CORNELIUS, N.C. — No. 56 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota driver Martin Truex Jr. is at Phoenix International Raceway this week testing the newly-reconfigured and repaved track. PIR changed the banking and the configuration to produce more side-by-side racing when the Sprint Cup Series returns to race on Nov. 13.
After Tuesday and Wednesday’s Phoenix test, the NAPA team takes off for Kansas Speedway for Sunday’s 400-mile race. Truex believes the 1.5-mile track is one of the toughest on the NASCAR circuit and he’ll be leaning on crew chief Chad Johnston to put the right combination together to ensure a strong run on Sunday.
Martin Truex Jr. on Testing at Phoenix: “We’ve run a few laps so far and it’s a real challenge. I’m glad we’ve got two days to focus on this place. It’s a slick track and I’m not expecting it to change much when we return next month. Right now we’re trying to find the right balance and I’m looking for more grip. What we’re experiencing is pretty typical when we visit a new place like this. I’m looking forward to the race and I hope we are able to put on the show that everyone is expecting.”
Racing a Second Time at Kansas: “Kansas is a difficult track to get a hold of. It reminds me a lot of Chicagoland Speedway in the layout and the way that it drives. Chad wasn’t my crew chief when we raced here June, so he’ll have the balance of the car and race strategy to focus on. He’s been doing a great job for me, so I look forward to working with him there. The thing about Kansas is a lot of those tar strips in the asphalt and between each lane, I think there are four or five of them, get slick when the sun comes out. The problem there is you have to cross over them when you get into and out of a corner. They create a big challenge. Kansas is just a hard place to get the balance of the car right and then have it drive decent across those strips. It’s a tricky place. It’s really changed a lot over the years. It’s lost a lot of its grip because of the harsh winters that are out there. I heard they might repave it, but honestly, I think it’s in good shape. It doesn’t need it.”