Martin Truex, Jr., No. 1 Bass Pro Shops/Tracker Boats Impala SS met with media at Loudon and discussed his sponsorship, increased media attention, racing at Loudon and other subjects. ON RACING AT NEW HAMPSHIRE: "June has always been a good...
Martin Truex, Jr., No. 1 Bass Pro Shops/Tracker Boats Impala SS met with media at Loudon and discussed his sponsorship, increased media attention, racing at Loudon and other subjects.
ON RACING AT NEW HAMPSHIRE: "June has always been a good month for me throughout my racing career. I am glad that it is still June and we are in New Hampshire, I love coming up here. I got to see a lot of guys yesterday that I used to race with. So that was cool, but we haven't done so well here in the Cup car last year and we are trying to change that. So, I look forward to the weekend."
THERE WAS A REPORT THAT BASS PRO SHOPS HAD RE-SIGNED FOR ANOTHER YEAR WITH YOU. WHAT IS THE STATUS OF THAT RIGHT NOW? "That is a great question. I think they signed it but I am not exactly sure. I don't know, so I will find out and get back with you."
BEING THE BUSCH SERIES CHAMPION TWO YEARS IN A ROW, HOW HAS THAT HELPED YOU DEVELOP AS A NEXTEL CUP RACER "It's helped in many ways, obviously just the experience of working with the race team that I am with now, which is the same team that we won the Championship with, going to all of the same race tracks, working within the same organization, all of those things played a huge role in where we are at now. There is no substitute for experience, especially good experience, which is what the Busch series gives you. That was instrumental for sure."
TALK A LITTLE ABOUT POCONO AND WHAT CAN WE EXPECT IN THE FUTURE WHEN YOU ARE BACK ON THE OVALS. "Well, I felt real confident going into Pocono. We had really fast cars there in both races and had some unfortunate things happen to us. I felt real good going back there. I really enjoyed the race track. So, I was pretty confident going in. I really felt like we could go there and do what we did. I think it surprised a lot of people, but it didn't surprise me or all of the guys on my team because we kind of expected to go there and run well. It hasn't really changed much. We go to the race track every week thinking that we can do well, but always working towards our goals and working towards improving the things that we think we need to improve on and that is no different here this weekend. We have been decent on the flatter tracks with the new car, not quite as good as we would like to be, so we are still working hard on getting this thing to turn around these flat corners."
IF BASS PRO SHOPS HAS SIGNED WITH YOU FOR ANOTHER YEAR, WHAT IS THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THAT MATCHING UP WITH THE LENGTH OF YOUR CONTRACT AND HAVING A SPONSOR THAT YOU KNOW IS GOING TO CONTINUE WITH YOU LIKE THAT? "Well, Bass Pro Shops has been an awesome sponsor for me. I have become real close with Johnny Morris, all the people that work with him and all the people that work for him and I wouldn't want anyone else to sponsor my race car right now. I feel like we have built the kind of relationship and hopefully in the future, we can continue to build that relationship together as far as me and them. So, hopefully they will stay with me for a long time, no matter what happens. Hopefully we will both be at DEI for a long time winning Championships. That is the plan right now."
IT SEEMS THE MEDIA PRESSURE ON YOUR TEAM HAS INCREASED AFTER THE DOVER WIN AND EVERYBODY ON THE TEAM IS WONDERING WHY THE INTEREST IN YOU AND NOT THE NO. 8 TEAM. IS THAT TRUE? "Yeah, it's cool. I think obviously it's came with not just winning but being in the Chase and in the top twelve right now, you get a lot more attention. So, that has been great for Bass Pro Shops and everybody on our race car, and it's been great for me. It has been really cool to see the guys' reaction when they are around the car and they see cameras coming and they see SPEED out there and it makes them feel good. It makes them feel like people appreciate what they are doing. You know, it seems like they really enjoy that kind of thing."
ARE YOU STILL WITH THE GUYS FROM YOUR BUSCH TEAM? "Yeah, a lot of them. Pretty much my whole Busch team is still together over here. So, we have lost a few and gained a few, but for the most part most of them guys are still around so it is pretty cool."
WHAT DOES YOUR CAR CHIEF CONTRIBUTE TO THE TEAM AND DO YOU EVER SEE HIM AS A CREW CHIEF AT DEI? "Haskell is just a really good guy. He is the hardest worker in the garage. I used to call him the human broom because he is always dirty and he has always got everything off the floor around him because he is always under that race car. He works really, really hard and puts a lot into it and he is a lot of fun to be around. He is good for our team morale. Everybody seems to get along with him pretty good."
DO YOU SEE HIM AS A CREW CHIEF? "Yeah, I don't' know, it is hard to say, if he gets the right opportunities, I think so. I don't think that Bono would let him go too easy."
WITH DALE EARNHARDT, JR. LEAVING DEI, DO YOU FEEL A NEED TO BECOME A NUMBER ONE GUY FOR THE TEAM? DO YOU THINK THAT THERE IS PRESSURE IN THAT NOW THAT HE HAS LEFT THE TEAM? "Well, somebody has got to do it. Right now, we are the first in line to kind of take that responsibility. We have stepped up our performance, which has definitely been needed. That is part of being the number one driver at any team, is being your performance on the race track. So, if that stays where it is and all things keep going the way that they are going, we are in a good position to be that team leader. I look forward to it. It is going to be, I am sure it is going to be challenging at times. There will be things that are going to be different than what I am used to but I am looking forward to it. I am open minded. I am having fun. As long as we can continue to be successful on the race track, I feel like we can take care of everything else pretty easily."
WHAT WILL YOU HAVE TO DO TO PREPARE FOR THE MONTREAL BUSCH RACE AND HOW HARD WILL IT BE TO RUN THAT RACE AND THE CUP RACE? "I'm not running Canada so I don't really know. But I remember I ran Mexico and it wasn't any different than running here. When you get to the race track it doesn't matter where it's at. You're focused on the track and what needs to be done to go fast and win the race. That's basically what those guys will be focused on when they go up there."
WHAT IS IT LIKE FOR A YOUNGER DRIVER TO FIND A BALANCE BETWEEN OVERDRIVING WHEN YOU HAVE A BAD CAR AND KEEPING IT COOL WHEN YOU HAVE A GOOD ONE? "There's a fine line there and it's easy to cross the line and go to far. It depends on the track. It depends on the race car. It depends on who is around. There's a lot of things that go into it. For example, you take the new car and at New Hampshire it's real easy to overdrive the car. So trying to do too much is probably a bad thing at a place like this. Say you go to a place like Atlanta and you've got the current car and you're out there driving your guts out, you can usually get a little bit more out of it than even sometimes you thought you could, by trying harder. It depends on the race track and the situation and the car and all that stuff. The flatter tracks are better for finesse drivers, guys that try to get exactly what their car will give them and no more. Some guys always try to get more and they're better suited to bi gger, faster, more-banked race tracks."
DOES DENNY HAMLIN HAVE THE FINESSE STYLE? "I think so. But you've got to consider that his race cars have been fast since he got here too. If you're running up front it's a whole lot easier to finish races than if you are running in the middle of the pack. That's been a big part of it. Denny is a smart race car driver; he doesn't put himself in positions where he feels like he's taking chances. He's pretty smart about that. For me it's been, the last year and a half. most part of last year we were just trying to find our feet and we did get caught up in some things we shouldn't have. Even this year we have. I feel like most of it has been bad circumstances and unfortunate things with motors and tires and cautions and hasn't really been driving wild or driving where we had to get involved in wrecks. We really haven't torn anything up in a while."
WITH YOUR SUCCESS IN THE LAST FEW RACES, WHAT ARE YOUR GOALS FOR THE NEXT FEW RACES AS THE CHASE NEARS? "I've been real happy with the way our cars have been running all year long. For a while there we were working hard and seeing changes and seeing improvements in our performance on the race track. I know most people haven't seen that on paper because their finishes weren't all that great for a while there. We could look and see a lot of constant progress and then all of a sudden we get to Darlington and Dover and we start finishing - obviously we won at Dover and we finished in the top three three weeks in a row - and everybody's like 'wow, where'd that come from?'. We've been working on that for a while. We finished second at Homestead last year; we've had great cars all year. We've had a lot of things happen to take us out of a bunch of races but we've seen constant progress and improvement and if that continues and now we've got the monkey off our back and we can challen ge for top fives each week, there's no reason why we can't go out there and make the Chase and have a shot at this championship. There's 12 guys that are going to have a chance at it and there's no reason why we can't be one of them."
ARE THERE AREAS ON WHICH YOU WANT TO IMPROVE IN THESE NEXT TEN RACES? "Obviously we want to be consistent. I think we still need some work. Our Impala SS on these flatter tracks is probably our Achilles Heel right now. Here, Richmond, Phoenix; so we're working real hard on that right now. Hopefully we'll have a good weekend here. I feel like our car is a lot better than it was at Phoenix and at Richmond right now so we'll see how this weekend goes and we'll take it from there."
HOW DO YOU LIKE THE NEW CAR AND IS THERE ANYTHING THAT CAN BE IMPROVED ON IT? "I don't mind it. Obviously we've all got the same thing out there which is part of the reason why we love NASCAR racing so much, because everybody's got a fair chance. Obviously I got my first win in so I love it. I've had some bad runs and when I don't run good I hate it. It just depends on the race track. It's a huge challenge for us to get these cars working well, especially on the flatter tracks like here, Phoenix. The cars just feel slow and heavy but that's the way they are built. I don't have any problems with it. We just need to get a little bit better with it right now."
IS THERE ANYTHING ELSE YOU NOTICE THAT MAKES IT WORSE CAR TO DRIVE? "No. I think they can make them handle a little bit better, drive a little bit better then it would be more fun. It's really hard right now to get the thing to turn on these flat tracks. They're not letting us travel in the front enough. I feel like maybe if we get some left-side weight in them and get that splitter up off the ground a little bit more so we can travel and get these things turning a little bit better it would be a lot more fun."
IS THERE AN ADVANTAGE THE TOP 12 HOLD RIGHT NOW AND HOW SHOULD THEY PREPARE VS OTHER DRIVERS? "I think they feel a whole lot safer. They don't feel like they're standing on the edge of a fence. I think they can take a little more risks, little more gambles, maybe work and try new things that they probably wouldn't if they were borderline and had to be on the safe side so I don't know. It sure would feel good to be about fifth right now but it is what it is."
-credit: gm racing