Truex Jr. seeks a top-10 in the first Daytona Duel race

Martin Truex Jr. was 19th fastest in pole qualifying, now he has to race for his Daytona 500 starting position.

CORNELIUS, N.C. — No. 56 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota driver Martin Truex Jr. raced his new Gen-6 Camry to a top-10 finish in the Sprint Unlimited Saturday night. The 75 laps on the track proved to be invaluable as both the driver and crew chief Chad Johnston learned a lot about how the new car performs and reacts in the pack.

Martin Truex Jr., Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota
Martin Truex Jr., Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota

Photo by: Eric Gilbert

Now, the NAPA team switches gears to prepare for the Thursday’s Budweiser Duels. Truex will line up 10th in the first race after turning in the 19th-fastest lap in Sunday’s time trials. The Michael Waltrip Racing driver plans to do all he can to earn a top-10 starting spot in Sunday’s season opener — the 55th Daytona 500.

TRUEX COMPETING IN DUELS: “We’re going to have to race our way into the Daytona 500 if we want to get a really good starting spot. I think we will try to be smart about practice. I feel like I have a pretty good understanding of what I need the car to do. We learned a lot last Saturday night that is going to help us for the Duels.

“As for practice, I don’t expect to see us practicing too much. We don’t want to get ourselves in trouble or risk wrecking this NAPA Toyota. car. I think we can play it safe in practice and still know what we need for the Duels without getting wrecked. One thing is for sure, I’m going to have to make some friends this week.”

ON RACING IN HIS NINTH DAYTONA 500: “I’ve had cars capable of winning the Daytona 500 and I’ve been in contention in my NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota. I feel really good about my chances this year because I like this new Gen-6 Toyota. I feel like it fits me a little bit better. This car demands you to drive it. It wants you to be aggressive. It likes to be pushed. The car we’ve been running the last few years was the opposite -- it was always telling you to slow down and wait and be patient and be smooth. I didn’t like that. I like to attack. I like to drive the car. It’s so much fun to drive this new NAPA Toyota because of that. It challenges you as a driver to push it and I really enjoy that, so I think it fits my style better for sure and hopefully that will be the case come race time.”

Michael Waltrip Racing

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Series NASCAR-CUP
Article type Previews
Tags daytona, daytona 500, duel, nascar-cup, toyota, truex, waltrip