Martin Truex Jr. lauds comfortable relationship with new crew chief

DAYTONA BEACH, FLORIDA - FEBRUARY 12: Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #19 Bass Pros Shops Toyota, speaks with the media during the NASCAR Cup Series 62nd Annual Daytona 500 Media Day at Daytona International Speedway on February 12, 2020 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

When Martin Truex Jr. started working with engineer James Small at Furniture Row Racing, the biggest obstacle to their communication might well have been Small’s Australian accent.

When Truex transitioned to Joe Gibbs Racing in 2018, Small came with him. Last year the Aussie served as lead engineer on a No. 19 team that won seven races, tops in the NASCAR Cup Series.

With the departure of crew chief Cole Pearn during the offseason, Small has assumed that role on Truex’s team. So far, the transition has been comfortable, as far as the driver is concerned

“So far it’s been good,” Truex said on Wednesday during Daytona 500 media day interviews. “I think James has been right there on the front lines with us the past few seasons, and obviously he wasn’t out in the spotlight, because he was an engineer and not a crew chief.

“But I feel like he’s really doing the same things as before, and our communication really hasn’t changed a whole lot. I just feel like it’s business as usual. From that standpoint, it feels comfortable, and he’s done a good job of just keeping things the way we’ve always done them. Not trying to change, not trying to be somebody… change the team up to be the way he wants it.

“He knows what we have works, and his approach is so similar to Cole’s that it’s really been seamless so far. Hopefully, that continues to be the case.”

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