Joe Gibbs Racing driver Martin Truex Jr. was made available to media after before practice for the NASCAR Cup Series event at Bristol Motor Speedway on Friday:
MARTIN TRUEX JR., No. 19 Bass Pro Shops Toyota Camry TRD, Joe Gibbs Racing
If you don’t advance, is there something wrong with the system?
“I don’t think so, we just had two terrible races. That’s kind of the way it is. You can’t afford to have bad races and we’ve had two of the three so far. Hopefully tomorrow night goes better.”
What is it like to be in your position?
“It’s a terrible spot to be in, last week, we didn’t even get a chance to race, which was disappointing. I felt like it was probably the best car I had on a mile-and-a-half all year long. I was really excited about it after coming off a tough Darlington race, and then two laps in, you feel like you’re in trouble with a flat tire and it turns out you ran something over. It’s terrible bad luck. I don’t know what you do about it. You just move on and do the best you can tomorrow night. Obviously, it’s a bad spot to be in.”
What is it about Texas that hasn’t suited your driving style?
“It’s been different things over the years. It’s always been a good track for us. Last year, we were leading, and we blew a tire. It’s one of those plays that I feel like we’ve been snakebit a lot We’ve had some good runs, and we’ve had some struggles at times since they repaved it. It’s just one of those things. It’s been up-and-down, but I feel confident going there with what we have this year that we will run well, especially, after we did last year. It’s been tough. Got poles there, led lots of laps, just haven’t been able to win at. Always look forward going there, and I think next week we will have a good shot to win.”
What can you tell us about your approach that doesn’t allow you to be bothered in this situation?
“I think just working together for a while helps. We feel confident in one another and our abilities. I’ve got a great team. I know what they are capable of. For me, you can’t change what happened last week or the week before – you just learn from it and move on and try not to let it affect this week. Tomorrow night is a big race. This hasn’t been our best place, by any means, but I look forward to the challenge. It’s going to be what it’s going to be. We just have to do our best. Hopefully, it shakes out and we can start round two in a good spot again.”
Why hasn’t Bristol been good to you and does it make you nervous?
“I guess a little bit. I think it has been a lot of different issues over the years. We’ve run well here at times. We’ve certainly struggled at times, but I think everybody has. This place is tricky with the spray, and the groove moving around. We won’t race where we practice. It’s a little bit of a challenge there, but all of the times we’ve run here it’s always been a flat tire or a loose wheel. I can’t even use both hands to count all of the times that has happened. It’s just been a tough place, hopefully no bad luck tomorrow night and we can go just have a smooth race and hopefully have the performance to get the job done.”
Are you approaching that you can still point your way in?
“That’s the goal every week – try to get as many points as you can. You want to run up front and be in the mix with whatever position you are in. We certainly try to do that. It is going to be tough to point our way in, but it is a long race and a lot can happen and we are looking forward to the opportunity.”
What is the balance of looking at where your competitors are doing versus what you are doing tomorrow night?
“You kind of just take it as it comes. Right now, we know where we stand and what we have to do, but things change and if things change in a major way, they will let me know, but we just have to go race and do the best job that we can do.”
Do you have to be a jerk tomorrow night?
Are you comfortable with that?
“No, of course not. I’m not really good at hypotheticals, either (laughter). We will see how it plays out tomorrow night and what position we are in and what needs to be done and go from there and make a decision on the fly.”
Is it similar feeling to the Championship 4 race?
“I don’t know. I guess it feels a little bit similar, but at the same time different. You always go to the last race knowing that you are only racing three other guys, and tomorrow night, we essentially have no idea who we are racing yet, so we just have to go and not over complicate it and go and give our best effort and not have any mistakes and stay on top of things. I think we are ready to do it, just again, wait and see. We are ready to go. What’s going to happen is going to happen.”
Are the mechanical issues that were suffered last year worked out for this season’s race?
“I think the issue we had with the steering should be worked out. I don’t think you know for sure until you come here. This place is so unique. Nowhere else we race is like this and puts such a demand on the steering system, so your guess is as good as mine, but I think it should be fine. I don’t think it should be an issue. Tire wise, I don’t know. A lot of times, that is just bad luck like last week. We must have run something over on pace laps or coming down pit road for our speed check. You just never know with tires.”
After a couple bad weeks, does Catwalk for a Cause put things in a different perspective?
“Yeah, for sure. It always does. Even after a good week, it’s always a reminder of what people are going through. A lot of people are dealing with a lot of bad things, and we are all very lucky to be here doing this, and that’s kind of the way I approach it.”
How successful was it?
“I don’t know exactly yet, but it was amazing. Everybody did a great job. It was a lot of fun. The kids were awesome, and they had a blast. That is what it is all about.”