Ryan Truex Jr. - Friday media visit

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MARTIN TRUEX JR., No. 56 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing

Why do you think this track tends to produce a fuel mileage race? “It just depends on how the race is shaping up. A lot of the 1.5-mile, especially here at California, it seems like here and Michigan are two of the biggest fuel mileage races and I’m not sure why that is. I don’t know if it’s because it’s a two-mile track or what. I would say 90 percent of the time here, we’re going to be waiting on fuel. This is one of those places where you have to fill it. You only get in a green flag run 40 laps or so -- it’s very short. You just can’t afford to not wait. If you have a green flag stop with 20 to go, of course you’re going to put tires on and go. If it’s early in the race, most guys I would think would fill it up no matter what -- caution or green flag, either way. Unless their strategy or window was a little different, if they knew they had to stop three more times no matter what. The 20 laps or 15 laps wasn’t going to hurt them. They would probably do that. For the most part, I think we’d be waiting on gas. It’s no fun, especially when you see cars going by you and you’re like, ‘Come on. I just want to go.’ But you can’t. The easiest place to pass cars is on pit road. That’s it -- period. It’s a lot easier than passing them on the race track. When you see guys going by and you’re waiting on gas, you’re not a happy camper.”

What are your thoughts on NASCAR reducing the size of the restrictor plate at Talladega? “I think that is roughly 20-some horsepower so it’s a pretty big deal. I think they understand that we’re smarter going to Talladega this year than we were last year. Our cars are going to be able to push longer, everybody is going to have worked on that. After what we saw at Daytona, we could have done that at Talladega last year. You’d see guys get the two car draft going at Talladega, but they’d get way out front, they’d get too hot and then they’d break apart and next thing you know the field was swallowing them. They didn’t realize you could just swap, get back to the guy and take off again. I think the reason they made the plate smaller was they realized we’re going to run faster this time, even with the same package we had there, we would run faster because we can stay hooked up longer. They have to slow it down. That’s why they did it, obviously. I believe the race will be much different than it was last fall, it’ll be more like the Daytona race -- the two car draft. Lots of little two car packs, not so much four or five wide, big pack like we used to see. Even last fall, we saw the big pack but there would be two guys that would hook up and take off and leave and then they’d get split up and come back. It’ll be more like Daytona this time. The plate would be necessary to keep us under that magic number.”

What is your role in the development of your brother Ryan Truex racing? “I’m just trying to be there for him (Ryan Truex) to lean on if he needs me. I don’t tell him how to do things. I try to just stay off to the side and if he has questions or needs someone to chew his ear, than I’m there for him. It’s also never a bad thing to pay attention to what others are doing to learn yourself. It’s cool to be a part of that team. Not so much be the driver, but listen to how they do things and maybe learn something here or there. For him, it’s more trying to help him out and speed up his learning curve. We all understand how important it is to make a good impression fairly early and he’s had a little bit of a difficult time this season with his new team getting results. It’s been a little difficult on him, but he’s a good little driver and he’s working hard and I think he’s going to do just fine.”

Is it time for drivers to panic, like Jeff Burton and Greg Biffle, if they are pretty far back in the point standings? “It just depends. They know more than anyone how their cars are running. How their team is doing, and whether they should panic or not. Both of those guys have been around long enough to understand what it takes to run up front and what it takes to overcome four bad weeks. I think in 26 races it’s going to look a lot different. Obviously, we talked about it last week. Those guys know more than anybody inside of their teams how things are going and what their problems really are. Is it just bad luck? Are we running well enough to overcome it? So, they understand all that. It’s hard to look in from outside another team and say, ‘Well, they haven’t run very well.’ It’s easy to look at finishes and say that’s a bad start. But, based on their feelings about how they run and how their team is working it could be a decent start just with bad results.”

Do you believe luck has played a part in where you are at this point in the season? “Bad luck is a tough thing. I’ve had my share of it the last two years -- two- and-a-half (years). Last year is a perfect example. People say you make your own luck -- you do somewhat. But, there are times when there is nothing you can do about it. We had a flat tire last week at Bristol. Which was bad luck, but the caution came out -- so it kind of saved us. Nobody ever really knew we even had a flat tire. So, there are times like Homestead -- we had a flat tire and we had to pit under green and we lost two laps. It took us out of a chance of winning the race. So, we were in the same position, the same circumstances, but at Bristol, nobody even knew we had a flat cause we got a caution. And at Homestead we lost two laps and we didn’t have a shot at winning the race. Luck plays a big part in what we do. I’ve said it before, it takes a million things to go right to win of these races. It only takes one to go wrong -- a flat tire, the caution coming at the wrong time, a debris caution after you pit under green -- things like that. There are some things where it doesn’t matter what you do, you can’t change them -- and that’s luck. And it’s tough to deal with. Especially when you’ve had a good day and your team’s done everything right. Last year, it seemed like for three or four months, every time we had a good car and we were very competitive and had a shot at running up front something like that would happen. And when we didn’t run good, we just didn’t run good and nothing bad happened. So, luck is tough. But again it goes back to what we talked about with the bad start. You have to just forget about last week, move forward, try to do the best you can with what you have and you know when your team is doing good and when they’re not. You know if you’re finishing 20th but you’re really a top-five team but because of bad luck you’re finishing 20th. A lot of that plays into your mind set and you just have to forget about all those bad things and push forward and work on the things you can control.”

-source: toyota motorsports

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Series NASCAR-CUP
Tags toyota, nascar, sprint cup, fontana, truex jr

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