MARTIN TRUEX JR., NO. 1 BASS PRO SHOPS MONTE CARLO, TALKED WITH MEDIA ABOUT THE CHASE FORMAT, HIS GROWTH AS A DRIVER, AND THE DAYTONA 500: WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE NEW SEEDING SYSTEM FOR THE CHASE? "I think that adding two is a good thing.
MARTIN TRUEX JR., NO. 1 BASS PRO SHOPS MONTE CARLO, TALKED WITH MEDIA ABOUT THE CHASE FORMAT, HIS GROWTH AS A DRIVER, AND THE DAYTONA 500:
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE NEW SEEDING SYSTEM FOR THE CHASE? "I think that adding two is a good thing. There's always four or five guys that seem to be going for tenth and this will give them a chance to get in there. When you start the Chase it's like you throw the names in the hat and any won of them could win it. So I think it adds a little more to it. There's two more guys that will have a chance at winning the Cup so that's definitely cool. There's a little bit more emphasis on winning but you can't go out there and say 'I'm going to go out there and win most races' but then fall out of ten of them too. So not much changes in the way you approach it, I don't think."
WHAT WILL BE THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE FOR EVERYONE THIS YEAR? "I would say the Car of Tomorrow. Running 16 races in one car and running the rest in another is a big change. As different as those cars are it's going to be tough for guys to say 'okay, this week we're bringing out this car' and go there and completely change the way they approach the whole entire weekend. From the time practice starts with the adjustments on their car, setting it up throughout practice. Everything about that car is different."
DID YOU FEEL YOURSELF GROW AS A DRIVER? "Absolutely. Just got more comfortable into the race car and into the race as far as calling it and being a part of all the calls and adjustments and things. Got a lot more precise in my approach to getting my car right. I used to be the kind of guy that says 'it's pretty good; it's close.' But you need to demand perfection in the Cup series; you need to be real picky about how your car drives. That was part of the problem coming in that I wasn't picky enough and I didn't ask for enough and I figured that out pretty quick."
ARE YOU ALWAYS LOOKING OUT BEHAVIOR-WISE BECAUSE OF YOUR SPONSOR? "No, I think it lets me be me. I don't think I've ever put on an act or said something that someone else wanted me to. I think I've always been true to what I think is right. I think I'm pretty well-mannered and quiet so that helps a little, not mixing all that up. So I just try to do what I think is right and usually it works out."
HAVE YOU TAKEN SOME HITS FROM YOUR '$100 PIT STOP' IN A PARKING GARAGE? "I've taken plenty (laughter) but everyone pretty much sees it the way I did. Everybody's done it and everybody thinks it's pretty funny. I've seen some pretty cool decals on the internet (more laughter).
HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THE DAYTONA 500? "Well, it's an incredible thing to be part of. I mean, it feels just as neat to be part of it this week as it did two years ago. It's something that never changes; it gets a lot of hype and a lot of coverage and everybody gets really pumped up to come here. I don't know if it's because it's the first race of the year and you start getting bored the last couple weeks of winter or what. Every time you come here it's something special."
WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE TRACK? "The track is great. It's weathered; it's got a lot of bumps and it's worn out. It's getting to where it's at the point that it's really good for racing, I think. You can run three or four wide here in the 500; in the summer when it heats up the groove opens up and cars spread out because the handling is such a big issue."
IS DALE EARNHARDT, INC. READY TO REGAIN ITS DOMINANCE IN RESTRICTOR-PLATE RACING? "I think the days of dominating for everyone are over. I could be wrong, but that's the way I see it. Every week everyone is right on top of each other. Practice, qualifying, race, it doesn't matter. It's so close that everybody is working hard for that extra little bit. It seems like it isn't there anymore to pick up and dominate like they used to."
HOW IMPORTANT IS QUALIFYING FOR THIS RACE? "Well, it's important for getting a good pit stall; it's important to start out front because there's a good possibility that your chances are better of staying out of a wreck if it happens early in the race, if you start up front. But you never know; it's a crapshoot. You can start last and still lead in 30 laps if your car is good enough and everything happens the way it should or vice versa. The same thing is true for the opposite. You can start on the front row and have a fast car and go straight to the back if it doesn't handle. It's not as important as you think it is."
-credit: gm racing