Toyota Racing – Martin Truex Jr.
Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Quotes
KANSAS CITY, KAN. (October 18, 2019) – Joe Gibbs Racing driver Martin Truex Jr. was made available to media at Kansas Speedway:
MARTIN TRUEX JR., No.19 Bass Pro Shops Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
How was practice today?
“Practice, we missed it a bit there. We struggled a little, so we are making big changes. Hopefully, we will be better for second practice.”
Can you talk about your thoughts about this track with the Playoff picture?
“We’ve been pretty good here, but we struggled in the spring and we weren’t too good in the first practice. I was really optimistic coming in here – the way we’ve been running on mile-and-a-halves, coming off the Vegas win a few weeks back. Felt good about that, but just missed it a little. We will regroup here and get going for final practice and make the right calls for the race. It’s a fun track to race on. You can move around, which is good with this package. Looking forward to it and hopefully we have a good night.”
Does the handling change racing in this weather versus racing at night like you did in the spring?
“Yeah, for sure. I think it changes a lot of things. I think I’m probably hoping for it to be as hot as possible. It’s not going to be as hot as we would like it to be, but it seems like when the tracks are hotter and slicker, we do better. I’ll be looking forward to that. For sure, racing here in the day is different that racing in the nighttime. It always has been, and I’m sure that will be the case this time around.”
Consistently, you have a long-run car. Is that a driver thing or a team thing?
“I think it is a little bit of both. You kind of work on certain things. Certainly, a lot of it is driver feel, and the team kind of takes that feel and approaches things certain ways. I think based on the way we have done things in the past, that’s where we ended up. I feel like that is where we ended up, and we can do the most damage. I wouldn’t say that we specifically work on that, but it just seems that when I’m happy, when the car feels good, when everything is right that’s where we are good. I don’t think we have ever looked at it as a bad thing and said we need to be faster on short runs. There has been tracks where we have been fast on the short runs, and not really understood why. A place like Richmond in the past. We’ve been really good there, we’ve led a lot of laps over the years, but there have been times with similar approaches that we were faster in the short runs and similar approaches we were fast in the long run. It can be little things sometimes I think.”
So, it’s not like you look at Homestead last year and say we need to be better on short run speed?
“Yeah, without the last caution, we had the thing won. How do you change your strategy completely? We won the championship. The year we won it; we weren’t good enough on the long run. It could go either way. It’s kind of a toss-a-coin and see where you end up. You just try to get your car the best you can, and sometimes it ends up doing things that you don’t expect.”
Do you think with Cole (Pearn, crew chief) you became a long run driver or was it before that?
“I would say in general it has probably been more so true that way my whole career. I feel like a lot of the places that I have been good over the years, Darlington, Homestead, I was good in those cars in the long run when I was in cars that weren’t really the greatest, or teams that we weren’t winning a lot, I should say. We could go to places like that and be good on the long run. Even Richmond. So, I think some of it just goes back to the driver.”
Does this feel any different than it did last year?
“Yes and no. There are definitely some differences. When I show up at the race track and I’m doing my thing, no, it doesn’t feel any different. It’s the day-to-day, week-to-week stuff with meetings, and the amount of people you talk too. It’s just a lot bigger group of people.”
Is that good?
“Yeah, it’s fine. I enjoy it. I enjoy our team. We have a lot of great people there, and honestly, you never know how it’s going to go. I can honestly say, most of the way through our first season together, it has been a lot of fun. We have worked hard. We’ve achieved a lot of goals. More than we even thought we could. You think first year together, six wins, and still going with a chance to win a few more. It’s been good; I’ve been having a lot of fun.”
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