TOYOTA NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS)
Darrell Wallace Jr. — Notes & Quotes
Martinsville Speedway – March 28, 2014
DARRELL WALLACE JR., No. 54 Toyota ‘#1 for Everyone’ Sales Event Toyota Tundra, Kyle Busch Motorsports
Are you happy to be back racing at Martinsville this weekend?
“How long has it been? Like three years since we’ve raced — that’s what it feels like. My hair has gotten this long and it’s horrible since I haven’t cut it since Daytona. It’s good to be back in the Toyota Tundra here this weekend in Martinsville. I’m going for the repeat. We were fast here in the spring last year so we’re backing that up again. We had a little heart attack moment when (Ryan) Blaney knocked me off of the top so we bolted on another set of stickers and went out there and took it back from him. He wasn’t too happy, but I had to keep it going. Very, very happy about my Toyota Tundra in this first round. We’re going to make a few adjustments and go see what we’ve got. I don’t think we’re going to run the whole practice, but just get another baseline and see what we’ve got here. Trying to definitely take home another clock. I’m not that great in telling time so I think two clocks would help that out.”
How does it feel to come back to Martinsville as a race winner?
“It’s definitely different for me. I know what we’ve got to do. I learned a lot following Denny (Hamlin) on the race track and I’ve been using that today to my advantage in practice. The race times haven’t really been there where we needed them to be. I was telling our crew chief not to get discouraged — that was really me learning what I did in the race. Just trying to utilize that and get our Toyota Tundra better for the long runs if we have any. I’m a winner, but I’m a loser too because I lost the next race so you’re automatically back in the losers bracket too. That’s the tough thing about this sport. We’re looking to get back on that list and go for two in a row here at Martinsville.”
How is your confidence level this season?
“The confidence level is out of the roof still. I have the same feeling coming into this weekend like I did last weekend that we’re going to win feeling and we’ve got a good shot. Practice definitely backed that up. Going into this season the confidence level has definitely been there and I’m excited about this year. I think we’re capable — I know we’re capable of more wins and we just have to put everything in line and go out there and make it happen and for me to put everything in line is not to wreck. We were bad fast here in the spring and ended up fifth, getting in a tizzy with somebody and punching a hole in the nose. Go to Charlotte and Kentucky and wreck so it just took us out of contention. We’ve always had the speed — my Toyota Tundra has been fast each and every weekend of last year and we’re looking to do the same. For me, it’s changing the whole game plan from the driver’s seat.”
Can you tell a difference in the new truck design at Martinsville?
“I will tell you, the Toyotas look the best out there — I might be a little biased. Here, that’s been the main question is how much different are they. At Daytona I couldn’t really tell that much, but I would always say that Kyle (Busch) would have a three page letter of what’s different — that’s just the experience level. We’ll really find out once we do the Charlotte test and Kentucky race. When we get on those mile-and-a-half speedways and see how the aero affects them. Here at Martinsville, I don’t really feel that much of a difference besides the better things we’ve done to our setup to keep us out front.”
How are you so good at a tough track like Martinsville?
“This is a really tough track and I don’t know, I grew up racing at these race tracks. I said it the other day, I ran a Legends car at the Summer Shootout and down in Atlanta, the quarter mile down on the front stretch is basically this — it’s Martinsville although this is bigger. It gives you that same mentality. I still have my Legends car — I haven’t ran it in two years, but I’ve run it for seven years in a row at the Summer Shootout so that teaches you a lot about what to expect coming to these paperclip tracks. I really enjoy it. This is where my heart and soul is — where I started on short tracks. It’s just something that’s second hand to me or second nature. I can go out here and feel at home. Now, last year I was out of place pretty much everywhere because I had never been there. Now I can go to these race tracks and have that confidence level that I have here at Martinsville and Bristol and just places that I’ve been to a lot and I’ve turned numerous laps here in my late model — ran a K&N East race here in 2010 and finished third. It’s just really been my strong suit so I don’t really know, it’s just little things you pick up on I guess.”
Are you still excited remembering the victory at Martinsville?
“For sure. I have that same feeling — that we’re going to win feeling for this weekend. It looks like Mother Nature might win though or put us off for a couple days. Still feeling the same, still very excited to get this race started and get to try out the new qualifying format for us. It will be the first time for the Truck Series and should be exciting. I’ve qualified second and third here in the spring and the fall race so we’ll see what we can do. It will be interesting to see, but I’m ready to get started and get this season started. I know we have a huge break after this race and it’s just kind of hard to get that momentum going. Hopefully, we can come out of here on top and get to sit on that little high cloud for a couple weeks.”