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Oct 26, 2012 - 06:02 PM
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2012 Martinsville II Q&A: NASCAR Sprint Cup - Martin Truex Jr
Posted by: ASkyler on Oct 26, 2012 - 05:54 PM
2012 Martinsville II Q&A: NASCAR Sprint Cup - Martin Truex Jr

MARTIN TRUEX JR., No. 56 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing What caused the spin in practice? "Wheel-hopping. I was trying to get a good lap in and just rear brakes -- had a little too much rear brake in it and started wheel-hopping. It's all good. Didn't hit anything so I'm happy about that."

How does the car feel in qualifying trim? "I'm feeling pretty good. I think we've got a good idea of what to do to make the car faster. We've been pretty much too loose all day long and that run was obviously too loose again because we spun out. We made a lot of headway and I feel like we'll be pretty close for qualifying and hopefully get a good lap. Starting up front is important here so if we can get a good qualifying effort and a good pit stall then that will definitely help us a lot for Sunday."


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Do you like racing at Martinsville? "It's not one of my favorites -- not going to lie about that. It's been a tough track for me, but Chad (Johnston, crew chief) keeps reminding me that the last couple times we've been here we've run in the top-10 and we were fifth in the spring. We've had good races here -- it's just not one of my favorites. I have a hard time trying to figure out what I need on Saturday for practice to be good on Sunday. The concrete is tough because it changes so much throughout the weekend. I haven't quite got comfortable with what exactly I need. We've been running well here the past few trips and we have a brand new car this weekend for the race. The guys are optimistic about it. Looking forward to the weekend and hopefully we'll have a good day."

Is it difficult to get in a rhythm at Martinsville? "That's hardest thing for me here is getting in that rhythm and backing up my entry. I always tend to drive into the corner too far and heat the brakes up and make the front tires mad. Then the thing won't turn in the center of the corner. You try to get it to turn in the middle and you can't get off the corner -- you lose that forward bite and you end up burning the rear tires off. That's the tough balance here is you have to really finesse the car -- you have to let the car do the work and it takes me a little bit throughout the weekend to kind of get that. I tend to overdo it a lot. Obviously, I did in my last qualifying run -- I overdid the entry a little bit. I have to work on that and keep that in mind throughout the weekend."

Are the drivers that perform well at Martinsville able to find the rhythm? "As far as I can tell, yes. I haven't figured out exactly what they're doing or I would be trying to do what they are. There are a couple guys that have a knack for this place -- the braking and getting off the corner. That's where the guys that are good are able to roll the center and really get off the corner well, especially in the race when the track rubbers up then it gets harder to get that forward bite off the corner."

How can this race impact your quest for the championship? "Like I said, we ran fifth in the spring and we ran good here both times last year -- I just don't feel like this is one of my best race tracks. I do think we can have a good weekend. Chad (Johnston, crew chief) thinks we can win it. We just do what we always do and go through practice and try to get it as good as we can and make sure it's adjustable enough for the race. It could go either way here -- we've started the race here before really tight and had to loosen up a lot and started the race here really loose and had to tighten it up before. It's one of those places where it's really tough for us to get the balance right so you need to be able to go far in the race as far as adjustments go. We'll be prepared for everything or try to be at least and hopefully, start the race where we need to be. Today is pretty important in qualifying so we're pretty focused on that right now."

Do you look forward to Texas next weekend? "I am looking forward to it -- the mile-and-a-half cars have been so good this year, all three of our cars. Chad's (Johnston, crew chief) given me some really, really fast cars on mile-and-a-halves. Obviously, Atlanta a few weeks ago and even last week at Kansas. Definitely looking forward to Texas. We sat on the pole there in the spring race and led a few laps. We ran top-five most of the night -- top-three or so. Look forward to going there and getting to victory lane -- it's been way too long and I know we've been knocking on that door and it's time to open the thing up."

MARTIN TRUEX JR., No. 56 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing (continued) Have you ever been injured enough to sit out of a race? "Not anytime with anything serious with what happened to (Dale Earnhardt) Junior or guys having surgery on their legs or whatever. Never broken anything or had anything major damages -- knock on wood. I've been very, very fortunate over the years obviously -- I've been racing for 21 years now and to have never been hurt. I've had guys on top of me in go-karts. I've went through wooden walls in my modified. Took down a flag stand one night. I've been in some pretty crazy crashes. When I ran Busch North at Watkins Glen a guy went over top of me and took the whole roof and half the roll cage off my car and I stood up and got out of it. Been very fortunate to never get hurt in any of those situations. At Atlanta in 2009 I passed a kidney stone during practice and never got out of the car. I guess that's gutting it out. It was pretty rough. I remember telling the crew chief I came in the garage because he wanted to change something because the car was off a little bit and I'm like, 'I don't care what you do, but just get me out of here.' When I was on the track running, it felt a whole lot better, but when I sat in the garage I felt like I was going to die. That was the worst thing I've ever went through in my life. It was pretty bad, but I kept practicing."

Were you surprised at how few cautions there were at Texas in the spring? "I think that it wasn't surprising at all. We go to those tracks that have multiple grooves and you can pretty much run -- it's like Kansas last week, the reason you see cautions is because the groove was narrow and the guys were forced to run close and tight, the tires were hard and on the restarts the guys were sliding around. At Texas, you have some options. You can run almost all the way against the wall there -- three lanes, there is probably four good lanes of racing there. When you have options it's easier to stay off of people and kind of find your own way around the track without getting in trouble."

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