Thursday, Jul 07

Toyota NCS Daytona Quotes - Martin Truex Jr.

MARTIN TRUEX JR., No. 19 Bass Pro Shops Toyota Camry TRD, Joe Gibbs Racing  

Where do things stand on your contract after 2022?

“We haven’t talked anything about it. I just got to Daytona for race one, so we’ll go down the road here and see how things go for a while and we’ll make that decision when we’re ready.”

 

Do you envision that the last lap or two will have the same drama with this new car?

“I’m not sure we really know that answer yet. I think there’s going to be a lot to be learned throughout this week. I certainly have literally no experience in this car on this track other than yesterday. I think there’s going to be a lot of learning and a lot of guys trying to figure things out throughout the week. For me, I hope I can make it to the last lap. It’s been difficult in years past. I think the last time I finished this race was 2016. Hopefully we have a little better luck this week. We’re just going to have to figure it out. I honestly have no idea what it’s going to be like. Typically, you need to be at the front no matter what. It’s going to be two, three-wide so it’s hard to get through a lot of cars. But aside from that how we do it and how the draft works, what’s going to be the best position to be in and all of those things are yet to be seen.”

 

Can you talk about what happened last year at COTA?

“For me it was the same situation. I hit the 34 (Michael McDowell) car. I guess he couldn’t see so he slowed down, and I was wide open, and I literally seen his brake light flash and he was on the hood at the same time. That’s it. I think that’s what happened with Cole. He came up behind and we were going slow because we were crashed, and he was wide open. Very difficult to see. Basically, he couldn’t see going flat out through the gears. Pretty crazy.”

 

What was the impact like?

“I thought I was flipping when Cole (Custer) hit me. I really did, but luckily, I didn’t. It honestly wasn’t that bad other than that.”

 

How long do you think it’s going to take for you to reprogram yourself with this new car or do you think your previous experience could affect you negatively?

“I hope not. I don’t know, honestly. So far with the running that we’ve done with this car there’s been a lot of learning and a lot of changing. I think a guy in my situation I’ve been around a while and been through a lot of different changes. There’s a lot of different cars and things like that. Obviously, this day and age it’s a lot easier to learn these things because you have all of the data, you have SMT and you can see what everybody’s doing. Back in the day when I started it was all a big mystery. You didn’t know. You had to figure it out. You could kind of watch a guy and think you know what he was doing, but you may not have known exactly what it was and now you can see all of that stuff. So, I think that just brings the field closer. It’s hard to have secrets, it’s hard to not see somebody’s driving style or a guy that’s faster than you – how’s he doing it? You can go look at it and then you just have to make yourself change. We’ve done this for years with setup changes and car changes and all of these different things. You have to drive the cars different when the tires are changed, etc. So, I think you learn to adapt over time, but does he have a point? Maybe. I don’t know. I just think it depends on the guy and how willing he is to do whatever it takes and listen to his team and look at the data and make those changes.”

 

If your career ends without a Daytona 500, is that going to leave a hole on your resumé?

“I would certainly like to win it. I’m the closest one to winning it that hasn’t, I guess. That really doesn’t mean a whole lot. It’s a big race. It’s the biggest race in our sport. It’s on that we’ve tried every year to win and been close. I don’t know I never have really thought about it. I think we’ve got a good opportunity this weekend. We have a great team, and we will take advantage of that and a new car with a lot of unknowns. We will see who figures it out. Just watching practice yesterday, everybody was on different agendas, trying to learn as much as possible. I think we will have a great chance, just have to make it to the end. It’s been a tough luck track for us over the years. Hopefully, we can change that this weekend.”

 

How big is the issue for all teams when it comes to part shortages?

“I think right now, it’s a problem for everyone. Everybody is probably planning on trying to make it through the Duels with this car that we showed up with. We’re in a little better shape than we were about a week ago. I think we have another car or two this week. James (Small, crew chief) thinks we are in a really good spot. If we can just make it through the Duels with this car, we will be in good shape for a while. It’s getting better, just going to take a little bit of time.”

 

How do you orchestrate the pit stops at this point?

“It’s going to – I’m sure – bite some people. I really have no ideas. Pit stops are all about timing. You kind of know when you stop, and the jack goes up how much time it will be. You kind of have a little bit of a routine with the gearing and the clutch and wear your feet are on the pedals trying to leave the box, so definitely a little bit different here. It’s just something we have to get used to. It’s going to be weird the first time I’m sure – the first couple times – just figuring it all out. Pedals are different, shifters are different. The timing is going to be all different for us.”


What do you expect out of the Duels?

“I don’t really know. I feel like it’s going to be long green flag runs – I think there is a chance that we go green the whole way, and that’s going to separate the fast cars from guys that are maybe a little bit slower, but I don’t even know if we know who those are going to be. I think the field is going to get separated some. There is going to be a big pack. There is going to be a fast pack and a slower pack. We are going to be separated. Hopefully, we are in the front where we are going to be safe and get through the race and get a good starting spot.”

 

How significant has it been to add Kurt Busch to the Toyota team?

“I think it’s going to be a good thing with his experience driving different teams and cars. He’s got a lot of insight about what goes on. Having another experienced guy is always good. He’s a champion and has won a lot of races. We’ve got a strong lineup, and everything is equal. The better we all run, the better it elevates all of us. We will have that internal competition as always. Everyone wants to be the top guy, right? But we all work really well together during the week, and I think we all have a lot of respect for Kurt (Busch) and what he brings to the table.”

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