No. 56 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota driver Martin Truex Jr. turns 31 on Wednesday and would like nothing better than to celebrate his birthday in victory lane Saturday night at Daytona International Speedway. The Michael Waltrip Racing driver has plenty of reason for optimism. He led 17 laps in February’s Daytona 500 - the fourth most of all drivers. His strategy for Saturday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup race is simple: be there at the end to have a chance to contend.

Martin Truex Jr.,Michael Waltrip Racing  NAPA Auto Parts Toyota
Martin Truex Jr.,Michael Waltrip Racing NAPA Auto Parts Toyota

Photo by: Bob Heathcote

MARTIN TRUEX JR. ON RETURNING TO DAYTONA: “We saw some craziness at Infineon last week and I expect some more craziness at Daytona. You are pretty much blindfolded and going 200 mph. It will be pretty intense at the end. I think our superspeedway program is really good. We had strong runs in both the Daytona 500 and at Talladega. I’ve got two good teammates in David Reutimann and (JTG-Daugherty’s) Bobby Labonte to work with. David and I were leading at Talladega with four or five laps to go, but just got the lead a little too soon. I think our chances this time are just as good. It’s going to be a little bit different on Saturday with it being a night race. But the strategy will be the same — just be there at the end so you can race for the win.”

TRUEX ON DRAFTING PARTNERS: “I think everyone has a handful of drivers that they like to work with. I know there are guys out there that when I get to them or they get behind me, I can trust them. I think what we saw at Talladega is what we will see on Saturday and that is teams dictating their drivers to draft and stick together all day long. There’s a need to keep it all in the family. We’re formulating our team strategy right now.”

TRUEX ON TRACK CONDITIONS: “I don’t think it’s going to be any different than what we saw in February. The track is so new it has so much grip. We could’ve ran 40 miles an hour faster than we did in February and still not have to let off. It should have plenty of grip still and I assume for a couple of years it will be like that. The racing will be just like in February, but it will be under the lights. It will look cooler.”