Daytona 500: Martin Truex Jr media visit

MARTINTRUEX JR., NO. 1 BASS PRO SHOPS / TRACKER BOATS IMPALA SS met with media to discuss how his newChevy race car is handling, drafting, track conditions, being wronged by other drivers, and more. ARE THE CARS TOO FAST? "I don't necessarily...

MARTINTRUEX JR., NO. 1 BASS PRO SHOPS / TRACKER BOATS IMPALA SS met with media to discuss how his newChevy race car is handling, drafting, track conditions, being wronged by other drivers, and more.

ARE THE CARS TOO FAST?

"I don't necessarily think they are too fast. I don't think they handle as good as everyone thought they would. I think that's only going to get worse as the week goes on. But I was pretty happy with my car, so I wasn't doing too much complaining."

IF NASCAR MADE A CHANGE TO THE RESTRICTOR PLATE, WOULD YOU BE AGAINST IT?

"I don't think the restrictor plate is the problem. I think that they way the cars are set up with the bump stops is the big issue. So maybe if we could do something to allow a little bit more travel in the front, that would be the biggest help for everybody."

WHAT WOULD THAT ALLOW YOU TO DO?

"Well, the problem is we only get two and a half, or two inches of shock travel right now and the car wants to hit the bump stops so hard. It needs to be able to travel a little bit more so that when it goes through those giant bumps down in the corners, it doesn't slam on those bump stops so hard. So if we could do something to allow the car a little bit more travel so that it isn't so rigid all the time, I think it would help. A lot of guys are running really soft springs and it's just making them hit the bump stops real hard with a lot of force and it's making the cars bounce off the ground. It's kind of hard to get around doing that. To be able to go fast you need to have these cars low and on the ground, but then they're slamming on the bump stops. So it's a touchy situation and it's real hard to get them just right."

IS THERE ANY PARTICULAR TROUBLE AREA?

"Both corners. All the way through both of them. It's real bumpy here. Its old and worn out and the bumps here are big and we're going real fast. Both corners are a pretty big problem for everybody, it seems like."

DRIVERS USUALLY REMEMBER WHEN THEY'VE BEEN DONE WRONG. HOW LONG OF A GAP DID IT EVER GO FOR YOU WHEN YOU FELT LIKE YOU WERE WRONGED BY SOMEBODY BEFORE YOU GOT EVEN? WEEKS, MONTHS, OR A YEAR?

"I've never gotten myself into a situation like that before. I've never had trouble with certain people over and over like some of these guys have."

NOT JUST AT THE SPRINT CUP LEVEL, BUT ANY LEVEL IN YOUR CAREER

"I've never gotten even, I don't think. I may have done things differently or raced guys differently because they did to me, but a guy hasn't ever rubbed me wrong and I went out and wrecked him six months later. I don't really think it works that way. I know you don't forget the guys or how they race you; I know you don't forget that. You might not cut them as much slack, but you're surely not going to go out there and just potentially wreck somebody because they did it to you a year ago."

IF NASCAR DOESN'T PENALIZE (KURT BUSCH / TONY STEWART INCIDENT DURING BUDWEISER SHOOTOUT PRACTICE), WILL YOU BE SURPRISED?

"Not really. It was a practice incident. It shouldn't have happened, but it did. It's water under the bridge. Maybe they'll just tell the guys they'd better not do it again. I just hope that they don't do it in the race or on the track in real situations."

WERE YOU SURPRISED AT HOW INTENSE THAT SECOND PRACTICE SESSION WAS?

"I was real surprised. Everybody was out there trying to figure out what their cars were going to do in situations that are going to happen during the race. The old car you could put in a lot of different situations. You could get away with a lot because it handled so good. I think a lot of guys think they can do the same thing with these cars and so far, you can't do that. Getting in the middle with three wide is a bad situation and I know it's going to happen in the race. A lot of people are going to try it. And you're going to get put in that position when you don't want to be and it's going to be hard to get out of. It's going to make for a very exciting race, that's for sure, and one that it's going to be important to be around at the end. And it's probably going to be hard to be around at the end with the way the practice looked last night."

ON THE DIFFERENT LEVEL OF RESPECT HE'S RECEIVED ON THE TRACK

"Just little things. As far as people giving you slack. People making decisions that aren't going to mess you up. If you're racing hard and a guy sees that you're faster, they'll let you go. A lot of times, with a newer guy they'll say, ah, in two or three laps he's going to mess up or he's going to do something stupid so I'll just drive away from him. I'm not going to let him go. Little things like that. Little things like just walking around the garage and having a conversation with one of the veterans about your car or about how he thinks things are going or what you think about the track and the car and the tires and stuff and them actually having a genuine conversation with you, I think."

DO YOU HAVE A SENSE THAT WHEN YOU UPSET SOMEBODY THEY START DRIVING YOU A LITTLE DIFFERENTLY?

'Yeah, usually it's just a little hand gesture out the window or a look they give you in the garage. You can tell. Hand gestures out the window are a lot more common than people think. I've been known to give a few, and I've taken a few also."

ARE YOU PUT IN A SITUATION WHERE YOU HAVE TO RACE WITH SOMEBODY THAT YOU JUST DON'T TRUST?

"Yeah, at here you never know who you're going to be around. You can go from first to 25th or 30th in one lap. You know how that racing goes here. You just never know where you're going to end up. It's a constant revolving door of cars and people moving throughout the field. There is no telling who you're going to be around or in front of or next to. You could be put in any situation under the sun, pretty much."

IS THERE A TIME WHEN YOU HAVE TO DRAFT WITH SOMEBODY THAT YOU'D RATHER AVOID?

"Yeah, most likely. Especially here when it's three-wide and there's not really anywhere to go a lot of times. And you'll end up behind somebody you don't really want to be around and there's really nothing you can do about it."

WHAT KIND OF MODE DO YOU CLICK INTO ON THE TRACK?

"When the helmet goes on, everything changes. That's for sure. There is no more Mr. Nice Guy. You do what it takes to win. You do what it takes to be fast. You're focused 100 percent on that car and communicating with your crew how to make it better. Nothing else goes through your mind."

DO YOU RECOGNIZE THAT YOU CHANGE WHEN YOU'RE IN THE CAR AND IN THAT SITUATION?

"No, but other people do (laughs)."

WHAT, ON THE RADIO?

"Just people in general -- people on the crew and people on the team. People that are listening or watching."

SOMETIMES YOU SEE A GUY WHO CHANGES WHEN HE'S DOING HIS JOB

"Well it takes a lot to do what we do inside the car. Everybody in this garage area has a different personality. But when we get behind the wheel, we're all the same. We're all after one thing. We do whatever we can to win races and run up front and do the best job we can possibly do. And I think that's the norm across the garage area."

-credit: gm racing

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Martin Truex Jr.