Daytona 500: Martin Truex Jr Media Day interview

MARTIN TRUEX, JR., NO. 1 BASS PRO SHOPS/TRACKER BOATS IMPALA SS met with members of the media and discussed start of ON START OF NEW SEASON: "It feels good to be back at the track. I started getting bored the last few weeks sitting at home. I...

MARTIN TRUEX, JR., NO. 1 BASS PRO SHOPS/TRACKER BOATS IMPALA SS met with members of the media and discussed start of

ON START OF NEW SEASON: "It feels good to be back at the track. I started getting bored the last few weeks sitting at home. I am looking forward to it. We feel good about our chances this year, so that is good. It is Daytona, you know, everybody wants to come here and win. I got the same feeling yesterday when I drove in the tunnel as I have for the last four years coming down here. It is exciting to be here. I am looking forward to the Bud Shootout Saturday, it will be my first one so a good way to kick off the week and get things going, get back on the race track. Get back to working with the guys in a competitive situation. Hopefully when the 500 comes around, we will have our car dialed in and be around at the end of it, which we haven't been able to do here lately and have a shot of winning it. We led some laps, I felt real good about our chances and we got shuffled out late and caught in the wreck. So hopefully we can do all things we did last year except for the last 20 laps, continue to stay out front.

"This is definitely the most comfortable I have been in my own shoes since I started racing in the Nationwide Series. I don't know why, just it is. I feel good about it. I feel great that my team is still together; they give me a lot of confidence going to the race track each week with the cars they build and the job they are able to do, the way we are able to work together. I am real confident, real comfortable. I put pressure on myself, but I don't feel a whole lot from the outside. I feel like this is the year I can go in and do what I feel is right, do the best job I can and in the end, I think everything is going to work out for us.

"It looks like everything is going real well at DEI. It feels good. Max (Siegel) and John (Story) have done a great job putting people in the right places and taking a bad situation last year that happened and turning it in to a good one this year. I feel like with the engine package we have, it has been running well on the race track, it is great to have a relationship with Richard (Childress) and all the guys at over RCR. It has been a lot of fun working with Mark Martin. He is great guy, lot of talent. He is incredible to work with. So far that transition of working with him and his being my new teammate, has went really well. Our teams are still working well together, it seems like we never quit racing last year. With Tony Gibson over there on the No. 8 as crew chief for that effort, it feels like we never quit racing last year, it is like we never missed a beat. Things feel good.

"I have been looking forward to getting here. I am excited to get on the race track and put some results on the board and having some fun. So we will see how it goes."

ON BIGGEST CONCERN FOR THE SEASON: "I don't really have any concerns. I am looking forward to going out there and doing better than we did last year, what else is there to do? I mean, we are going to go out here and try to step it up a notch. We won one race last year, I wasn't happy with that, I felt like we should have won four or five. That is what we are going to try to do. We will do everything we can to make that happen. We made the Chase last year, which was a big goal of ours, we were real proud of that accomplishment, I feel like we left some business unfinished. We had great race cars, we ran up front every week and we finished 11th. I was disappointed with that so we need to step it up. We are here to do better this year.

"I definitely felt different after the win and all that. After the win, after running up front for the handful of weeks that we did, I felt different in the way I was respected on the race track, off the race track, around the race track, just in general. I feel a lot more comfortable in my own shoes. I hadn't been that way since I started Cup racing. It is a big deal you are racing against guys like Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. that are big names; they are people that you respect as a racer before you are in the series even. So, to get their respect and to feel comfortable racing around and doing this job, all that it entails on and off the race track takes awhile. I definitely got a feel for it last year and this year I feel great. This is the most comfortable and excited I have ever been coming in to a season. I think it kind of slowly built up, I felt more comfortable every week I went to the race track. The better we did, the more it made me feel that way. I am sure if things are going bad, it can go the opposite way, I am not sure. It just kind of generally slowly progressed in to a great feeling.

"Last year was only our second year. It really only took a year. At the end of '06, we were running well. We finished second at Homestead and we went in to last year with a lost of confidence, sort of like we are this year, but right from the drop of the green flag at Daytona last year, we were one of the best teams out there week in and week out, I felt like. We had a lot of bad things happen to us. We wrecked her, blew up at California, we were 42nd in points after three weeks. But we were running up front each week. I felt like we started off good last year, we got out of the gate well but the results didn't reflect that, but we felt good. We just carried the momentum throughout the season. When we had a bad week, when we blew up or something bad happened, we didn't let it get us down. We looked at the positive; we took the positive out of the race and went on to the next week. That is one of the reasons we were able to overcome all of that trouble. A lot of teams have trouble like that and it beats them up and they never get back up. We just kept fighting and digging and finally things started to turn. The things we needed to go our way did and we still ran well and we were able to put the finishes together to do the things that we did. It took a lot to get where we were and we are surely not going to let it slip away for any reason at all."

ON THE IMPORTANCE OF DAYTONA 500 TO HIM: "Well, you think about it all winter. You build up to it. You work towards it, we tested here a month ago, there is a lot of preparation and effort that goes in to this race from the race team perspective, from the engine shop perspective. Plus, it is the first race of the year. You want to come out of the box strong. You want to have a good race and get things rolling. It seems like momentum is a big deal in this sport, especially as competitive as it is today. The mental side of the sport is real important so to get it off with a good start is really important. Now, I say that, but we have never done it. Hopefully this year we can, and it will make things go a lot smoother for us for the first few weeks."

ON HOW IMPORTANT THE QUALIFYING IS FOR THE DAYTONA 500: "It depends, if you have a shot at the pole, it is important, I think. If you don't, I don't think it is a big deal. The 150s you race to see where you are going to start basically. I think the guys that came down and test well and were fast and think they have a shot at the pole, it is very important to them, they put a lot of effort in to it."

ON HOW GOOD IS HIS CAR FOR DAYTONA 500: "I think it is going to be very good. I was really happy with it down here in testing. I didn't think we were the best car in drafting but I felt like we were one of the best handling cars. We weren't the fastest; we didn't have a lot of speed, which is typical for us down here for some reason. We always come down here and we aren't very fast, then they drop the green flag in the 150s or the 500 and we go to the front. I feel good about the handling. I could do a lot of things with the car that it looked like a lot of other people couldn't on the race track and that is good. I am looking forward to it. I don't think we will have a shot to be on the front row, which we never do, but the new engines are running pretty well. They brought more power down here for us for the race, so hopefully that will be good. Like I said, we will just do what we can on qualifying day and hopefully get a good starting spot for the 150s and go out and win one of those."

ON HOW MUCH LUCK PLAYS IN WINNING THE DAYTONA 500: "A little bit. You can have no luck at all and win it but you can't have any bad luck. We have always had bad luck in this race, last year we led a bunch and I felt like we had a shot at winning. We had a very good car, probably one of the best out there. We got shuffled out there on a restart and as soon as that happened, they wrecked right in front of us the next lap. You can't have that happen obviously. You can't have the bad luck, but you can deal with no good luck. You can make your own destiny. Guys have done it here. The No. 48, the No. 24, those guys will be strong. They have fast cars, they are very talented. Very good in the draft here at Daytona and they can make things happen. They can do things without having any good luck, but surely, they can't afford any bad."

-credit: gm racing

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Jeff Gordon , Martin Truex Jr. , Mark Martin