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Jun 20, 2014 - 06:42 PM
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2014 Sonoma Q&A: NASCAR Sprint Cup - Martin Truex Jr
Posted by: ASkyler on Jun 20, 2014 - 06:39 PM
NASCAR News
2014 Sonoma Q&A: NASCAR Sprint Cup - Martin Truex Jr


MARTIN TRUEX JR., NO. 78 FURNITURE ROW RACING CHEVROLET SS, met with members of the media at Sonoma Raceway to talk about the first practice session, coming back as defending race-winner and the effect of race strategies on tire selection.

YOU HAD A HOT ROD IN PRACTICE EARLIER. TELL US WHAT IT WILL TAKE TO GET IT TO VICTORY LANE SUNDAY:

"As you said, practice went well with our Furniture Row Chevy, and we’re looking forward to the rest of the day. This track is difficult to keep the tires on. The key to the race will be being good on longer runs and having good tire management. Obviously pit strategy always come in to play here at Sonoma. Hopefully we will have the right pit strategy and have a good car on the longer runs. I felt like we had a good first practice and feel like the car is close. There is room for improvement. We are working on that now for the second practice."

 

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YOUR CAR HAS BEEN COMING ON AS WE GO INTO THE SUMMER MONTHS. TALK ABOUT THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE 78 TEAM AND HOW THAT IS COMING ALONG:

"It’s been a really tough season. It’s been a lot of tough luck and a lot of things that just keep happening. You wonder what’s going to happen next. So it’s been a tough season. But through it all, I feel like the team has done a really good job of staying positive, working on race cars and focusing on the things we have learned to try to get better. Certainly we haven’t been as competitive as we’d like to be, but we’re definitely nowhere near a 25th place team, which is where we are in points. Just keep plugging away and working on it. The guys are staying positive and that’s been a good thing for us. The car has been getting faster. We just have to finish races. Hopefully this weekend we turn it around and have a good solid run and a shot at defending the race win."

THE TIMES YOU WERE TURNING PRACTICE, THE ONLY GUYS QUICKER THAN YOU WERE UNDER THE TRACK RECORD. THE TRACK SEEMS TO BE IN PRETTY GOOD SHAPE. IS THAT YOUR VIEW?

"The track is in good shape. Today being hot and sunny is a good advantage for everyone as it will give us a good idea of what we’re going to have Sunday. Typically the track is a little better in practice than it is in the race, so you kind of get a false sense of ‘OK, I think my car is pretty good’, then race starts and you say, ‘Whoa, I was wrong.’ Today will give us a good indication of what we’ll have Sunday. The track is good shape. The tire that Goodyear brought here seems to have a little more grip taking off. But it still wears out like it always did. It will be a lot of fun Sunday and we have to hope we get our Furniture Row Chevy dialed in better than anyone else."

COMING BACK AS THE CHAMPION HERE, DO YOU GET A DIFFERENT LOOK OR DIFFERENT WALK AROUND HERE? YOU TALKED ABOUT THE TIRES HERE AND THE PITS, BUT ISN’T IT TRUE THAT THIS IS ONE OF THOSE PLACES WHERE THE FASTEST CAR IS THE WINNING CAR?

"I think at any road course, a lot comes into the strategy. If the caution falls at the wrong time, you can have the fastest and be out front, but it can come out and ruin your race. You have to have a little bit of luck on your side, for sure. A fast car is the first thing you want to work on; that’s what we are doing here today. But on Sunday a lot of things change. Obviously we hope to have a little better luck than we’ve had this season because we haven’t had much of that. Hopefully that will turn around for us.

"As far as being the defending champion, it’s a great feeling. It definitely gives you a lot of confidence but you have to be careful with that. You can’t get stuck on what you did last year and what did we have in the race car. This is a new season. The rules are a lot different and the cars are a lot different. You have to be open-minded. I have a different race team and our cars are a lot different than what I ran here last year. You have to be open-minded and be ready for new things. Hopefully we make the right decisions to put ourselves in position to win this thing again. So far today has gone well and hopefully we can keep improving on that."

I WANT TO LOOK AHEAD A COUPLE OF WEEKS TO DAYTONA. YOU HAD SUCH A GREAT WEEKEND BUT DIDN’T TURN OUT SO WELL. HOW CONFIDENT ARE YOU GOING BACK?

"That’s a tough one to answer. Restrictor-plate racing is a crapshoot. We’ve had pretty bad luck this year and I don’t really want to talk about it to be honest with you. Let’s focus on this weekend first and see what we can do here."

YOU RAN A THREE-STOP STRATEGY LAST YEAR? CAN YOU TALK ABOUT HOW YOU GUYS CAME ABOUT THAT AND THE CHALLENGE OF HAVING THOSE OLDER TIRES AT THE END WHEN OTHER PEOPLE HAD FRESHER TIRES AND WAS TRYING TO MAKE A RUN AT THE END?

"Yeah, it was a three-stop strategy but we only put tires on twice so it was more like a two-stop strategy. We were able to stop and top off; we may have run three or four laps after we went green and were risky on whether we could make it from there or not. I think everyone pitted with us so we didn’t lose track position so it worked out perfect. At the end of the race, you put yourself at risk if a caution comes out or if a few cautions come out, the guys that have tires are going to be hard to beat. Obviously last year, it went green for a long time which played into our hands, so that worked out good for us. I think two-stop strategies were the most successful here in the past but it’s risky for sure - not only on fuel mileage but on tires at the end if we do get a caution late. It could be hard to hold off a guy on newer tires."


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