Talladega: Truex Jr Friday wake up call

MARTIN TRUEX JR., NO. 1 BASS PRO SHOPS/TRACKER MONTE CARLO SS WAS TODAY'S NASCAR NEXTEL CUP WAKE-UP CALL GUEST. HE TALKED WITH MEDIA ABOUT THE PIT CREW CHALLENGE, THE ALL-STAR CHALLENGE, AND HIS SEASON TO DATE DO YOU THINK YOUR TEAM HAS A SHOT...

MARTIN TRUEX JR., NO. 1 BASS PRO SHOPS/TRACKER MONTE CARLO SS WAS TODAY'S NASCAR NEXTEL CUP WAKE-UP CALL GUEST. HE TALKED WITH MEDIA ABOUT THE PIT CREW CHALLENGE, THE ALL-STAR CHALLENGE, AND HIS SEASON TO DATE

DO YOU THINK YOUR TEAM HAS A SHOT AT THE PIT CREW CHALLENGE THIS YEAR? YOUR TEAM WON LAST YEAR. "I think so. We've got a few guys from last year that won the championship. We've got a few new guys involved and I think they're better than they were last year. So I'm excited; I'm signed up to go there and cheer them on for once. It's kind of different, you know. You're able to stand outside the car for once and watch them do their pit stops and watch them work and see how they get into it. It'll be a lot of fun to go there and do that. It's a huge event for them; they really get pumped up for it. It's going to be exciting to be part of."

YOU'RE ALSO PART OF THE NEXTEL FAN VOTE FOR THE ALL-STAR CHALLENGE. ARE YOU LOBBYING FOR VOTES? "Well, not quite as much as Kenny Wallace. It's going to be tough to beat Kenny. He's got his 'Vote for Kenny' campaign going on SPEED. That's a little tough to compete against but we'll see what we can do. The fans have been awesome. We got in two years ago by the fan vote and it was really cool, a really neat deal. We'll just have to see how many fans we've got out there; I know there's a lot and I hope they're supporting us 100%."

HAS THE LIST OF DRIVERS OR TEAMS THAT YOU'VE WORKED WITH AT PLATE TRACKS CHANGED OVER THE YEARS? "Running in the Cup Series it's definitely changed. The more you run with those guys the more comfortable they get around you. Guys like Tony (Stewart) and Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson - people like that will start working with you a little more. That kind of takes time in the Cup Series but in the Busch Series it's kind of a constant revolving door of different drivers coming in and out and you just kind of work with whoever you can get together with and wherever your car works well with."

HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THIS WEEKEND? "I feel really good. I feel like we'll have a really good shot at winning. We had a really strong car in the 500 back at Daytona. We got caught up in one of those late wrecks but we had a car that we led some laps with and had a shot of winning with. We always typically run well here. We've had a little bit of trouble being around at the end of these things, getting caught up in wrecks and things and engines blowing up. But last fall we finished fifth and we feel good about it. Going for four in a row in the Busch race, looking forward to having some fun in that race and then on Sunday we'll get after it and try to get our first win in the Cup Series."

YOU ARE CLOSE FRIENDS WITH DALE EARNHARDT, JR. DO YOU HAVE A SENSE OF WHERE HIS CONTRACT DEAL STANDS? "Honestly, I don't have a clue. I don't really pay much attention to it. Junior is a friend, he's a teammate and we just go out there and race. Whatever happens out there is just going to happen."

YOU'RE OFF TO A GOOD START THIS YEAR. HOW YOU FEEL ABOUT THE SEASON? "We've got a really strong team and we've got good race cars each week. I feel good about our performance, the way it's been on the race track. We've had some things happen to us out of our control. We started out at Daytona with a wreck and in California we lost an engine about five laps into the race. So it was a tough start to the year but we've had good cars and we've run well each week. I feel good about my team and what (crew chief) Bono (Manion) and all the guys are doing on the Bass Pro Shops team, working hard, bringing good cars to the race track. Good pit stops, making good decisions throughout the race.

"We've been doing all the right things but we just need to get some of the finishes. Last week we had a top-10 car all day long and got caught on that last caution with about 20 laps to go. Just things like that have kept kind of knocking us down but we feel like we're doing a good job and we feel like we can run up front each week."

WHAT HAPPENED IN BUSCH PRACTICE YESTERDAY WITH THE DEBRIS? "I don't know. I was the second car in the draft and we were just going along and I heard something bang around up under the car. I was following Mike Wallace and I don't know if it came off his car or if it was just some debris on the race track. It cut our tire down and our tire ended up coming off and going up into Junior's nose and tore both of our cars up. It was unfortunate but the guys got it fixed up real quick. Going back out there the car was still real good."

WHAT IS YOUR REACTION TO ROLLING BACK THE RESTRICTOR PLATES IN THE BUSCH SERIES? "I don't know. It's hard to tell because you only get out there in a 10- to 15-car pack. Once you get 40 out there the whole pack is going to go a lot faster. I'm sure there's a number they look at there depending on how many cars they have on the race track and what kind of speeds they think they should be running. Maybe we were up there or close to it but when you are out there with 10 or 15 cars it just feels slow anyways. It's kind of hard to tell.

"The plate was a huge change. It was probably too much of a change. We went out there with the next plate and it's just going to make the pack a whole lot tighter than it was. I was able to drive up through the pack pretty easy and take the lead. Once I got the lead I just kind of hit a wall and they drove back by me. So it's going to tighten the pack up a whole bunch more, I think."

-credit: gm racing

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Jeff Gordon , Kenny Wallace , Mike Wallace , Jimmie Johnson