Martin Truex Jr., No. 1 Bass Pro Shops/Tracker Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS, met with media members at Michigan International Speedway and discussed the races leading up to the Chase, Juan Pablo Montoya's driving, having Mark Martin as a teammate and...
Martin Truex Jr., No. 1 Bass Pro Shops/Tracker Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS, met with media members at Michigan International Speedway and discussed the races leading up to the Chase, Juan Pablo Montoya's driving, having Mark Martin as a teammate and the cars of his dreams (both classic Chevys).
HOW WILL THE NEXT FOUR RACES (LEADING UP TO THE CHASE) AFFECT THE WAY YOU DRIVE? "I don't think much changes. Obviously, to get in the Chase is a big deal and all, but we need to go out on form, we need to run well, so we won't take any unnecessary risks by any means but we need to go out there and race hard. To get out front and maybe win it."
ON NOT MAKING THE CHASE: "It's not that fun, you have to perform to be in it, if you don't perform you don't want to be in it anyway as you want a shot. We've been running well, we've had up and down few weeks here and hopefully this will be a turnaround for us. It's a good track for us and I really look forward to the race this weekend."
ARE YOU COMFORTABLE WITH YOUR LEAD OVER 13TH PLACE? "You never know. Anything can happen out here in these deals. I'm happy with my race team - they're doing a great job for me. Last weekend was a really good run for us. I was really happy to get out of there with a decent finish. If we can get through Bristol with a decent finish we'll be in good shape. We should run well here, we did last time, and we look forward to California too. We'll see what will happen - but anything can happen we'll just see if we can run well."
DOES ANY ONE OF THE FOUR TRACKS GIVE YOU AN ADVANTAGE? "Considering how we ran here and California earlier in the year, these two certainly. Bristol's a sort of wild card, anything can happen there. I think we can run well at them all, it's a matter of getting the finishes, getting comfortably into the Chase and we can go racing from there."
MONTOYA IS GETTING A LOT OF CRITICISM OF HIS DRIVING. HOW WOULD YOU ASSESS IT SO FAR? "I think he's done a great job coming from the cars he's raced before. You couldn't get two more different cars. You come in here and for him to have the success he's had I think he's done a great job."
DO YOU THINK HE'S TOO AGGRESSIVE? "Sure he's aggressive. It seems like he's always on - or over - that edge. The more experience he gets, the more he'll be able to keep himself out of bad situations. He's doing a fine job."
WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY AGGRESSIVE? "When you see him race he's always real close to somebody, always pressuring. If you're trying to pass him, he's doing all that he can do to fend you off no matter what position it's for, no matter what part of the race it's in. It seems like he's always racing really, really hard. Like it's for the win. He's a fierce competitor."
BUT HE'S NOT THE ONLY ONE LIKE THAT, IS HE? "No there's others."
SHOULD DRIVERS HAVE THE NUMBERS OF THEIR CAR, OR SHOULD IT STAY WITH OWNERS? "So when you retire, you give up or they retire the number? I don't know, it's just a number. You ask Dale Jr. I'm sure he ain't too worried about not having the 8. I was over his shop months ago and he was picking out numbers then. So . Things like that get made into a lot bigger deal than they really are. I think your name is the biggest thing. As long as you've got your name, you've got the only thing that really matters. A number's a number. These numbers have been on millions of other race car before we even started racing. What's the big deal?"
HOW DIFFICULT WAS IT FOR YOU TO LEARN HOW TO RACE, HOW NOT TO RACE WHEN YOU FIRST CAME IN? "I learned fairly quickly in the Busch series because when I first started racing for DEI I was running up front pretty much every week and I was very fortunate to run with many of the Cup guys. Seeing how they did things. So I learned a lot in a fairly short period of time."
HOW MUCH OF A HELP IS IT GOING TO BE TO HAVE MARK MARTIN AS A TEAMMATE? "I'm really looking forward to it. He's a great team leader, a great motivator, he's been great for team morale and everyone's looking forward to having him and has a lot of confidence in his abilities. He's going to be a lot of fun to work with, great to learn from, there's so many things he brings to the table for us that I look forward to tapping into in the future."
DOES MONTOYA NEED TIME TO LEARN THE NUANCES OR DO YOU NEED TO LEARN TO ADAPT TO HIM? "I really haven't had any trouble with him so I can't say. Last week, the deal on the road course was he blocked, I got into him - he blocked which wasn't right and I probably shouldn't have got into him. I took full responsibility for that. But other than that I really haven't had any trouble. I've seen him do some things, I've seen him racing really hard at times when I probably didn't agree with it but, hey, that's him, it's his car, he's driving it. I was behind him and Stewart when they got into it . a few months ago. They were racing really hard when it didn't really seem to matter. He'll figure it out. Who's to say what's right or wrong?"
HAVE YOU SPOKEN TO HIM SINCE LAST WEEK? "No I haven't. I called him and got his voicemail but didn't think to leave a message was the right way to go about it. Hopefully I'll see him around this weekend. I'll go find him here and we'll talk about it."
AS THIS WILL BE YOUR FIRST CHASE, DO YOU FEEL THE PRESSURE? "There's definitely more pressure. We wouldn't want anything any more than making the Chase. That was one of our goals back in the wintertime. One of them was to win a race - we've done that. We could have won a couple. Making the Chase is a big deal. It's huge for our sponsors, huge for everybody on the team, especially with the things that have gone on with the announcement of Jr. leaving, and getting a new teammate with Mark Martin, and merging - there's a lot of new things going on there's nothing we'd like more than to start all that off with getting in the Chase and doing a good job for everyone."
ON FEELING CONFIDENT ABOUT THE CHAMPIONSHIP GOING INTO THE CHASE: "It's hard to say. I thought a few weeks ago that we did. It's been kinda up and down the past few weeks and I'm not sure really what's going on. I feel great about our Impala SS cars, that we can run well and have a shot to win with that and there are some other tracks in the Chase that I think we can run really well at. I think we can have a really good shot, but it's a matter of finishing the races once you get in there. You can't have any troubles. You finish every race competitively you'll have a chance. I look forward to that. But first you've got to get in the deal."
YOU'RE RUNNING A 57 CHEVY PAINT SCHEME. DO YOU HAVE ANY SPECIAL MEMORIES OF THAT CAR? "I wish I'd been around in 57 to have a new one! There's two cars that I don't have that I really want. One of them is a 57 Chevy, the other's a 69 Camaro. Hopefully in the near future I'll have both of them."
-credit: gm racing