Cup Series champ is fond of bumpy Chicagoland

AVONDALE, AZ - MARCH 09: Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #78 5-hour ESnergy/Bass Pro Shops Toyota,Sits in his car during qualifying for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series TicketGuardian 500 at ISM Raceway on March 9, 2018 in Avondale, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Bring on the bumps.

Reigning Monster Energy NASCAR Cup champion Martin Truex Jr. says the bumps in the asphalt at Chicagoland Speedway make driving more difficult—and for Truex, that’s a good thing.

Shots from Justin Hailey’s visor cam in Friday night’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at the 1.5-mile track showed just how rough a ride the Cup drivers will get in Sunday’s Overton’s 400 (at 2:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). But in Truex’s view, difficult conditions help elevate the quality of the on-track product.

“I think it’s great,” Truex said before Saturday morning’s opening practice at Chicagoland. “Anytime we can make the track more difficult, it can add to the racing. This place has been bumpy for the last few years and quite a long time. It seems like every year it gets worse. I think that’s a good thing.

“I enjoy this place because of that and seems like bumpy tracks put on really good racing. It kind of takes you out of your normal routine as far as the way you do things. You have to make compromises. Some guys are better in certain areas of the track, and that makes for more fun races. This place is unbelievable, and I look forward to racing on it here this weekend.”

There may be a modicum of bias in Truex’s point of view. After all, he’s the winner of the last two races at the Joliet track. But Truex also acknowledges that the bumpy asphalt demands modifications to the setup of his No. 78 Furniture Row Racing Toyota Camry.

“It definitely changes how you practice and how you drive,” said Truex, who celebrated his 38th birthday on Friday. “Changes how you set the car up, and you definitely have to make more compromises when the tracks are bumpy with your setup, and you can’t just run the car a 16th of an inch off the race track all the way around like you do at some places.

“So it’s definitely tougher to figure out, but it’s a lot harder on the crew chiefs and engineers, for sure, because we complain about the bumps, and they try to fix them (with setup), and it hurts other parts of the track. So a lot of compromise here compared to other places.”

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