Atlanta: Truex Jr - Friday media visit

MARTIN TRUEX JR., NO. 1 BASS PRO SHOPS/TRACKER BOATS IMPALA SS met with media to discuss racing at Atlanta with the new car, the penalties handed down by NASCAR to the No. 99 team, current safety issues, and more. HOW TOUGH IS IT TO KEEP A ...

MARTIN TRUEX JR., NO. 1 BASS PRO SHOPS/TRACKER BOATS IMPALA SS met with media to discuss racing at Atlanta with the new car, the penalties handed down by NASCAR to the No. 99 team, current safety issues, and more.

HOW TOUGH IS IT TO KEEP A POSITIVE ATTITUDE THIS YEAR?

"It hasn't been bad. We've been somewhat happy with the way we've run. Last week in Vegas I felt like we should have been in the top 10. We made some poor decisions on our race car throughout the race and lost some spots, but overall it was a pretty good run for us there. We've always struggled there with those tires and that track. So, to come out of there with a top 15, I was pretty happy with that. At California I was pretty happy with my car. At Daytona we kind of just were in the middle of everything. So with all the circumstances and the way they played out, we're pretty happy with where we're sitting and how things have gone. It certainly started off a lot better than last year did, so that's promising.

"And we're just working our way through this car at tracks we haven't been to. Here, we were really, really happy with our test last year in our Impala and we came back here with a different tire and it's completely different. I never thought we would go this slow at Atlanta and the cars feel this bad on brand new tires. Usually you go out here on new tires and you feel like Superman and they get worse and worse as you run. You make your money on the long runs, but right now, you go out there on new ones and they don't even feel good. So it's kind of something different. They're just throwing curve balls at us all over the place."

ON GOING TO BRISTOL NEXT WEEK, ONE YEAR AFTER THE CAR OF TOMORROW DEBUT, IS ANYTHING SURPRISING ABOUT THE CAR?

"These things surprise you all the time. Every time we go to the race track there is something surprising about them, something we learned about them that we didn't know. It's just that they are really, really difficult to get right. They're hard to drive even when they're close you know. They definitely make us earn our pay, I can tell you that."

WILL IT BE NICE GOING BACK TO A PLACE WHERE YOU'VE RUN THEM BEFORE?

"Yeah, but I'm sure it'll be different. They'll bring a different tire or something. They don't keep much the same anymore. But yeah, I look forward to it. We ran good there last year at Bristol. The track is a huge improvement over the old track, so it should be even better this year. It's going to be a lot of fun."

YOU'RE GOING TO BE RUNNING THE NATIONWIDE CAR THERE FOR JUNIOR. IT'S LIKE GOING FULL CIRCLE

"Yeah, everybody said that last week was his first win as an owner with the Nationwide car, but that's not true. He owned the car I drove when I won it and he won in it too when he drove it. So, it's not his first win as an owner. But it was cool to see him win. We were just kind of joking around on the Internet one night and he said he had to run a handful of Nationwide races and he said he really didn't want to run that many and I said, heck I'd run one or two of them for him. So we worked on it and I asked Max (Siegel) and they were real cool about it so I've got to thank them. So it'll be fun. It's something to do on Saturday night."

BECAUSE OF YOUR PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP WITH JUNIOR, IT PROBABLY WASN'T THAT WEIRD TO THINK ABOUT, RIGHT?

"Yeah, I had to ask permission obviously and I appreciate the way they went about it, but they don't really understand that me and Junior just want to go have some fun. We're just buddies who like to hang out. It's a little different not having him as a teammate anymore but I'm just ready to go back and race with him a little bit. It'll be fun to do that and just hang out. Hopefully he'll be on the radio like the old times yelling at me and I'll be yelling right back at him (laughs)."

ON THE PENALTIES HANDED TO THE NO. 99 TEAM OF CARL EDWARDS BY NASCAR

"I think it was the right thing to do. NASCAR has been pretty straightforward about these cars. They don't want you to mess with them, period. If you mess with them you're going to get in trouble. You're going to get a fine; you're going to lose points and all that. So, he still won the race and they'll be fine."

ON JEFF GORDON'S HARD HIT AT LAS VEGAS AND THE SAFETY ISSUES SURROUNDING THAT

"What he said was right. When Jeff Fuller hit at Kentucky last year, when he hit the opening in the wall, there should have been a fix then. There is no reason to have the walls like that. And it's not going to cost them much to just change them around the way they're set up. They can still have a way in and out of the infield; just make them so you can't hit them straight on like that. It's pretty dangerous."

IS GRASS A SAFETY ISSUE?

"Well you need someplace to do donuts when you win, so you need some grass. I don't know how much. Probably the less amount of grass, the better."

-credit: gm racing

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Series NASCAR-CUP