Toyota Racing – Martin Truex Jr.
NASCAR Cup Series Quotes
TALLADEGA, Ala. (September 28, 2021) – Joe Gibbs Racing driver Martin Truex Jr. was made available to media prior to the Talladega race weekend today:
MARTIN TRUEX JR., No. 19 Bass Pro Shops Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
When drafting in Talladega, do you consider who is in the Playoffs and who is not?
“That’s a good question. I don’t know. I think honestly at the end of the day, you hope you are running at the finish and you are going to do whatever is best for you, so I don’t know if you are going to make a move necessarily on who’s around you if they are in the Playoffs or not, you are going to do whatever is in your best interest to get you the best result you can get.”
How does the ROVAL compared to other road courses built in the infield of racetracks?
“I think the biggest challenge with the ROVAL is that you have to somewhat setup your car to run on the oval, especially turns three and four of the oval. It kind of keeps you from setting up the car the way you want to for the infield, so it just makes it a big challenge. That’s the biggest thing. It always seems like the infield there is pretty bumpy. It’s pretty narrow. There is a lot of undulations up and down. The car’s never in the racetrack very good because the tires are hard for the oval. It’s just a big compromise. I think that’s the biggest thing. Really hard to get your car working right and it’s a real challenge to get around there.”
What is your relationship with Talladega?
“It’s not been very good lately. We’ve kind of been in bad relationship these last couple of years. I don’t know. I enjoy going there. I enjoy racing there. It just been a real challenge to get to the finish, so hopefully, this time around we will have a little bit better luck. Just been caught up in a lot of accidents. Nowhere to hide there. It’s just not been that good to us. We haven’t finished a speedway race this year, so I guess the odds are in our favor to finish this one, hopefully. We need it. We need a good finish, so hopefully we will get it done.”
Does your calm demeanor help you at Talladega and in the Playoffs?
“I think it has definitely benefitted me over the years to kind of stay out of trouble and just focus on my own deal and focus with our team together. There’s a lot of things to think about and worry about that you don’t need to really get caught up in everybody’s business, so I guess, yeah, I think we’ve done a pretty good job at that. Just doing our own deal, and not paying attention to others. At the end of the day, the Playoffs are tough, and we have a strong team, so hopefully, we can continue to get strong finishes and so far, we have been really consistent in the Playoffs, and hopefully we can continue that. Talladega is certainly a big question mark, but I think if we can come out of there with a solid day, we will be in pretty good shape heading to the ROVAL.”
What did you learn from the new package at Daytona that you can use at Talladega?
“Really the only difference was the runs weren’t quite as dramatic. The closing rate wasn’t quite as dramatic as it has been in the past. Speeds are down just slightly, and I think that all your moves are just a little more critical. It’s a little bit more difficult to get runs, and a little more difficult to finish runs. We will see what we have. I felt pretty good about our car at Daytona speed wise. I thought we had good speed. We were in pretty good shape until we got caught up. It’s not really that drastically different than we were before.”
Is all of the inspection failures part of strategy or luck of the draw?
“Definitely luck of the draw. We definitely don’t ever plan on those things happening. It’s just one of those things that happens. The other day I talked to James (Small, crew chief) and he said they were all clear through the first time and they were letting the car down and something popped through on the scan about the spoiler, so they went around to fix that and then the right rear tow was off by just the slightest margin. Just kind of luck of the draw, sometimes it just works out that way. It seems like if you have an issue the first time through, you have a second issue the second time through. We definitely don’t plan on that happening. Your number just pops up sometimes.”
What is your confidence level going into Talladega?
“I wouldn’t say I’m 100% confident that we will go there and finish the race. I think if you say that, you are guessing, but I’m confident in our team and what we can do. Been able to win there in Xfinity, not in Cup obviously, so hopefully we can get our first win. We go to the racetrack to win. It doesn’t matter what the track is. I think that is just the way it is. I’m looking forward to it. Hopefully, we can have a good run.”
If you could change the Playoff schedule, would you remove Talladega?
“There’s no chance that I’ll ever get to make the schedule or say where we will go, so it’s not really worth talking about but I don’t know. It is what it is. It’s on the schedule. We are going there this weekend and we’ve got to do a good job.”
What are you doing right in the Playoffs so far?
“Executing. We’ve been consistent. We’ve had fast racecars, so everything really. At the end of the day, it’s all about where you finish. We’ve had some good runs. Winning Richmond was good. Pit crew has been on it, so just overall, we’ve been well-rounded, and we’ve had good speed so hopefully, we can continue to do that.”
What has led to the turnaround in the results?
“I think that it’s just good planning, good execution. We all understand when the Playoffs start you’ve got to put all of your best stuff together. I think that’s just what James (Small, crew chief) and the guys were able to do. We learned a lot throughout the summer – things we were good at and things we needed to work on. Overall, we felt like we had good racecars, good speed. We just weren’t doing all of the little things right. You can’t speed on pit road and do things like that. Just try to clean everything up and be consistent is what we’ve been able to do.”
With your points advantage, how do you balance going for stage points while not getting in an accident?
“That’s the difficult thing. You never really know where the right place to be. A lot of it depends on how the race goes. We sit pit strategies come into play so much now at the speedways with the manufacturers getting together, pitting together and trying to get off sequence and kind of get in a line by themselves. A lot of it is just going to be how strategy works out. Hopefully, we have enough speed that we can stay up towards the front of the pack. That’s the safest place to be usually. We will see if we can do that and work together with our Toyota teammates. One of the biggest challenges for us has been lack of numbers. We have the least amount of cars of all of the manufacturers. Sometimes it makes it tough, but sometimes it’s an advantage. We just have to see how it all plays out and just make the right decisions and stay near the front if we can do it.”
How much does your prep with your spotter change for this race?
“The communication with the spotter is definitely the most important at the speedways. 550 tracks have kind of migrated that way as well, but still not as important as Talladega and Daytona. Talladega is always a challenge because it’s typically always three-wide and sometimes four, so there is just a lot of information that your spotter is giving you to just give you the best picture of what is going on around you because you can’t see. You can only see maybe one or two cars behind you, so it’s hard to know what’s going on without those guys telling you.”
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