Toyota Racing – Martin Truex Jr.
Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS)
Dover International Speedway – May 4, 2018
Furniture Row Racing driver Martin Truex Jr. was made available to the media at Dover International Speedway:
MARTIN TRUEX JR., No. 78 5-hour ENERGY/Bass Pro Shops Toyota Camry, Furniture Row Racing
How does it feel to race here at Dover International Speedway, a home track for you?
“Well, I guess it’s one of my home tracks, right? Everybody says I have a lot of home tracks. Yeah, honestly just always look forward to coming up here. I have a lot of memories coming to this race track. A lot of really, really good memories, a lot of success, a lot of special times and just, you know, it’s definitely one of those places I really enjoyed coming too, so love the race track, love the part of the country and looking forward to hopefully having a great weekend.”
What makes this such a good track for you and Furniture Row Racing?
“Well, I think for me personally I just – first time I came here, I fell in love with the track and I think any time you like a place you tend to understand it better and are able to just figure it out just a little bit quicker. I guess coming up through the ranks figuring out the feel that I needed at this race track and what it took to be successful is something that I’ve carried through all the teams I’ve raced for and all the series I’ve race in here. Been able to use that throughout the years to be successful and I feel like the numbers don’t even show really the success that we’ve had at this track. I’ve had so many really good races end in heartbreak here and of course we’ve won a few along the way as well, so it’s not been stats-wise I guess – I don’t even know if it’s my best track – but definitely performance-wise I think it’s up there with one of our best.”
Is there a difference being the hunted instead of the hunter now that you’re the defending champion?
“Yeah, I don’t really think it’s really a whole lot different. I think that I’d say our sport probably changes more week-to-week than it does year-to-year and so we’ve had four tough races in a row right now and we’re ninth in points, so I mean you’re only as good as your last race so they say and right now I wouldn’t say we’re the hunted – I’d say we’re the hunters. Just trying to get back on track and get to where we need to go and, you know, for us I think we always tend to focus on our program more than anything else and I think I’d say most of the garage is the same way. I think the championship was last year and it’s time to turn the page and try to do it again right now.”
What have been your personal challenges racing at this race track, which is a challenging track?
“Oh absolutely, it’s very challenging – one of the most challenging on the circuit just from a standpoint of how it can bite you, how hard you have to attack all the time and, you know, the consequences when you mess up are pretty bad here. It’s definitely a difficult track in that mindset. For me coming here initially, it took a lot to – it took a while to get up the nerve to get to where I needed to make the car. It was like, okay, I keep going and driving harder and harder and harder and the car still wants me to go faster, you know? So once you figure that out, from there it’s really all just about through the years adapting to changing race cars, changing rules, tires changing, the track changing as it ages and just continuing to try to stay on top of all those things I think is the biggest challenge now. But certainly in the race, 400 laps here is quite a challenge as well, so that’s something you need to keep up with.”
Does Dover feel like the fastest track on the schedule?
“Yeah, it definitely feels really fast. I think that as far as the feeling of speed, definitely one of the highest on circuit. I think for me personally I would say Bristol probably feels the fastest and this one is probably top-two or three.”
How difficult is it to wait for your car to pass the strict eye on inspection?
“Well, I wouldn’t say it’s a strict eye. I would say it’s, you know – it seems like every week they pick out something new that they’re going to change the way that they measure or change the way that they interpret the rules and it comes as a big surprise as we’ve seen in the garage today. Nobody was really prepared for that because it’s not how they’ve done it for the rest of the season leading up to here, so that’s just all it is – it’s a surprise. They change something and all – we’re supposed to be able to I guess know it’s coming, have ESP or something.”
What do you think makes you a strong qualifier?
“I think it’s a good understanding of the race track – a comfort level here – and then great race cars, you know? You can’t do any of this without a great team and great equipment – cars – and so our team’s done a really good job over the years, especially here the last couple years of just being prepared when we show up at the race track to qualify – being prepared to qualify well and having a good game plan. Today was definitely not ideal as far as only make three laps of practice. I’d say the car was close, but not where we needed to be to go for the pole, so hopefully we’ll make the right adjustments here and get after them this afternoon.”
How has Catwalk for a Cause grown over the years and what do you expect in a few weeks?
“Well, I expect it to be another great event. We’ve been very busy – everybody’s been busy preparing for it and getting things together. We had all the drivers and the kids together last week at Rescue Ranch. We were painting and planting plants just to break the ice, let everybody get to know each other and make everybody comfortable with each other, so that was good. It was a fun little night and everybody had a good time and looking forward to it. It’s become such a big event over the years. It’s amazing just to think how it started and where it is now, so we’ve got some exciting things happening and, yeah, it’s going to be big, so everybody is kind of – this is the last two weeks preparing and everybody is a little nervous and things are coming together quickly, but everybody’s done a great job, all of our sponsors, everybody that works for the foundation has done a great job and looking forward to hopefully raising a lot of money for the kids.”