MARTIN TRUEX JR., No. 56 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing
How has your week been leading into the Dover race? "I'm glad to be here. This has been a great week for me and my family and everybody on our team. We had a great turnout yesterday for our golf tournament and our fan event Wednesday night back in Manahawkin (N.J.) was great. A lot of support from the fans and our sponsors. We raised a lot of money for the Martin Truex Jr. Foundation -- which is something that I'm very, very proud of. So, it's been a good start to the week so far -- first in practice this morning. Just love coming up here to Dover for so many reasons. Obviously, winning here a few years ago and all the success in the Nationwide car and really kind of getting my Nationwide Series career started here years ago. Just really enjoy coming up here. Got a lot of friends and family that come to this race. It's a big weekend for us. We really haven't started the Chase off the way we want to and this is a good place for us to come and turn it around and get on the right track -- get the momentum going in the right direction. Big weekend with 'AAA' sponsoring the race -- they're a big supporter of our race team. We got Brian Dawkins from the (Philadelphia) Eagles coming this week and we're going to the game after the race. So, it's been a crazy, hectic, busy week -- but it's been a lot of fun so far. Looking forward to hopefully ending it with a win."
Is your previous Chase experience helping this year? "It's been a while. The last time I was in the Chase was quite a few years ago. So, it's a bit different now. Things have changed. The cars are a lot different. The competition is different. But, I think this time around I definitely appreciate the opportunity more. I understand how big of a deal it is for our team to be in it this year. I'm just trying to take it one race at a time and enjoy what we're doing. Certainly we have not started at all the way we wanted to and it's been a little disappointing. The team is still positive and upbeat about what we can do for the next eight races. I think the biggest thing is just taking it one race at a time and trying to do the best job we can do. We've got a great race team and we just need to take advantage of the places we're good at. We missed that a little bit a Chicago -- a place I thought we'd be really strong. So, we've got to get the ball rolling here. We've got to get the momentum swing in our direction and hopefully we can do that this weekend."
How beneficial are your team meetings this year with the addition of Clint Bowyer and Mark Martin? "We've always had great team meetings. This year, they've been obviously different, having three cars -- especially having three cars that are as competitive as ours are. Three guys that expect to win each and every weekend and won't settle for anything less than the best. It's been awesome to be a part of that. I've learned so much from both of those guys this year. There's been times where we've all been off a little bit and fed off the other team, you know got help from the other drivers. So, it's been a great team chemistry. I've definitely learned a lot from those guys this year and gained a lot from them and hopefully, I've been able to give back in a little bit. It's just been a total team effort. Part of the reason is the success we had this year was so much fun was because the teamwork we had and the way everyone worked together and really kept each other pumped up -- whether you had a good day or a bad day. We really help lift each other each and every weekend. It's been a lot of fun to be able to do that."
Has spending time with friends and family this week helped with your disappointing Chase start? "Well, they've all been very supportive. It's always fun to go home and do what we do this week -- did what we did this week. It was a lot of fun. Everybody was like, 'Man, I couldn't believe what happened at Atlanta.' They're all telling me how loud they screamed at the TV and that they were throwing stuff. And I said, 'You should have been in my shoes.' We had a lot of fun with that. All the people back home support me so much. All my fans have been great. I can' wait to get all those guys a win because they really deserve it. They stood behind me for a long, long time and they've been great about everything."
How much do you remember about winning at Dover, and is it disappointing that you haven't been back to victory lane? "I remember it quite well. It's been quite a few years. But, it's something I'll never forget. I don't think I probably enjoyed it as much as much as I should have. I didn't think it would be this far till the next one. Certainly we've been so close on so many occasions. I feel like we've got the team. I feel like we really have been deserving of a couple wins, and we just haven't been able to get them. So, it's been very disappointing. That's pretty obvious. When I look back on the season we've had we've got a lot to be proud of. We've certainly done our jobs very well. We've performed well enough to win a few races and it just seems as that it wasn't meant to be. In all those situations, the circumstances just didn't play out the way we needed them to and it was almost like -- whatever it was going to take to keep us from winning is what happened each and every time. So, just one of those things. It was very disappointing, but I feel like we can still get a win or two before the year is out. We've got strong race cars. We've got a great race team. I've got a lot of confidence in what we're doing and we've got some great tracks in the remaining eight races, so we just got to go out and continue to do what we've been doing all year long. And, hopefully one of these days it's all going to work out for us."
Source: Toyota Motorsports