No. 56 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota Camry driver Martin Truex Jr. has come close to winning the Daytona 500 two times in the last three seasons. The Michael Waltrip Racing driver led the race with two laps to go in 2010 and last year held the top spot for 17 circuits. This weekend Truex will compete in the Budweiser Shootout at Daytona on Saturday night and single-car qualifying on Sunday.
Truex plans to add to his sponsor’s legacy at NASCAR’s most prestigious track. A NAPA-sponsored car has visited Daytona’s victory lane five times. Michael Waltrip won two Daytona 500s and two qualifying races along with a victory in the July race in the familiar blue-and-yellow paint scheme.
TRUEX ON RUNNING IN THE SHOOTOUT: “It’s a good race for everyone to get back into the racing mode. It is a race, but it is not the Daytona 500 so the pressure isn’t there. This race is about learning a few things, drafting with new teammates and winning. With all the rule changes, we’ll get a good idea of what we need to work on for the 500.”
WHAT HE EXPECTS TO SEE ON TRACK: “I think we are going to see both the two-car draft and big-pack racing. With the amount of times that we are going to have to switch, it’s going to cause congestion. It’s going to make a big pack at some point. How long the pack will last? I don’t know until we get out there. There are a bunch of variables — driver movement, weather conditions and what the new rule package creates on track.”
ON QUALIFYING: “If we can earn a spot on the front row, it would be a huge honor for the NAPA team and Toyota. The pressure would be off in racing the Duels, but at the same time, it will be critical to keep that car intact during the Duels and final practice. It’s a unique qualifying format that’s for sure.”
ON WINNING THE DAYTONA 500: “It would mean everything to me and my sponsor NAPA. It’s the biggest race of our season and it’s interesting that we start off with our Super Bowl. We go down there for 10 days and the excitement is just over the top. So many great drivers have won that race, including my car owner two times, now it’s time for me to win this deal. I’ve been in position to win a few times and have even dreamed about it. Hopefully I’ll know what it feels like in a few days.”
ADDITIONAL NOTES OF INTEREST
· NAPA KNOW HOW NUGGET: NAPA Jacksonville is challenging Truex and his team to a Cookout Challenge. The first team to get a win/hit a record sales month, gets lunch cooked by the losing team. According to Truex, “The NAPA Cookout Challenge is a neat deal and I’m excited that Joe Keppel (General Manager, NAPA Jacksonville Distribution Center) used our NASCAR program to get his team charged up for this season. Obviously, it is an exciting time for his team if they can have a record sales month and the same for us when we get our first win for NAPA. I always like a little friendly competition.”
· NAPA HONORS: NAPA Racing will host the Honorary Pit Crew Member program at the Daytona 500. David Penland of Jacksonville, Fla., and Mike Miller of Tampa, Fla., will be honored in NAPA pre-race festivities and have their names decaled on the No. 56 Toyota.
· STAY TUNED: NAPA will launch its new NAPA KNOW HOW commercial featuring Martin Truex Jr. and Michael Waltrip during the Daytona 500 on FOX.
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