Truex Jr. already missing the high groove at Bristol

MARTIN TRUEX JR., No. 56 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing

Martin Truex Jr., Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota
Martin Truex Jr., Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota

Photo by: Action Sports Photography

How do you plan to get some bonus points before the Chase "We hope to win the race -- that's how we plan to accomplish that. I'm excited to be back at Bristol obviously, after the last two races here we've had some really strong runs. We ran second and third and had a shot at winning -- always excited to come here. It's a great race track -- it's a lot of fun to race on. I love running the high groove and most of its gone. There's still some there -- looking forward to that. Hopefully, we'll have a good weekend with our NAPA Toyota -- three more to go until the Chase. We need to keep our eye on the big picture as well as try to run up front and get some of them bonus points. It would be great to get to victory lane and we're certainly going to try our best to do that this weekend."

Is there any high groove left on the track "Obviously, there's about six feet or however wide the grinding spot was is pretty much the only spot on the track that you can't run on. I still feel like the high groove on the long runs with old tires -- right up against where they stopped grinding is probably the fastest way around. Still very difficult to run the bottom like it's always been here. Really, the track is the same, it's just that very outside groove through the middle of the corners that you really don't want to get on and it's pretty slippery."

Do you think everyone will try to run the high groove "From what I've seen in practice and what I saw in the Truck race, about as high as you can get is the preferred groove on the long runs, old tires where it used to be against the fence. Now it's six or seven feet off the fence. Definitely a little less room to race, but I still feel like you'll be able to run side-by-side and make some passes on some guys."

What is the difference for you this year compared to 2007 "At the end of the day, I have to give all the credit to the team for giving me the race cars because you can't do it without them. I feel like I'm a better driver than I was in 2007, but there's been years where we've had bad seasons and I felt like I was a better driver than I was in 2007. It's a team effort. You've got to have everything -- everything has to go your way throughout the whole season to make the Chase. To be competitive each week and run in the top-five and top-10 the way we have says a lot about our race team and a lot about what the folks at Michael Waltrip Racing have been doing and the cars and equipment they've been giving me. You can only do so much as a driver and it seems that most days we get most of the credit when things go good or most of the credit when things go bad. You can't do it without a great team and that's what I've got this year and that's been the difference."

What has made you stronger at Bristol "I think the biggest thing is Chad (Johnston, crew chief) and I working together for a few years. This is one of the races where two years ago he was my engineer and we came here and we were very, very fast at the beginning of the race and we went straight to the front and led a bunch of laps. Halfway through once the track really started getting rubbered-up, the car just went away totally. We learned a lot from that and since then, we've changed our approach to the weekend and our approach to the race here. Obviously, the last two times it's paid off for us. We've been doing the same thing this weekend, of course you never know -- this tire is a little different. You never know how it's going to work out. I feel like I understand a little better about what I need to be good at the end of the race and not so much at the beginning. I try to dial my car into that throughout practice. There's no guarantees because you can never always get your car to do what you want -- today was a difficult day. They changed the tire and we started way off. We got the car really good in race trim and then we went to qualifying trim and we were way off again. It's definitely not going to be easy, but I feel like just eth experience of working with Chad together here and finding some things that work and a little bit of a strategy for a weekend has been the big key."

Is the Atlanta weekend busier for you with NAPA based nearby "Absolutely, it does. We'll have a lot of folks there from NAPA -- a lot of people in the suites. It's one of those things where it's fun to have those guys at the race track and have their support and let them get a little bit better look at what we do every weekend. Definitely one of the busiest weekends of the year for us."

Source: Toyota Motorsports

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Michael Waltrip , Martin Truex Jr.
Teams Michael Waltrip Racing
Article type Interview
Tags bms, pavement, toyota, truex, waltrip