Toyota NASCAR Charlotte All-Star Truex Jr Quotes

by Official Release On Fri, May. 19, 2017

Toyota Racing – Martin Truex Jr.
Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS)
Charlotte Motor Speedway – May 19, 2017

Furniture Row Racing driver Martin Truex Jr. was made available to the media at Charlotte Motor Speedway:

MARTIN TRUEX JR, No. 78 5-Hour Energy Extra Strength Toyota Camry, Furniture Row Racing
Talk a little bit about your week, finally getting a win in Kansas and your outlook for the All‑Star Race this weekend.
“Yeah, it was definitely a great week. Come off a big win in Kansas that we’ve been kind of chasing for quite a few years. Then Wednesday night we had an amazing charity event for our foundation. It went really well. It was a great night, raised a lot of money, everybody had a great time. All in all it’s been a fun week. Look forward to continuing in that success, hopefully having some more exciting moments in the All‑Star Race this weekend.”

How good is it to be Martin Truex Jr. right now?
“Well, it’s always been okay. Really just the last couple years in general have been awesome. You know, last week, this week has been fun so far. So proud of the Catwalk (for a Cause) this year, how far it’s come in eight years, all we’ve been able to do with that, raising money. Just the interest level and the excitement level around that event each and every year keeps growing. That’s super important. It’s such a big part of what we do. But the racing side of it’s been incredible. Just kind of have to pinch myself every once in a while because things are going so well. I’m such a lucky person right now. It’s such a great situation. I’m not taking that for granted, I’m enjoying every moment, having fun with the team. Just trying to keep the momentum going, keep working hard, see what is around the next corner.”

Any reason you shouldn’t be the big favorite next week in the Coca-Cola 600 after the dominance last year?
“I don’t know. I mean, so much has changed since then. The downforce package we have, the tires are different. Charlotte typically changes quite a bit day to day let alone year to year. It’s definitely still going to be a challenge. This place is tough. I think with our success on the mile‑and‑a‑half’s even this year, I think we certainly should be one of the guys to beat. I think we feel good coming in about what we’re doing and the car we’re bringing, all those things. I think we’ll be one of the guys to beat. But so many things you have to do right to win these races. There’s no guarantees. We’re certainly putting the pressure on ourselves to make sure we get it all done. Hopefully we’ll be able to put ourselves in that position. But there’s no guarantees, that’s for sure.”

Are drivers concerned with back injuries that we’ve seen recently?
“Well, I don’t know that the setups of the car or the springs really are what is playing into that. I’m sure there’s things in the seats, the way the seat belts are in, all those things, everything is so stiff, it’s so rigid now, not only the setups of the cars, but the seats, the way they’re mounted, the foam, the shell of carbon fiber itself. I’m sure there’s a lot that’s changed over the years. I’m sure there’s things that NASCAR is looking at. I know they took the 43 (car) and are looking at those things. I think in certain situations you look at the Gs, the vertical Gs, that Aric’s (Almirola) car has seen, and it’s no wonder that his back was hurt. I don’t think it would matter what kind of setup the car had in it, that was going to be the case. Racing is dangerous. It always has been, always will be. Trying to eliminate as much of that as you can. I don’t know what happened to Aric, what happened to Denny (Hamlin) a few years ago, is something that you can get out of the racecars. But I’m sure they’re looking into it.”

After dominating last year’s Coca-Cola 600, how big would it have been to have received stage points?
“Four stage wins would be great, or three stage wins and a race win would be incredible. Last year certainly would have been nice to have those stage points in the Playoffs when our engine blew up at Talladega. Yeah, we really haven’t forgotten about last year, how it all went down, how important the stage points are. It’s going to be big. I mean, we’re going after all of them we can get. Hopefully we’ll get a bunch next weekend.”

What do you think about the optional tire for this weekend? Have you guys figured out yet when you’ll use it?
“Well, it’s only available I thought for the last 10‑lap segment. Pay attention. Yeah, so there’s an option to put them on the last segment. If you put them on, you start in the back. Those that don’t put them on start in the front. It depends on who does and doesn’t use them. We all get a set today in practice to see. I think that’s what’s going to make up your mind. They’re so much faster, we’re going to have to do this. They only run three laps fast, then they’re slower. So it’s going to be based around I think the driver feel, how your car accepts them, and what kind of changes might go along with that. Because you’re not going to change your car setup for the first 60 laps, you know, based on just trying to make those soft tires work in 10 laps, kind of sacrifice the rest of your night. So I don’t know really the answer. To answer your question, I don’t know. We’re going to find out today and see what happens. I’m sure Saturday night everything will be even different.”

How does practicing in the day with the optional tire translate into using them in the evening?
“It’s not a direct comparison, I would say. I would imagine they would probably work better in the sun and heat today than they would at night. I think the normal tire that we’ll race the 60 laps on, the first three segments, will be much better tomorrow night than it will be today. Again, all those things will have to be taken into consideration and kind of just be ready to make that decision tomorrow night based on what you know.”

When you started your Cup career, what was your perception of the All‑Star Race?
“Perception was that it was just a Saturday night shootout for a million bucks or a ton of money. Guys always seemed — were willing to do whatever it took to win. Nobody was ever worried about finishing second. I think it still has that feel. I finished second here a handful of years ago. I’m pretty sure everyone forgets about that. I for the most part forget about it till we get here. It has that feel. It’s all about winning. It’s a race for the fans. It’s a race to just put on a show, kind of a throwback short track race with the stages and the segments, just putting it all out there for the win.”

Is there any pressure during the All-Star race?
“None. No pressure at all. It’s a fun weekend. Anytime you take points off the table, it becomes a lot less stressful and a lot more fun. But at the same time we all want to win it. It’s going to be a fun weekend.”

When you look back on last year in the 600 is that one of those moments that you kind of put in the category of a once‑in‑a‑career race where absolutely everything falls your way?
“Yeah, absolutely. And I think it’s amazing to look at the numbers and see actually what we did there. Honestly, it’s more than that. It’s more of a once in the history of a sport. I mean, it’s incredible just to look at the numbers. Again, so many great drivers, so many dominant races throughout the history of NASCAR, throughout the history of the Cup Series. To be able in this day and age, with the competition level, to be able to lead that many miles, that many laps, is going to be something tough to replicate. Hopefully we can do it. It would be a great time. But it’s going to be tough, for sure, especially with stages and all that. It’s going to be interesting.”

With the addition of Erik Jones this season, how big of an asset has he been to Furniture Row this season?
“Well, I think it’s gone well going to two cars for our team, being it’s the first time. Furniture Row has always been a single‑car effort. There was a lot of work in the off‑season, even towards the end of last year, that they started preparing for. I think everybody’s done a great job with that. Information flow, I think the teams are working well together. Really no different than teams I’ve been involved with in the past. We share information. They build the cars the same. They build them together. Kind of, you know, both cars are built in the same shop by the same guys. So all that stuff’s going really well. Erik (Jones) has had good speed at times this year. They’ve been a little bit inconsistent, but that’s to be expected with a rookie team, rookie driver. I think they’ve done a good job. Feel like they’ve had some missed opportunities to have some good finishes. Hopefully they can clean that up. It’s been fun. They’ve been great teammates so far. I expect it will get better as we go.”

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