MARTIN TRUEX, JR., DRIVER OF THE NO. 1 BASS PRO SHOPS IMPALA SS, met with media members at Martinsville Speedway and talked about racing at Martinsville, returning to a 1.5-mile track and much more. ON HIS THOUGHTS ABOUT MARTINSVILLE THIS WEEK.
MARTIN TRUEX, JR., DRIVER OF THE NO. 1 BASS PRO SHOPS IMPALA SS, met with media members at Martinsville Speedway and talked about racing at Martinsville, returning to a 1.5-mile track and much more.
ON HIS THOUGHTS ABOUT MARTINSVILLE THIS WEEK. "Well I'm not sure. Martinsville has probably been my biggest struggle as far as race tracks we go to on the circuit. We always came here, we ran good in practice and qualifying, we set on the outside pole here last year. We just never seem to race well so we kind of changed our thoughts. We brought a different car than we ran here last year, trying some new stuff and so far it doesn't seem any better but it's not quite as good in qualifying trim. Hopefully come tomorrow afternoon and come Sunday it will be better. That's what we're banking on right now."
ON HIS THOUGHTS OF WHERE HE IS SO FAR THIS SEASON. "I'm pretty happy with where we're at. There are a couple of races we let some finishes slip away. With a problem on pit road at Atlanta, we went from running sixth or seventh to finishing 21st, that hurt. Last week at Bristol we made a bad pit call and lost a lap, had to fight all day to get it back and we finally got it back at the end and run 13th. We've been okay, we've not been great, not as good as we ended the year last year. Some of the 1.5-mile tracks we seem to be lacking just a little speed but at this point last year we were like 25th and we're 12th this year. So we started off a lot better, we just need to figure out some stuff and hit our stride and get to work."
ON HIS THOUGHTS ABOUT RETURNING TO A 1.5-MILE TRACK AFTER THE TIRES ISSUES AT ATLANTA. "I just hope they have a better tire. Something we can race better on, I think they will. Surely, they'll go back with something like we raced there last year, which will be good. But I'm looking forward to it. Texas has been a really good track to me. We've always been really consistent; we've always run in the top five, the top ten. Hopefully we can go there and do that again and maybe have a shot at winning one of these things. We haven't quite been a top-five car yet this year and it would be nice to go there and do that next weekend. We've been seventh, eighth place cars when we've been good. The guys are working hard trying to find that extra little bit and I'm doing the same. We just keep plugging at it."
ON HOW MUCH BETTER THE IMPALA SS IS AT TRACKS THAN IT WAS LAST YEAR: "It's hard to say. Bristol has been the only place that we've been with the new car that we've been last year so it's all been different. The 1.5-mile tracks are a lot different than what we ran these cars on last year. It's kind of hard to say. I think it's definitely got closer, it seems like the cars that were really good last year are still really good. The cars that weren't that good are a lot closer to them. It's tremendously close especially like Bristol last week and here at Martinsville the times and what people are running, it's unbelievable how much alike everybody is."
DALE JR. WAS TALKING ABOUT HIS EXPERIENCE LAST YEAR AND THOUGHT THAT YOU WOULD HAVE A SIMILAR EXPERIENCE THIS YEAR AS YOU DECIDE YOUR FUTURE. ARE YOU FURTHER ALONG IN THAT PROCESS? "I haven't looked down that road yet. I'm just focused on winning right now with my team and giving these guys everything I've got. I know they are working hard. We haven't performed the way we expected to so far, we've been okay. We've been pretty good at places but when we've been good it's been fifth, sixth, seventh-place cars so we got a little bit of work to do. We're just working hard, focused on making our stuff better, trying to win some races."
DO YOU FEEL COMPARATIVELY TO THE START OF LAST SEASON YOU'RE A LITTLE BIT OFF? "I feel a little bit off. Last year we started off slow in the finishes because we had a lot of tough luck but we were running really, really good. We went to Daytona and ran good, in the 500 we led laps. Went to California and ran like third until we blew up. We were really fast right out of the gate last year, this year not quite, we don't quite have that speed to run in the top-five yet so that's been a little frustrating. But at the same time, we're sitting a whole lot better in points. We've been a lot smarter throughout the races and our equipment has been better as far as staying together. We just need to go find some extra speed and get up there and race where we belong."
SPEAKING OF YOUR TEAMMATES, YOU HAVE NEW ONES, ARE THINGS DIFFERENT THIS YEAR? "Not really. It's not a whole lot different. I try to do the same thing every weekend and that's help whoever is around me who needs help. Do the best job I can, make my car run fast, try to win the race, try to get the best finishes across the board for the company. That's the same thing I've always done. I don't think it's really changed. I haven't really done anything different so I guess not really, no."
ARE YOU PROUD WHEN SOME ADVICE YOU GIVE YOUR YOUNGER TEAMMATES HELPS THEM? "I do. It's cool. It's fun. It's good when you tell them some things or you try to help them and they go out there and pick up two or three tenths and they come back and say thank you man that was awesome you know. That really feels good. It feels like you are doing something special, something extra that some guys don't. I've really enjoyed working with Aric (Almirola) and Regan (Smith). Paul (Menard) he doesn't really need much help, he's been doing this for a while and he's kind of got his own way of doing his thing, but Regan and Aric have really been a pleasure to work with especially at tests."
ON HOW WELL HE THINKS ARIC ALMIROLA WILL DO HERE AT MARTINSVILLE: "Well so far I don't feel he needs anything, he's faster than me. So, he'll be fine. If he's got any questions he knows I'm here to help. I think last week at Bristol I was able to help him a bunch with his set up and stuff like that. He went off and ran really good in the race so I'm sure he'll do the same this weekend."
YOU MADE MENTION BEFORE, ARE SETUPS CLOSE ON THE CARS COMPARED TO LAST YEAR? "I think it's a garage-wide thing. The race here, racing has always been a lot of trouble here. Since we went to these newer cars, you got to slow down more because they don't go through the corner as well so it's gotten worse over the years but I think a lot of guys have issues. Ours have been okay today, the second race last year we ran the whole race and had no problems."
HOW DO YOU THINK ARIC STACKS UP TO THE OTHER GUYS? "Well, he doesn't have a lot of experience but he's got a lot of talent. He can get the job done. He just needs a little bit of time. A perfect example is what he did last week at Bristol. I don't think he had ever raced there before and he goes there and finishes in the top 10. He's a good little race car driver, get some experience and gets working with that team every week he's going to do a really good job."
-credit: gm racing