Martin Truex Jr. wasn't always a big fan of Martinsville Speedway. But, that’s before he started driving for Michael Waltrip Racing.
Before his 2010 MWR arrival, the Mayetta, N.J. driver posted one top-10 finish in eight races. He’s earned two top-five and three top-10 finishes in five races with MWR.
Sunday’s event on the flat, Virginia half-mile track is the most important Martinsville race of Truex’s career. The No. 56 team is sixth in NASCAR’s Chase for the Sprint Cup — 43 points out of first.
He hopes participation in an Aug. 7 Goodyear tire test will give the NAPA team a head start this weekend. Only four races remain in the 2012 Chase.
Martin Truex Jr. on Returning to Martinsville: “I think we learned quite a bit from the Goodyear Tire test that can help us. The thing about Martinsville that makes it so unique is the concrete in the corners. This place changes so much as you go through all the practice sessions and the Truck Series activities. The track gets rubbered up over the course of a weekend. The track was very, very green at the test. Come Sunday, it will be a lot different than the way it was at the test as well as the way it will be on Friday and Saturday. For me, Martinsville is one of the toughest tracks to get a hold of.”
Crew Chief Chad Johnston on Martinsville: “I think we learned a lot at the 2013 test. Our team has finished well there the last couple of years. Martin doesn’t see Martinsville as being one of his best tracks, but in our cars, I think he’s pretty impressive. He’s a lot better than he thinks he is. I feel pretty good about the package we are taking for this weekend. I like our chances.”
Johnston on Championship Bid: “We moved up a spot this week. It’s a tall order for us to win, but we’re not out of it by any means. We have a lot of ground to gain, but it is not impossible. All it takes is one bad day and you are out. The further you are up in the points, the fewer people in front of you that are going to have a bad day. The competition is that tough. All we can do is keep doing what we are doing. It’s all about getting wins and top fives. Anything less is not going to cut it. For us, we’re swinging at the fences and see how it all plays out. Our goal is 2012 was to make the Chase and to finish in the top five. It is no small task when you look at all the great teams contending for the championship. For this being our first appearance in the Chase and to have another teammate in there with us, it says a lot about MWR as an organization.”