TOYOTA NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS)
Martin Truex Jr. — Notes & Quotes
Dover International Speedway – May 31, 2013
MARTIN TRUEX JR., No. 56 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing
How does it feel to be back at Dover?
“I’m looking forward to it. It’s always nice to come home. Everybody knows I consider this kind of my home track. It’s always fun to come back here. Had a good day yesterday, went up to New Jersey and did some go karting at the New Jersey Motorsports Park with some NAPA guys. So far it’s been a good day. I’m excited to be here this weekend. Our team has been doing a good job here lately and this is a good track for us to come to and hopefully break through and get back to victory lane.”
How did the drivers react to the incident at Charlotte that injured some race fans?
“Well, obviously the fans always come first in NASCAR. The fact that they were all treated and released fairly quickly. There was no major injuries — that was obviously a relief for all of us. I guess it could have been a whole lot worse. It’s unfortunate what happened. It held the race up. Things like that are kind of freak deals that you never like to see happen, but I thought everyone handled it well — the track, NASCAR letting guys obviously fix their race cars, the ones that were damaged that needed some time to work on them. I think in the end, everything worked out good. I think we escaped potentially a really bad situation there.”
How difficult of a track is Dover for racers?
“It’s definitely one of the most difficult we go to, without a doubt. I think the hardest thing about this place is getting your car to do what you want. The second hardest thing is when it’s not doing what you want, trying to drive the thing for 400 laps — it’s miserable to have a car that is not doing what you want here. If you’re loose and your rear tires are bouncing and we hear guys talking about tires feel like basketballs here all the time — all those seams in the concrete filled with rubber. It just — all your problems continually get worse throughout the day. If you’re a little bit off as the day goes on, it just gets worse and worse and you get madder and madder. It’s a tough race track, but when your car is right there’s no more fun race than here at Dover.”
What are some of your memories growing up with your dad and racing?
“That’s the only reason I ever got into racing. There’s tons and tons of stories. Going to the track with him and watching. For as long as I can remember, watching him race the modified at Wall Stadium (Wall Township, N.J.) was my first memories of racing in general. Of course, going on the road and traveling with him to some Busch North races, going to some tracks here and New Hampshire, places like that. Getting to see him race a little bit in the Nationwide Series, back then the Busch Series. As I grew up, that’s all I ever wanted to do was race because my dad did it. Tons and tons of memories. The most special one of all was probably watching him win at New Hampshire in ’94 on TV. I was sitting there and I was a kid and I was in school, so I couldn’t go to the race. Seeing it on TV, watching him win his first race like on live television was incredible on TNN back in the day. Darrell Waltrip was one of the commentators I think, Buddy Baker was on and that was one of the coolest moments for me as a kid, was watching my dad win on the big stage.”
Have you talked with Clint Bowyer about racing at Dover?
“For sure, we lean on each other a lot, we always have. Clint (Bowyer) was always really good here in the Nationwide Series and like you said, we were as well. Throughout the weekend, if you have a problem with your race car, it’s always nice to have a teammate that you can trust and knows what he’s talking about. With Clint, I definitely get those. Same with Mark (Martin). Last year, we really worked well together and because of that we built a lot of trust and a lot of confidence in each other. Then that, we continued to build on. The fact that Clint is good here, I’ll say, ‘Hey, I’m feeling this in my car. Are you feeling the same thing? What do you think we can do to fix it.’ Two heads are definitely better than one, so to speak. He’s been a great teammate and I’m sure this weekend we’ll lean on each other quite a bit again.”
How will the heat this weekend affect the track surface and the seams?
“There’s no way to avoid them, you just have to drive through them and get your car balanced enough that you have some comfort or at least some drivability in it. I would say with it being hot, it’s going to be worse. Typically here, the hotter it is, the slicker this place gets — that’s just the way it is. Last year, we did see this tire — it’s supposed to be the same this year — it didn’t put down as much rubber as two years ago when there were big rubber patches and that was like hitting oil. You go down in the corner and you never knew what it was going to do or where you were going to end up. I think this tire will be a little bit better than it was last year. These cars are a little bit lighter. I don’t think it will be as bad as it was two years ago. With the sun out, the track is going to take a lot of rubber — it’s going to get slick. That’s just the way it is. I think that’s going to be a good thing. With these cars, they are so fast with all the downforce we’re making. I think if the track gets slick, we’ll get the groove widened out a little bit and that will help the racing for sure. So, that should be a good thing.”
Have you visited the New Jersey shore since Hurricane Sandy?
“I haven’t been to the shore since Christmas, so I was there after Sandy. Yes, I did get to see a lot of the homes on the shoreline in my local area over there on the island and of course on the bay that had gotten beat up pretty good, some that were gone. I saw boats on the marsh up against the wood line, things like that. I did get to see that. We got to help a lot of them through our foundation — we donated a lot of money to the area to a lot of people. It was neat because we did it with our own board, our own committee of people up in the area that were hit and it was spearheaded by my sister. We got to help a lot of people with a lot of things without going through anyone else so the money didn’t get dispersed. We were actually able to give them every dime we raised, which I think was upwards of $150,000. We paid people’s mortgages, rebuilt people’s houses, we did all kinds of really neat things with it, so that was cool. The area is getting back to somewhat being normal. Hopefully this summer I’ll be able to get up there and get up there and see how it’s coming along. Yesterday we went to New Jersey Motorsports Park. The second time I’ve been there. It’s a beautiful facility and very good people running it. Just got to race some go karts with some guys from NAPA and had a good time with that and enjoyed it. I don’t get to get up there as much as I’d like to. Our schedules are so busy. Usually Christmas is about the only time I get to get up there and see the family.”
Why have there been more cautions this year than last year?
“That’s a good question, I don’t know. In the case of a race like last week, Charlotte towards the end we started having all those cautions, it was getting wild on those restarts because guys knew the restarts were your chance to make up spots. That was — 90 percent of the racing was done on the restarts. After that it was very difficult to pass because it was a night race and the track was so fast, the top groove didn’t come in. I think that’s part of the reason you saw them last week. Now, as far as the whole season goes, I don’t know exactly why there has been more wrecks. The car — it’s faster, so year okay it’s got to drive better. I think if you’re more comfortable, you’re going to put yourself in positions that you wouldn’t if you were out of control, so maybe that’s part of it. I think at the end of the day, guys that are racing harder than they ever have, these cars are a little bit faster than they were before and maybe that’s getting some guys in trouble.”