Truex ready for "opportunity of a lifetime" with Team Yellow. LOUDON, N.H. (May 7, 2002) -- Martin Truex Jr., has been waiting for this weekend his whole life. Sure, at 22 years old, it's a young life. But as a race car driver, Truex is a ...
Truex ready for "opportunity of a lifetime" with Team Yellow.
LOUDON, N.H. (May 7, 2002) -- Martin Truex Jr., has been waiting for this weekend his whole life.
Sure, at 22 years old, it's a young life. But as a race car driver, Truex is a seasoned veteran and one with accolades to boast. He's been winning races and championships since he started building and driving his own go-karts at age 11. He was head of his class in the modified division at 18. And he was an instant winner in the NASCAR Busch North Series (BNS) a couple of years later. Coincidentally, it will be at the site of his first BNS win that he will step into his most promising opportunity yet -- driving the #1 Yellow Chevrolet at New Hampshire International Speedway (NHIS) this weekend for the Busch 200 (12:30 p.m. EDT on FX). This is, as he calls it, the chance of a lifetime.
Truex will pilot Yellow's prized machine in the place of regular driver Jimmy Spencer, who will be taking advantage of Winston Cup's off weekend to spend time with his family and to celebrate his son's 16th birthday.
"The Magic Mile" has been good to Truex, a second-generation Busch North Series driver. Aside from his win at NHIS in 2000, he has two runner-up finishes and four top-10s in five races there. He also has two Bud Pole Awards to his name at Loudon.
Continued success at NHIS this weekend would be good timing for a young driver looking to make a name for himself in NASCAR's higher ranks. That said, Truex sits down to talk about his golden opportunity and what he expects this weekend.
Driver Martin Truex Jr.'s thoughts --
You were named the fill-in driver for this race about a month ago, and now the time is finally here. How much have you been thinking about this weekend?
"Honestly, it's all I've been thinking about. It's the opportunity of a lifetime for me. I've been pretty busy with other stuff, but running the Yellow Chevy at New Hampshire has always been on my mind ever since they called me. I've really been looking forward to this opportunity. It's a pretty big deal for me, and I'm hoping that everything goes well. I want to just go there and do what I've always done -- give 110 percent and come up with a good finish."
Are you nervous about getting into a Busch Series car?
"No, I don't think so. I might be a little nervous come race time because I didn't have a chance to test. Also, I'll be working with new people. My main concern is getting comfortable in the car. Depending on how quick I become comfortable in the car will play a role in how well I do in the race."
Do you expect big differences between your Busch North car and the Busch car you'll be driving for Yellow?
"Not at all. There are little things that are different, like the tires and the horsepower, but I expect to get in the car and drive well. It's really important to get the car to roll through the corners. That makes all the difference right there. The track is a little different now since they've moved the apron down 12 feet. When they did that, they opened up an extra lane in the corners. There's also a different kind of asphalt on the track. I'll run the Busch North car on Thursday, and hopefully that will help me figure out the track in time to get in the Busch car on Friday."
What are your goals this weekend in the #1 Yellow Chevrolet?
"My goal is to qualify in the top 10. I want to finish this race with a good run and get some experience in this kind of car. I'm not expecting to go out there and win, but I do expect to run good and be competitive. I don't want to go out there and just ride around, and I don't think the team wants that either. I'll run it hard and do the best I can."
Car Chief Johnny Allen's thoughts --
You're going into this race with a new driver. How will that change the strategy for this weekend?
"What we'll do is go in with our past notes from Loudon, go with a set-up that we think will work, and then let Martin go with it and see what he thinks. Then we'll go from there. We know that we have good cars, and he gets around that track really well. I don't think there will be any major problems."
What are your expectations heading into this weekend with a new driver?
"All we can do is run as good as we can. Our expectations are to give Martin a car that he is capable of winning the race with. We've had new drivers step in in the middle of the season before and done well with them. Back in '97 when (Jeff) Purvis drove for us, we had a new driver come in. We went to South Boston (Va.) with Dale Shaw and ran second. Then we went to Loudon with him and ran fourth. A good driver is a good driver. If Martin gets around Loudon well, we shouldn't have a problem."
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