Martin Truex Jr., No. 1 Bass Pro Shops / Tracker Impala SS - Qualified 2nd: "It's a real exciting time for me and my whole team. We're looking forward to the Chase. We've got a lot of the tracks in the Chase we feel like we'll be real...
Martin Truex Jr., No. 1 Bass Pro Shops / Tracker Impala SS - Qualified 2nd:
"It's a real exciting time for me and my whole team. We're looking forward to the Chase. We've got a lot of the tracks in the Chase we feel like we'll be real competitive and we'll have a chance to win a few of them. And it's a perfect place to start off here today. We had a great day in practice. The car was really, really good right off the truck; probably better than the care we ran here last time. I felt real good going into qualifying. I didn't know we could run as fast as we did with the temperatures cooling down and the adjustments we made were spot on. I was really surprised at the speed we ran. I wasn't sure who would pick up and who wouldn't. It was a great lap for us. I'm really happy with the speed we ran and the time we ran, I just wish we could have been on the pole. We're really trying to get in that Bud Shootout next year. But we've got nine more tries so we'll keep working on it."
ON THE IMPORTANCE OF STARTING UP FRONT, HOW DOES THIS BODE STARTING THE CHASE ON THE FRONT ROW?
"I don't think it's all that important. Last time we were here we started ninth and fell back at the start a few spots and we were able to make our way to the front. It's all about having a good race car. Usually the guys that are good start up front, so that's why it seems that way. There will be some guys that maybe struggled today that will get their cars fixed for Sunday and be able to pass. Last time we were here, it was a lot easier to pass than it has been in the past for some reason. I don't know. It's because these cars are a little bit slower in the middle of the corner. They are a little bit harder to get to handle right and a lot of the guys run different speeds. But we were able to come through the pack a few times in the last race here and I was really surprised we were able to do that. So, it's good to qualify up front. It means we've got a fast car. But it's n o guarantee that we'll run good on Sunday. We still need to work through our practices and Happy Hour and make sure we've got the balance where we need it for Sunday."
ON THURSDAY, A FEW OF YOUR YOUR CREW GUYS WERE OUT IN THE GARAGE AREA, TINKERING WITH A MODIFIED AND ACTING REAL RELAXED. WHAT CAN YOU SAY ABOUT YOUR GUYS?
"They're doing a good job for me. They built that Modified to come up here and race just to have some fun and get back to their roots. They came up through the Modified cars and its just a way for them to have fun. Some people play golf. Some people fish, like me. And some people just want to be at the race track. So they built a Modified and came up here and they're going to be racing it tomorrow (Saturday) just for fun. It's a good way for them to get their minds off all the day to day pressures of the Cup series and go back to their grass roots racing level."
WHAT WOULD IT MEAN TO WIN AT NHIS?
"It would be huge. I've actually won in all the racing series I've run here before. So this is the one I really want. But we've been close. We led a bunch back here in the summer and led all the way up until the last pit stop and had a very good day. So I feel confident that we can come back and better that. It's just a matter of getting our car working well and having good practice tomorrow and having some things go right for us during the race. You can be the fastest car and still not win. We feel like we'll be a contender, but it's a matter of putting it all together. But it would mean a lot. It's a special place for me. I've been coming here for a long time. This track is a big part of the reason that I've got the chances to do what I've been able to do. So it would be real special."
YOU FINISHED THIRD HERE AND FIRST AT DOVER IN THE SPRING. DO YOU FEEL IT'S IMPORTANT FOR YOU TO GET OFF TO A FAST START IN THE CHASE?
"I think it's very important for confidence for my team. Other than that, it doesn't really mean a whole lot. These are two great tracks for us and we need to capitalize on the places we're good at to have a shot at it when we get to Homestead. That's the most important for us right not. It's not so much about momentum or anything, we just need to capitalize on the places we know we can run well at. Hopefully, the places where we're not quite as good, we can have solid runs when we get there."
THIS IS SUPPOSED TO BE HARD. THE TWO GUYS WHO ARE IN THE CHASE FOR THE FIRST TIME ARE ON THE FRONT ROW. DID YOU GUYS NOT GET THE MEMO?
"Rookies have a huge advantage, that's what its all about. I don't know. It's just coincidence I guess. We've been working real hard. Clint's (Bowyer) team has been working real hard and they're right there on the cusp for their first win. It's just a matter of putting it all together and having everything go right for one day. It could happen for any of us. So we're just happy to be where we're at and my team is doing a great job. That's the reason I'm here. So if they continue to do what they do and we keep it going forward, there's nothing we can't accomplish."
IF YOU HAVE A BAD RACE AT THE FIRST CHASE RACE AT NHIS, IS IT ALL OVER?
"I think you can always come back. It just depends on what happens to the other 11 guys. There is no telling what's going to happen. There could be a guy who has ten top five's. Anything is possible. Jimmie (Johnson) had some trouble last year and was able to come back. There is no saying that somebody's not going to have a perfect 10 races this year. You've just got to go out and do the best you can and hope when you get to the last race that you're in contention."
-credit: gm racing