sponsor for Truex and his team, and it’s usually only for a handful of races per year (between six and eight). But even back at the beginning, the trend was noticeable. Here’s a tweet I sent out back in June of 2017:

And again in 2018.

And again in 2019.

But without any data to back it up, this is all kind of pointless to point out, right? Well thanks to Racing-Reference.info and their database of race records along with sponsorship information, we can go back and check this out. And while the information won’t exactly be surprising for the people that believe in the luck of the Auto Owners blue on Truex’s hood, it’s definitely fun to look at.

Here’s a chart of the average percentage of laps led by Truex with Auto Owners as the primary sponsor vs. any other primary sponsor he had that year. I only analyzed the 36 points-paying races, and took total laps led by Truex divided by the total laps ran in the races. Truex had Auto Owners as the primary sponsor for 8 races in both 2019 and 2018, while it was the primary for 6 races in 2017.

Auto OwnersOther Sponsor
201927.69% of laps led8.75% of laps led
201817.11% of laps led8.12% of laps led
201727.45% of laps led20.13% of laps led

Kind of crazy, isn’t it? Even in the closest season (2017), Truex had a 36.4% increase in laps led when he had Auto Owners Insurance as the primary sponsor. But what about average finish? Here are those numbers:

Auto OwnersOther Sponsor
201911.38 avg finish9.29 avg finish
201816.88 avg finish8.96 avg finish
201710.67 avg finish9.17 avg finish

Truex’s average finish is lower when he’s in the Auto Owners car, but part of that is due to the fact that there’s less races in the total sample size–therefore, one or two bad finishes can really bring that average down (see 2018, for example).

So let’s look at that average winning percentage by Martin Truex, Jr. over the last three years depending on who his primary sponsor is. He went to victory lane seven times in 2019 with two of those races having Auto Owners on the hood. Of his four wins in 2018, one of them was with Auto Owners as primary. And in 2017, those numbers were two out of eight. Dividing by number of races gives us the win percentages:

Auto OwnersOther Sponsor
201925.00% win rate17.86% win rate
201812.50% win rate10.71% win rate
201733.33% win rate20.00% win rate

Overall, Truex has an average win rate of 22.7% over the last three years with Auto Owners Insurance as the primary sponsor and a rate of 16.3% with any other company.

One thing is for sure: Auto Owners is probably getting the best bang for their buck of any sponsor in the NASCAR Cup Series. Not only is Truex winning nearly one out of every four races that they sponsor, but he’s also dominating much more often than usual, which almost always equals more TV time for the race car.

If I was Joe Gibbs Racing or Martin Truex, Jr., I’d be making a call to Auto Owners Insurance right now and do anything I could to get them to come on board for more races. Currently, the company is slated to be the primary sponsors for 8 more races in both the 2020 and 2021 seasons.

As someone who has always been obsessed with numbers, Fantasy NASCAR has been the perfect fit with me. I pride myself on the quality of my analysis for each race, and am glad that I have been able to help others along the way. I've been a serious Fantasy NASCAR player for over 10 years now, and I'm just getting started.

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