CORNELIUS, N.C. — The No. 56 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota driver Martin Truex Jr. has turned in his best career performances at Kansas Speedway during the last three NASCAR Sprint Cup Series events. A fourth and two runner-up finishes place him on top of the standings in most points earned at the 1.5-mile oval — bettering the likes of the current points leader and a five-time champion.
On Thursday, NASCAR is opening up the speedway a day early for an afternoon test session. Truex and crew chief Chad Johnston have a game plan in place and expect to turn their top-five finishes into a second victory of the season for the NAPA team.
Martin Truex Jr. on Kansas Speedway: “We are thinking outside the box now because we really have nothing to lose. We are taking a list of things we want to try during the test. At Dover, we ended practice on Saturday with a fifth- or sixth-place car and we felt that wasn’t good enough. We’re in it to win at this point in our season. By thinking outside the box, we may find that little something that’s been missing.
“I’m looking forward to the test day to see how the new zone tread tires perform. We didn’t run it earlier in the year so I commend NASCAR for giving us the extra track time. We ran it at Atlanta so this will be the second race for the tires. I think it will be interesting and will give the crew chiefs something to think about and work on. It is a lot different than running the normal tire. It wants different things. I expect the setup notes to be a lot different now for Kansas and it will be totally different from what we experienced at Atlanta. I’ve never run this type of tire on a repaved or a newer track.
“In the spring race, the groove opened up a lot more than it did last year. I really love Kansas. It doesn’t have a lot of banking for a mile-and-a-half track, but it’s still really fast. The corners are sweeping. There is just something about Kansas that this team has hit on. It’s been a really good track for this NAPA team. I can’t wait to go there. It’s definitely a place where I have a lot of confidence. I hope our NAPA Toyota will be better than all the rest.”
CURRENT MINDSET OF THE NO. 56 TEAM: “The last couple of weeks we’ve been through a lot. It’s been a very difficult time. There are two things we can do. We can either give up or go out and try and win seven races. My NAPA team has been working so hard and with such a great attitude that we want to win. I cannot ask for a better bunch of guys. I am so proud of them for it.”
Michael Waltrip Racing