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Sep 07, 2012 - 07:29 PM
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· 2012 Richmond II: NASCAR Sprint Cup Qualifying Results - Earnhardt Jr, Chevrolet On Pole! (Sep 7, 2012)
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· 2012 Richmond II: NASCAR Sprint Cup Final Practice Results - Edwards, Ford Fastest! (Sep 7, 2012)
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2012 Richmond II Q&A: NASCAR Sprint Cup - Martin Truex Jr
Posted by: ASkyler on Sep 07, 2012 - 07:22 PM
2012 Richmond II Q&A: NASCAR Sprint Cup - Martin Truex Jr

MARTIN TRUEX JR., No. 56 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing Does it feel good to have two Michael Waltrip Racing cars in the Chase? "It does -- it feels awesome and what an accomplishment for our team. I know a lot of people look at the Chase and they're used to seeing the same faces and maybe kind of take it for granted how important it is or how special it is to make that deal. For us, it's been a big goal for a few years now since I've been at Michael Waltrip Racing. One of our main goals before the year started was, 'Okay, how are we going to make the Chase?' To be able to come in here today with two cars in the Chase and being able to accomplish one of our goals is huge for us and just so proud of the team for what they've accomplished and from where we've come. Excited to be here at Richmond locked in with nothing to lose -- go out and have some fun. Excited about the opportunity that we have in the next 10 weeks after this one. With the way our team is running, our NAPA Toyota has been really strong, especially as of late. I feel like we can go into the Chase and make some noise, so looking forward to that and hopefully maybe we'll even have a win before it starts here at Richmond."


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How do you measure your odds in the Chase? "Well, I think you have to obviously sit down and look at your strengths and your weaknesses. From my perspective, there is a few tracks in the Chase that I look at already and say, 'If I can get through these three tracks and have good days, I feel like we'll be in the hunt come Homestead (Miami Speedway).' I think everybody looks at their situation. Obviously, we don't have a lot of Chase experience. We don't have a lot of expectations other than we know what our team is capable of and we're going to go in there and do our best every weekend to try and make a statement so to speak. I think we've got a great chance and, for us, we're definitely going to sit back and look at it all and try to come up with a plan. What we've done all year has been great, but we need to start winning, so we're going to try to do that."

Do you look at your team like a spoiler in this year's Chase? "I guess you could. Obviously, it's the first time we've had a car from our team (Michael Waltrip Racing) in the Chase and to have two that's a pretty big deal, like I said earlier. I feel like we've definitely taken up two spots. There's only 12 and no matter how you look at it, somebody is going have to be in and somebody is going to have to be out. I'm just glad we're in it and don't have to worry about it. I don't care who's in it to be honest with you. Just glad I am in and Clint (Bowyer)."

Is there any pressure to help Kyle Busch qualify for the Chase? "I think Kyle (Busch) is on his own this weekend as far as that goes. He's got to win the race. Nobody is going to pull over for him. If I'm leading, I'm certainly not going to pull over for him. It would be great obviously to have another Toyota in there. Our teams have worked closely together -- Joe Gibbs Racing and Michael Waltrip Racing -- obviously we share a lot of things with TRD and stuff, so it would be awesome. There's really nothing you can do aside from giving him a spot, which isn't going to happen."

How will the new rear end rule impact the Chase? "That's hard to say. We'll have to wait and see. Those types of things that they (Hendrick Motorsports) were doing worked different at different race tracks. It just depends on the race tracks we're going to. Obviously, the high-grip places like Pocono, Michigan, the repaves, that stuff they had worked really well. They were dominant. Indianapolis where obviously the straightaways are long, the aerodynamics are huge because of the flat corners and the high speeds. It's going to be tough to say how much their cars are going to change. We don't know how much the bushings were actually doing. I don't. I know they were doing something. We all know they were doing something, but I don't think it's just the bushings that are doing it. And I don't think them taking away a quarter of three-eighths of an inch of movement in the bushing is going to slow their cars down half a second. I don't see a lot changing, but we're worried about what we're doing and our cars are fast every week and I feel like we can challenge them whether they have the bushings or not."

Do you think Jimmie Johnson is being truthful about the Hendrick bushings? "I'm not going to say he's lying. I'm just going to say maybe he's stretching the truth a little bit. I think there's maybe a little bit more to it than that. Again, these are all opinions, right? We all have one and they all stink."

Is this a rule change or cleaning up a gray area? "I don't know the exact details of the way the rules were written before, the details of the way the rules were written before and the way -- I don't even know if the way the rule was written has been changed or if it's brought out new light or if they're really going to keep an eye on it better. I don't know if they've let some things slide in the past that maybe they're tightening up on. I'm not exactly sure to be honest, so I don't want to say something and get myself into too much trouble here."

MARTIN TRUEX JR., No. 56 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing (continued) Are you saying Jimmie Johnson isn't telling the truth? "I didn't say anything. All I said was I think there's a little bit more to it than what he led on. Not accusing anybody of anything."

What would it mean to win a championship for Michael Waltrip Racing? "It would be absolutely incredible. That's what we're all here for and that's what we're working towards as a team. It's all a process. You've got to crawl before you walk, you've got to walk before you can run and I feel like we've taken great strides and I feel like we're in position that if we can get on a hot streak, I feel like that's a possibility to be able to go out and challenge for the championship. It's not going to be easy. We're obviously not favorites, but I feel like as far as we've come in the last year I hope that we can continue the success we've had and continue to get better. It would be awesome to make Michael (Waltrip, co-owner) a championship car owner and Rob (Kauffman, co-owner) who has come on and been a huge part of our team. Just do what we can do and see what happens."

Will there be announcement for your brother and his 2013 plans soon? "Yeah, hopefully. We're just working hard on putting sponsorship together for him and try to put together a full-time Nationwide ride. He's obviously done a great job in his part-time schedule that he's had and he's been close to victory lane as well with only a handful of starts this year, so he's got a lot of talent. He's really enthusiastic about racing and pretty much all he ever talks and thinks about. We're excited to give him some opportunities to get where he needs to be. It's just all driven by sponsorship. If you can find the money, you can pretty much go anywhere you want and do anything you want anymore, so it's one of those things where we just have to get him the right funding to get him in the right position with the right people that believe in him and will put a team behind him where he can go out and build his career around."

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