Toyota Racing – Martin Truex Jr.
Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS)
Kansas Speedway – May 11, 2018
Furniture Row Racing driver Martin Truex Jr. was made available to the media at Kansas Speedway:
MARTIN TRUEX JR., No. 78 5-hour ENERGY/Bass Pro Shops Toyota Camry, Furniture Row Racing
What do you enjoy about racing at Kansas Speedway?
“I am excited to be here. Obviously last year, winning both races was really cool for our team. This track for whatever reason has been one that we’ve been really successful at over the years. Not sure why, but it seems like I am comfortable here and I like the track. And for whatever reason, the way I like to drive my car around it usually produces some speed. So far, today has been a little hectic because of the schedule and missing a lot of practice time. I feel like we have a good idea of where we want to be and I am looking forward to the rest of the weekend.”
What do the drivers feel about the potential sale of NASCAR?
“I don’t know. We’ll have to see going forward. I don’t know if we’re 100 percent sure there is any truth to it. I think there are a lot of questions. Everyone has a lot of questions. I think the people who are thinking about the doom and gloom, and racing coming to an end is just nonsense. There is a real opportunity that if it does happen for some good things to happen. We’ll just have to see where it goes but I’m not too worried about it. We have to find out if there is even any truth to it and get more details. It’s hard to give much of an opinion when we really don’t know much of what’s going on.”
What types of good things could happen going forward?
“There are some things that are done that have always been done that way that maybe we can look at. Those are things we can talk about away from the race track. There’s definitely some opportunities for some things to change to help the sport, help the teams, help the drivers and help in general for everyone to be more be more healthy.”
How important do you think diversity is for the future of the sport?
“I think it’s important for anything but if you look at our sport and the people who are involved in it, the opportunities are there for anyone. If you’re good at what you do, it doesn’t matter who you are, what color you are or if you’re a man or a woman, there are opportunities in NASCAR. And you see across the board that is a fact. I don’t even know if it’s a whole lot worth talking about as far as that goes.”
Is there a different feeling coming back to Kansas having swept the races here last year?
“I don’t think you ever forget the ones that got away. No matter what. We won both races here last year and I still remember those other ones that got away just as much. When you think about it, you’re still like, man, I’d like to have those. It’s hard to make up for lost time.”
How do you view Matt Kenseth coming back to the sport as it relates to young drivers?
“In that particular situation, I think that is what happened. I guess they feel like they weren’t making any progress with what they were doing. So this was a good opportunity for that particular team to get Matt in there to see what he thinks about things and see where they can go with some experience. I don’t know. I think everyone has their own opinions and makes decisions to try to better their program in whatever way they think is the best approach for them. There’s so many circumstances around this sport and drivers and getting in situations. This I think was an opportunity to try something and see how it works out to make some progress.”
Why do you think the veteran drivers have dominated this season?
“I think there is a lot of reasons. Experienced teams and experience behind the wheel. These cars aren’t driving very good. They change throughout the weekend quite a bit. Times when you need to really think about experience. In what ways is this track going to go? These cars are so sensitive to weather changes and pace changes and things like that. I think having that experience and not freaking out saying ok, you know, I have to be tight in this practice to be good in the race or I have to be loose here to be good in the race. That’s the experience that’s hard to get. It’s hard to have that confidence when maybe you practice when you’re two or three tenths off because you’re fighting off a nail-handling car but if you try to fix it now, it’s going to hurt you later. Those are kind of times when experience really plays in your hands. I think also just the more experience teams have more experienced drivers as well. Guys that are together over a period of time. Building that history. Building that is something that we build week in and week out. It’s hard to go to tracks for the first time or second time not only as a driver but as a team and be really successful. I feel like you get better when you go back the third time or the fourth time or even fifth time. So gaining that history together is a part of the experience as well.”
Has over-engineering these cars taken competitive nature out of the sport?
“I don’t know if you can say that. I feel like it’s more competitive than it’s ever been. If you look at the size of the box we have to work in, it’s tiny. There’s not a lot we can do. I don’t know if they’re over-engineered as much as they are over-enforced rules. I get frustrated when on Wednesday, we get all these stories this guy was illegal, that guy was illegal. And from the fans point of view, they think everyone is cheating and this is ridiculous, and I don’t want to watch racing because these guys are frauds is what a lot of these fans are thinking. And you look at some of the inspection issues and I’ve seen things that happened this week and I think that’s not why that guy ran third or why that guy ran second. Let’s have some common sense in the way we enforce some of these things. And then Wednesday inspection, you take four cars. If you took the whole field, 38 of them might have failed this particular week. Where you had so many that didn’t pass. It’s a frustrating thing. It’s hard to place blame on anyone. I know NASCAR is in a tough spot. They want to make the playing field level. They want everyone to feel like that everyone has the same thing out on the race track and it’s coming down to the best driver. There is just so much to it and it’s so complicated. But it is frustrating to hear about penalty after penalty from the driver point of view.”
How much has Jim Watson been on your mind coming back to Kansas?
“He is always going to be a part of our team. One of his racing decals is still on the hauler. It will be there until I guess our team quits racing. He’s always a part of our team. I don’t know if I thought about it more just because we’re here. But we always think about him for sure.”
Give me your sales pitch if you’re trying to get fans for Most Popular Driver?
“I don’t have one. If you like me fine, if you don’t, I could care less. It would mean a lot if I won but I don’t want to give a sales pitch to try to convince anyone. I am who I am. I feel like I try do things the right way and if you don’t like, that’s okay, too. Everyone has an opinion.”