TOYOTA NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS)
Martin Truex Jr. — Notes & Quotes
Talladega Superspeedway – May 4, 2013
MARTIN TRUEX JR., No. 56 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing
Are you happy with your Camry for Sunday’s race?
“We had a good plan in practice yesterday. Our car felt really good. Obviously, Gen-6 car’s first time at Talladega. A lot of guys kind of trying to figure it out. We expected it to be similar to Daytona, but it actually feels quite a bit different which is interesting. We really don’t know what to expect for tomorrow yet. The practicing here is never quite like it is in the race. You get in different positions and guys tend to be more aggressive in the race somewhat. When you get all 43 cars out there in a pack it changes quite a bit so excited about the race tomorrow. Looking forward to learning a bunch all day and hopefully being able to apply all of those things that we learn all day at the end of the race and try to go to victory lane.”
What differences did you notice with the new cars compared to Daytona in February?
“I thought that yesterday practicing that it did some things differently. The biggest thing I noticed and it’s a different race car than we had at Daytona so it could be partly there. The cars seemed to suck up and get runs a whole lot better — even when we were towards the front of the pack so I think that’s a great thing for what we’ll see tomorrow in the race. We’ve seen quite a bit of single file racing at Daytona and I don’t expect the race here tomorrow to be quite that way so I think that will be a good thing for the fans and it should put on a great show. It seemed like guys were really able to get a lot of runs and make a lot of stuff happen yesterday in practice so it should be a lot of fun.”
Was practice more indicative of race conditions than qualifying would have been?
“Yes and no. I think that it was all about getting in the right position to get a big run and be able to run a whole lap without having to check up or drag the brake or slow the car down. It was all about getting a big run and trying to keep your momentum for one lap and obviously we were able to do that in the beginning of practice. That’s why you saw — the beginning of practice yesterday was kind of crazy. It was something that you never see and I think we ran the first three laps half throttle and everybody was trying to figure out a way to get to the back of the pack so they could get that run. And, we fortunately were able to be in that position. Yes and no, like I said, I think that a lot of guys didn’t try to get the big lap. They didn’t try to hang back and get that big run. They were just worried about working on the cars because to be honest where you start here doesn’t really matter. We could be — we are starting second and we could be 25th coming around to take the first lap. It’s just plate racing. The guys will be coming and going all day long. The field is like a big revolving door and you’ve just got to be in the right position at the right time.”
What was practice like knowing there was the potential qualifying could be cancelled?
“Yeah, it was like the calm before the storm. You’re out there riding around half throttle and it’s like, ‘Okay, when’s everybody going to go? It’s going to get crazy.’ It did because there’s cars going such different speeds guys were still checking up a little bit trying to get to the back. We were coming with a run, so it was like a lot of different speeds out there. Guys seemed like 20, 30 miles an hour off the pace when we had the big run on the — I guess it was like the third or fourth lap. It’s definitely kind of crazy and we’ve seen that throughout the first five or 10 minutes of practice. It was interesting.”
What’s your strategy for the race?
“I think based on what we learned at Daytona you want to be at the front. Coming in here my thought was I’ve tried the riding around in the middle of the pack, towards the back of the pack trying to stay safe until the end and it’s never worked out. So my plan coming in here was to be aggressive, to try to stay up front all day long — we did that at Daytona and it worked out for us until we had our engine problem late in the race. I think a lot of guys based on what I’ve been hearing and reading throughout the week I think a lot of guys are on that same program. The chances here of getting in a wreck are great, so why not just go out and race and put on a show and try to run up front all day long? I think that’s our plan, our strategy and what we’re going to do. We’re going to try to stay up front all day and hopefully lead some laps and have some fun out there and hopefully make it to the end when it counts.”