Toyota MENCS Martinsville Martin Truex Jr. Quotes

Toyota Racing – Martin Truex Jr.
Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS)
Martinsville Speedway – March 24, 2018

Furniture Row Racing driver Martin Truex Jr. was made available to the media at Martinsville Speedway:

MARTIN TRUEX JR., No. 78 5-hour ENERGY/Bass Pro Shops Toyota Camry, Furniture Row Racing
Can you talk about the importance of starting up front and getting the first pit stall?
“Absolutely, Martinsville it’s definitely a big advantage to start out front. First pit box obviously, everyone knows it’s a big deal here and that’s where you want to be so you get that clean stall in and out and not get torn up on pit road. Happy about that and happy about the 5-hour/Bass Pro Camry and the guys put a heck of a setup in there for round three of qualifying. I saw a few of you look at me like, ‘hey, what did I miss?”

How important would it be to get a win at a track like Martinsville?
“I think even early in my career, even this track in particular has been a tough one. Over the years, just trying to figure it out, the nuances of it and trying to figure out that feel that you’re looking for. I think here more than anywhere we go, it doesn’t change over time, but it changes throughout a weekend more than anywhere we go. It’s definitely a unique place and we’re definitely getting closer I feel like. Obviously we ran really well here really both races here last year, but mostly in the fall we had a good run and ran consistently up front all day. It would be a huge one obviously. I want to win at any short track at this point in time and we’ve been really good on the short tracks lately. This one, still not quite where we want to be and still feel like we’re figuring it out. Hopefully this is the weekend, we had a good day of practice today, but the thing about here is you have to be careful because you can be fastest in practice all day long and it doesn’t matter come Sunday it’s going to be different. Hopefully we can make the right adjustments and have a good car in the race, especially the second half of the race.”

How tough is it to manage the changes during a race here at Martinsville?
“It’s real difficult. I think as any other short track, the better your car is, the easier it is to deal with and the happier you are generally as long as somebody doesn’t slam into you too much and piss you off. It’s really fun to race here, it’s a lot of fun and it’s a great race track – beating and banging is awesome as long as you’re using the right side of your car and not the left side getting destroyed because you’re slow. You want to be on offense, you want to be fast and like I said, so far this weekend we’ve done that and hopefully we can continue it.”

What is your spotter like to work with?
“He’s (Clayton Hughes) a lot of fun to be around and he’s a great guy. He actually works for the team – he runs the shop in North Carolina and handles a lot of deliveries of parts and pieces and takes care of taking things to the R&D Center and basically runs the east coast Furniture Row operations. Great guy, great teammate and having him spotting over the years have been interesting. He’s a lot of fun to be around and more than anything, he keeps it low stress. He loves what he’s doing and for the most part he keeps pretty calm and for the most part, I’m pretty nice to him usually on the radio. We do have fun and it’s awesome to work with him.”

How excited was Clayton to announce you as stage winner in California?
“I’m pretty sure he was more excited than I was and that’s what you usually look for in your spotter. Those famous words of his, stage winner. He got pretty into that last year and he was definitely feeling lost the first four or five races this year not saying it. I hope he gets to say it here and have some fun with it.”

Would you have liked to try to actually qualify to get a third consecutive pole?
“I would have liked to get three in a row and no doubt about it, I thought we had a shot at it. I’ve qualified well here in the past. I would say qualifying has probably been our strongest thing we’ve done here in average. I would have liked to try for sure, but that’s the way it goes. You can’t change the weather. I was actually really happy to get both practices in because earlier today it looked really bad and I think even after the first practice, before the second we were like, this doesn’t look too good. It was nice to get that time on the track and let everybody get their full amount of practice in and hopefully get ready for Sunday.”

Is the end to last year’s Martinsville fall race expected?
“I don’t know, I think it depends on who’s behind you whether you anticipate it or not. If I was leading the race, I wouldn’t anticipate it because I’ve never done it to anyone. Some of that comes into play depending on who you’re racing and would somebody do it to you back. I’m sure all those things come to mind. I guess for me, I wouldn’t expect it. Others might and others probably figure if they get in that position and they’re second then they’ll do whatever it takes. It depends on who’s out there.”

Do you feel a 13-year old could be ready to race in Late Models?
“I don’t know that anybody, I guess it’s a tough line to draw. I’m sure there are some kids that are ready for it and obviously we’ve seen kids at 13, 14 or 15 be successful at short track racing, Late Models or whatever, you name it. I would say that there is nobody that should say you can’t do it. I guess the hard part is what happens when somebody is thrown in there that really can’t do it or he thinks he can or parents think you can. For me at 13, I would say I probably could have driven a full size car, obviously it was illegal and I wasn’t allowed to in New Jersey, I had to be 18. I lost quite a few years in racing because of that, but I think I was mature enough and knew enough about racing so I guess it’s more about the individual than it is a generalization. I can’t imagine what I could have learned from the time I was 14 until I was 18 – you’re talking about four years of racing, that’s a lot of races, a lot to learn and a lot of divisions to get up through as well. Crazy man, how much has changed over the years.”

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SpeedwayMedia.com

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