Toyota Racing – Martin Truex Jr.
Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Quotes
CONCORD, N.C. (September 26, 2019) – Joe Gibbs Racing driver Martin Truex Jr. was made available to media at Charlotte Motor Speedway Road Course:
MARTIN TRUEX JR., No.19 Bass Pro Shops Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
How does a person from New Jersey who grew up racing go-karts, Modifieds and late models on ovals become so good at road-course racing?
“Actually the first go-kart racing I did was all on road courses, so that was a little bit of it – kind of getting that mentality and just kind of getting what it takes to do that in your brain. Growing up, racing Modifieds, we didn’t do road courses, but in the Busch North Series, we did. My first year of racing stock cars, there were a few road courses mixed in there. Then of course moving up to Xfinity, we won in Mexico, we raced Watkins Glen. I’ve had enough of it throughout my past I think to understand it and to figure out the things that I was good at and the things I needed to work on. Going back each and every year, I just tried to continue to pick those things apart.”
From your perspective, what do you think the differences are between IndyCar and NASCAR and on a scale of 1-10, would you ever consider jumping over to IndyCar for a race or two?
“I’m going to say that’s probably, on a 1-10, it’s probably like a 2. It’s not a definitely not, but it’s so far away from what I’ve done my whole career, and I’m not that young, stock cars have suited me well, so I don’t plan on making the jump. Difference-wise, I mean they’re completely different, right. IndyCar is an inch and a half off the ground. It probably was quite a bit less than what our cars do. It has similar horsepower, maybe more and way more downforce. Rear engine – it’s just completely different than a race car. I’m assuming the way you drive it as well. Definitely worlds apart.”
How much better can we expect not just you, but everybody to be once you’ve seen these tracks a second time with the package, specifically at Dover?
“I think you definitely have to find some things to be better each time you go back. We were able to do that at Richmond last week, which was a big deal for us and for our team. Even though we won that race in the spring, it was like okay, we know the things we need to get better at, how do we do that and the guys were able to do a good job in that department. Hopefully going to Dover is the same. Yeah, we ran well. Our car was good, but we know guys are building better cars, faster cars, better stuff and have a better understanding of that track and this package with it. It’s been a huge learning curve all year really because of the rules being so different and you just constantly have to keep chasing speed and trying to find more.”
Are you and your team feeling good right now with the two-consecutive wins these past two weeks?
“I think we’re feeling good, you know. The funny thing about our sport is every weekend is such a different challenge. You look at the last two weeks, nothing we really did prepares you for the ROVAL. We get a lot of curve balls thrown at us in this sport and that’s what makes it fun, that’s what it makes it a huge challenge, but as far as the team goes, I feel good about things and everybody is clicking. Everybody is working hard and looking for more all the time. I think our approach is good and we’ll just continue to take these things one at a time and do the best that we can do with it.”
How relatable is the simulator to running the actual course these days and the heat?
“I think it depends on the driver or the person, the specific individual. For me, I’d say not that much. I’d say I used it a lot more early in my career trying to learn little things here and there. Once you kind of know your style, you just try to kind of adapt that to the race track, so it’s hard to do that in a simulator, but I do it to help the team get prepared, try to set up things, try to validate certain things and correlate things to what we do in real life. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.”
Can you give us some feedback on what you think about the new chicane layout on the road course?
“So far, I think it’s a good change. I like that it’s an actual braking zone and it’s an actual – you slow down and you make a turn left, turn right, got to get the power down to leave there. It’s a lot more technical than what it was. Last year, it was just like a Hail Mary every time you went through there because really last year, all you would do is slow down just enough to get to third gear and you were right back in the throttle through that thing. It was pretty hairy as we’ve seen obviously and then with the wall coming out, we’ve seen the guys get their cars completely destroyed by making a little mistake. There’s a lot less on the line there now. If you miss the chicane, you can stop. It’s like Watkins Glen, right. You pay a lot less of a price if you mess up a little bit or overshoot the corner. As far as the racing goes, I think it’ll be a good braking zone. I think it’s potential to make passes there. A lot like we see at the bus stop at Watkins Glen. Who can get in there deeper on the brakes and will you both make it in? There’ll be definitely potential for that, so it should add another passing zone. I think it won’t keep the chicane on NASCAR Turn 4 from being a passing zone as well, so I think it just adds another element to the race and a little bit more technical section, which is good I think.”
How would the chicane have changed the last lap last year?
“I probably would’ve just gotten hit one corner sooner I’m guessing.”
How do you navigate the relationship with your teammates with them being some of your biggest competition right now?
“I think we’re hired to all do a job. We’re professionals. When we get in the meetings together, our job is to talk about our cars, share the information, respect each other and obviously I think without it even being mandatory, I think we all get along well, honestly, and have mutual respect for each other with what we’ve done on and off the race track throughout the years. I mentioned even, I think last week, that you know Kyle (Busch) and I, Denny (Hamlin) and I, we’ve raced together a long time. We came up together. We’ve been competitors on the race track for a long time and have a lot of respect for each other and Erik (Jones) has been a great addition to the team the past few seasons and the same with him. You give respect, you get respect and I think all of us do a good job of balancing that. Being kind, being nice, doing what’s best for the team, but going out on Sunday and giving it everything we have to beat each other.”
Unlike the other road course tracks, you pit here in the conventional manner with the pit wall to your left. Do you see that as a good comfort level for you instead of pitting with the pit wall on the right?
“I think for the pit crews, it’s a big deal just because that’s the routine they’re used to. They only do it the other way at Watkins Glen and as much as they practice for that coming up, it’s always slower, right. They always have more problems. It’s more difficult. It just is not natural for them, so just more natural for the pit crews. I think as the drivers, we don’t really, we don’t really – it doesn’t change either way. We kind of hit our marks and try to put the car in the box the way it was supposed to be. It doesn’t really matter what side, but for the pit crew, for their routine, it’s huge.”
What has it meant to you to have so many drivers join you for the Martin Truex Jr. Foundation steering wheel event and auction?
“It’s been incredible really. The support for our foundation in general throughout the garage, throughout the industry has been just amazing. Whether it’s our Catwalk for a Cause event back in May here in town or the steering wheel program. I think we have 33 of the Cup drivers this weekend. It’s amazing to be a part of that. It was a great idea. I think Sherry (Pollex) was the one who came up with it, which is not surprising. Just to see the level of respect and just having guys willing to do it means so much. I know it probably is a little odd for them to be driving their race car against me this weekend and seeing my name on their steering wheel, but it really is a big deal. It goes to, 100% of the proceeds go to the foundation, which will help women and children battling cancer and ovarian cancer. We’re very thankful for that and nobody does it better than NASCAR when it comes to foundations and charities, whether it’s Dale (Earnhardt) Jr.’s gloves or my steering wheels or you know Jimmie Johnson does visor scripts every year. Any time anyone asks, for the most part, 80% of the garage, 85% of the garage says absolutely. It goes a long way and means a lot to us at the Martin Truex Jr. Foundation.”
What did it mean to you to get a chance to race Mike Stefanik?
“Just his success over the years and how long he went winning races and championships was amazing. I can remember watching him as a kid. Growing up, watching my dad race and then moving up through the ranks and getting to race with guys like Mike (Stefanik). Just an awesome competitor. A true champion, a great guy off the race track. Obviously a tough thing for especially the Modified guys, just the Northeast racing scene in general. He was a hero up there. Pretty tragic how it all happened. We were all thinking about his family.”
# # #
Toyota (NYSE:TM) has been a part of the cultural fabric in the U.S. and North America for more than 60 years, and is committed to advancing sustainable, next-generation mobility through our Toyota and Lexus brands. During that time, Toyota has created a tremendous value chain as our teams have contributed to world-class design, engineering, and assembly of more than 38 million cars and trucks in North America, where we have 14 manufacturing plants, 15 including our joint venture in Alabama (10 in the U.S.), and directly employ more than 47,000 people (over 36,000 in the U.S.). Our 1,800 North American dealerships (nearly 1,500 in the U.S.) sold 2.8 million cars and trucks (2.4 million in the U.S.) in 2018.
Through the Start Your Impossible campaign, Toyota highlights the way it partners with community, civic, academic and governmental organizations to address our society’s most pressing mobility challenges. We believe that when people are free to move, anything is possible. For more information about Toyota, visit ToyotaNewsroom.com.