CORNELIUS, N.C. — Martin Truex Jr. and the No. 56 NAPA AUTO PARTS team continue to prepare for tomorrow’s running of the twin 150-mile qualifying races at Daytona International Speedway. Truex, along with his car owner Michael Waltrip and teammate David Reutimann, run in the second race to determine starting positions in Sunday’s Daytona 500. For the second consecutive year, Truex teams up with Waltrip under the NAPA AUTO PARTS banner for the sport’s biggest race. Sunday’s race marks the 10th anniversary of Waltrip’s first of two Daytona 500 victories with NAPA.
Truex on Qualifying 33rd: “We pretty much knew what to expect in qualifying last week because of what we saw in our testing and practice sessions. Daytona is one of those tracks where you don’t pick up a half second from practice. We knew what we had going down there and in the end, all of the Toyotas pretty much qualified together. Our cars seem to draft well so I believe they will race really well. It’s just a starting spot for tomorrow’s race and it doesn’t really mean a lot unless you qualify for the front row.
“This will be a great race for us to learn about what works for the Daytona 500. I am driving a different car from what I drafted with at the test so Thursday will be important for the NAPA team. This car seems to be faster and it picked up from what we practiced on Saturday. All the work the NAPA guys did on the new car worked. Plus, Michael’s car in the Budweiser Shootout was really fast. That lap of 206.7 mph was the fastest of the race and you have to admit that is pretty amazing. The speed is there, it is a matter of putting ourselves in the right position and finding some guys that will work with us to get us up front.”
On NASCAR’s Changes To Nose Opening and Cooling System: “I think after what we saw in the Bud Shootout, NASCAR is trying to keep it to where you can only push for a lap or so. On Sunday, the guys won’t push for lengthy periods of time because their engines will get too hot. A lot is going to be learned during practices and the qualifying race.”
On Two-Car Packs: “It’s really hard to see if you are doing the pushing. You are really going off what the guy in front of you is doing. Basically what you are trying to do is stay on his bumper and stay lined up straight. If you get off center, it’s going to cause problems. It’s difficult to do when there are more than two cars on the track because you just can’t see what’s happening in front of you with the other cars. Fortunately we have some time to work through all of this. I’ll be working closely with my new spotter Keith Barnwell to get ready for the race.”
ADDITIONAL NOTES OF INTEREST
- Martin Truex Jr. will be competing in his 190th NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race when the Daytona 500, gets underway in Daytona Beach, Fla., on Feb. 20. In 12 races at DIS, his best start is first (Feb. 15, 2009). His best finish of sixth came last year driving for NAPA.
- NAPA Racing will once again host the Honorary Pit Crew Member program at the Daytona 500. Marc Goodrich of Midway, Ga. and Kevin Edmunds of Tampa, Fla., will be honored in NAPA pre-race festivities and have their names decaled on the No. 56 and No. 15 NAPA Toyotas.
- On Feb. 12, NAPA launched its 2011 NAPA Racing television campaign.
- Check out NAPA Reserve Online. Visit napaonline.com to make shopping for an auto part easier. Order online and pick up at your favorite NAPA AUTO PARTS store.
- The Martin Truex Jr. Foundation has raised over $500,000 for community outreach programs benefiting children.