Furniture Row Racing driver Martin Truex Jr. was made available to the media at Talladega Superspeedway:
MARTIN TRUEX JR., No. 78 Bass Pro Shops/TRACKER Boats Toyota Camry, Furniture Row Racing
How do you stay focused for 500 miles here at Talladega?
“For me, it’s real easy to stay focused when we come here. This is no doubt one of the toughest races there is just to stay mentally focused. It’s not a physically demanding race, but the mental side is pretty insane to be three or four wide all day long, especially if you decide you’re going to try to stay up front all day and try to race all day and not ever go to the back and try to be in a safe spot. It’s definitely difficult, but look forward to the challenge. Enjoy racing here and enjoy everything that goes along with it. Don’t always enjoy the results, but it’s a fun place and it’s a different and unique challenge to what we do every other week and we’re looking forward to having a good weekend.”
Do you feel you left points on the table at Charlotte and Kansas?
“We definitely did, we didn’t perform and we weren’t happy with the way things went obviously. We had some mechanical issues going on, but at the end of the day it’s not the way we wanted to perform, we weren’t happy with the results, but at the same time it could have been worse. With the issues we had last weekend not being able to get fuel into the car and then the tire rub we had could have been catastrophic. There was a point there where we almost blew a right rear tire twice. Luckily, that didn’t happen, but we could have easily finished 38th to 40th if you really want to look at it that way. We were able to salvage something. It wasn’t good by any means, but at least we’re still in the hunt here at Talladega.”
How do you balance the feeling of having a great season to now being on the bubble?
“It’s real easy, you just go race and see what happens. We’re going to make it or we’re not. There’s nothing I can do about it right now and there’s no real point worrying about it until Sunday. We’re going to go race and do the best we can do Worrying about it, thinking about scenarios and what you have to do, all these things – it doesn’t do anybody any good and I’m already getting enough grey hair. Try to keep it low key and just go race on Sunday and do the best job we can do and hopefully we can move on so we can take advantage of this great team we have, the great race cars we have and the season we’ve been able to put together. It would be a shame to lose it all here so hopefully we can just get it done and do the best job we can do no matter what.”
Have you gotten used to having up and down portions of a season?
“I don’t think you ever get used to it. I think you get better at dealing with it and moving forward and moving on. We really felt that Kansas and Charlotte were going to be two great races and they weren’t. Hopefully Talladega will be a great race because it typically hasn’t been. So that’s kind of our outlook is just sometimes you catch a break and sometimes you don’t, but we’re prepared to do the best job we can this weekend. The team brought a brand new race car and put a lot of effort in so hopefully it will pay off for us.”
How big of a race is tomorrow’s NCWTS race for your brother Ryan Truex?
“It’s definitely a big race, but every race for him is big at this point in his career obviously. I think the last two superspeedway races where he’s raced a truck, he’s finished well and they were both at Daytona. This will be the first time he will run a truck here and they hired a new crew chief, I call him my brother in-law even though he’s officially not, he’s Sherry’s brother in-law, but ‘Fuzz’ he went over there to work. He came from the K&N Series so they have a lot of exciting things going on at that team and I look forward to seeing some good results. They’re really working hard to get ready to put a good effort in for the last few races they have this season and get ready for next year. It’s definitely a good time for them and hopefully they’ll get a good result this weekend as well.”
What kind of race do you think we’ll see here Sunday?
“I agree that you never know what you’re going to get until the race starts. It does seem like the spring race is always more guys pushing, a lot more people willing to stay in that front in that really big pack and less people riding in the back trying to be safe. This race you never know. The scary part is that if it is a calm race then everybody is around at the end and everybody is panicking trying to get to the front in the last five or 10 laps, that’s usually when you have the really, really big wreck. We’ll just have to wait and see. For us, I think my approach really is that hopefully we’ll qualify in a decent position and get up towards the front early and be able to stay there. I think that’s your best opportunity. There’s no telling what can happen here, you just have to go race hard and hopefully a little luck is on your side and you can stay near the front. That’s the most important thing.”
What do you get out of practice at Talladega?
“It’s different for everyone I think. It depends on what you’ve been strong here at in the past or possibly things you’ve been working on to get better. For us, we’ve got a brand new car so working out minor details so far, getting the steering right, getting it to actually drive straight on the straightaways and getting the splitter contact and the levels all sorted out. It depends, I think it’s different for all different teams. Everybody always has something they come here to work on. I’ve been here before and ran literally three or four laps of practice and parked it because you kind of had what you had and it was the car from last time and you were happy with it. It just depends on what you have going on and I think it’s different for everyone.”
Are you in favor of this race moving back one weekend next season?
“I don’t think it matters, it’s still one of three. At the end of the day, the points are all the same. It definitely changes your mindset a little bit. You’ll know what you need to do in the third round, where this is really the wild card of the round so that’s a little bit different with just how you would approach it. But it’s one of three so at the end of the day it’s not going to change anything.”
Were you aware that your car has the 2017 rules applied as it relates to the floor boards?
“You can’t tell any difference unless you get under there and really look at it. Everything is fine from what I can see and obviously the weight is not a big deal here either. Hopefully we won’t have to test the safety features of that new panel, but glad to know it’s in there for sure.”
Are you aware when those types of changes are made and do you keep up with that side of things?
“I try to keep up with it – all the stuff, but sometimes it’s difficult. Cole’s (Pearn, crew chief) has been really good about filling me in and keeping me in the loop about things that are happening. It’s been cool to be a part of all that stuff.”
Why aren’t drivers more conservative here for this race?
“I just feel like your odds are better. The closer you are to the front, the better your odds are of getting through a wreck if it happens. Typically middle of the pack is where you don’t want to be, but we’ve seen guys get run over in the back. I think it was two years ago, Kyle Busch maybe four of five cars from the very back of the field and there was a wreck somewhere up towards the front, he slowed down, got run over from behind and got crashed. I don’t know, I don’t know what the right answer is to be honest with you. I haven’t had a lot of success here in Cup racing. I was three for three at one point in my career here in XFINITY, but it’s just been one of those places where it’s hard to figure out. I’ve been wrecked literally running second going for the lead side-by-side with the leader I’ve been crashed in the tri-oval. I’ve been crashed riding around in the back trying to stay out of trouble like Kyle had happen to him a few years ago and so I think there just comes a point where you just say, to heck with it and we’re just going to go race and hope for the best. Aside from that, what can you really do. I still really think the safest position to really be in is to be the leader. It’s really tough to lead a lot of laps here, it’s difficult to have a car strong enough to do what we’ve see the 2 (Brad Keselowski) car do here in the spring race, leading a ton of laps. I looked up at the TV monitor today sitting on pit road and he was still leading. He’s going to be strong, but that’s the place you want to be. You want to be the leader and I think that’s your best option, the more cars you can keep behind you, the better chance you have of staying out of a wreck.”
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