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Feb 14, 2013 - 07:03 PM
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2013 Daytona 500 Q&A: NASCAR Sprint Cup - Martin Truex Jr
Posted by: ASkyler on Feb 14, 2013 - 07:00 PM
2013 Daytona 500 Q&A: NASCAR Sprint Cup - Martin Truex Jr

MARTIN TRUEX JR., No. 56 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing How important was your NSCS win in 2007 to your career to date? "It was huge -- '07, I remember that day like it was yesterday. Since I was a little kid, I dreamed about winning -- which was then Winston Cup when I was a kid -- dreamed about winning in Sprint Cup and to be able to do that was awesome. I probably didn't cherish it quite enough because I really thought another one would come a whole lot sooner. I'm still waiting, so it was like, 'Okay, I got the first one out of the way, it's time to start winning a bunch,' and I've been real close a whole bunch of times, but obviously haven't gotten it done again. So, I think the important part for me will be when I get my next one -- I say when because I'm going to -- to enjoy it a little bit more and cherish it more."

How does MWR approach a new vehicle after such a successful 2012 season? "Well, there's obviously going to be a lot to learn. There's going to be a lot of new things for us this year. The car that we've been used to, we've been working on for years and years and this one is brand new, so there is going to be a lot to learn. There's going to be a lot of things throughout the season that change and it's going to be important to be able to keep up with those changes, to be thinking ahead all the time and try to really be prepared for just about anything But, I feel like we've got a good -- obviously, with what we did last year, where we came from as a team in the past year and a half to get to where we were, I feel like the general confidence inside of the team, the way we transformed the team before and what we were able to do throughout last year, I think is definitely going to play in our favor. I think it's something that we hope will continue to keep working -- that recipe that we used for success last year -- hopefully it will keep working. Obviously, there is going to be a lot different, but I think a lot of the same things are going to work and the way our team works together, the teamwork inside Michael Waltrip Racing -- those are the things that are going to help us figure out this new car and hopefully quicker than everybody else and we can start the season off strong and get some momentum going."


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Do you think the new car better suits your driving style? "I feel like it -- it fits me a little bit better. This car demands you to drive it. It wants you to be aggressive. It likes to be pushed. The car we've been running the last few years is the opposite -- it's always telling you to slow down and wait and be patient and be smooth. I don't like that. I like to attack. I like to drive the car. It's so much fun to drive this new car because of that. It challenges you as a driver to push it and I really enjoy that, so I think it fits my style better for sure and hopefully that will be the case come race time."

Does the new vehicle create more excitement to start the season? "I really think so. I really do and you know we're race car drivers -- we grew up driving cars because we loved it and it's fun and it's exciting and that's back. Yeah, I think that's why so many people are a fan of this car driving it. Obviously, the looks of it too -- these things look like race cars. They're awesome looking. I look at mine and I'm like, 'Man, this thing's cool. It's so cool I get to drive this thing.' Then on top of that again, the car being fun to drive and you can be aggressive and feel like as a driver you can make a difference. That's pretty cool."

How important is the re-emphasis on manufacturer identity in NASCAR? "It's a great thing for us. I think it's something that's hurt the sport in the last few years. When I was a kid, half the reason I pulled for a few of my favorites was because of what kind of car they drove. I'd be like, 'My dad drives that kind of car, so does he, that's awesome.' We get that back. Our Camry looks just like the Camry that we saw being built last week in Kentucky. It's amazing. The fans can really relate to that and they can say, 'Man, look, this guys out there winning in the car that I'm driving to work tomorrow.' That's awesome. That's part of the sport that's been gone for the last few years and I think it's important that we got it back."

Do you feel like you have a new toy? "We do have new toys. Absolutely. That's exactly how we feel. It's like, 'Okay, how can we figure out how to beat the other guys?' It's the same, but it's different. We do this every year with the same -- NASCAR gives us a car, they give us rules and we say, 'Hmm, okay, how do we outsmart the rest of the guys?' So, that's fun. It's pretty cool to be able to do that and be a part of that. It can be your best friend some days or your worst enemy on others, but it sure is fun."

MARTIN TRUEX JR., No. 56 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing (continued) Do you think teams are looking at the Daytona 500 differently with new vehicles? "Absolutely. I think being that this car is new and the rules package is new, I'm sure that each team probably has a bit of a different outlook on how they're going to approach this weekend. I'm sure that NASCAR has a little bit of an idea of how the teams might approach it and we'll see what they're ready for. Most of the teams are going to see what they can get away with first couple of times through tech. You figure we're down here a week -- they're going to have plenty of time to go through that room. There will be plenty of guys making laps through the 'room of doom' in trying to see what they can get away with. That's for sure. You can count on that."

What do you think about when you're headed to Daytona to start the season? "Well, I think first and foremost we had a long off-season. We're all kind of chomping at the bit to get out there on the race track and get going and that's the first thing that comes to mind. It's like, 'Okay, we're here.' When you drive in the tunnel, you're like, 'It's Daytona. We're back. It's time to start the season again.' And to start it off with the biggest race of the year, it's pretty darn cool. It's something every year when you first come in here you're like, 'Wow, I can't believe the offseason is over, but I'm ready to get going.' We've been testing. We've been working on the cars and talking about how good we're going to do and everybody thinks they have the points lead right now because they sort of do. Now it's time ti out up or shut up. It's time to put them on the race track and see what you've got, so we're excited to get out there and hopefully have some fun this week."

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