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TRANSCRIPT: Martin Truex Jr. addresses media at Michigan International Speedway

Posted On Thursday, 09 June 2016 20:00 Written by
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MARTIN TRUEX JR., No. 78 Furniture Row Toyota Camry, Furniture Row Racing

Q: What did you learn from the test session at Michigan International Speedway about the new package?
“It was a short test because of rain, but we did learn a few things. I think the biggest thing was just off-throttle time was more and middle of the corner speed was slower and straightaway speed was a little faster. Just more in the same direction we went from last year’s package to what we’re racing now. Definitely another step in a direction we’re all looking for so should be a lot of fun. I think everybody is really excited and optimistic about the weekend to see what it’s all about and learn about the new package and try to figure it out. Hopefully the racing will be what we hope and it should be a lot of fun.”

Q: Are the rules changes moving in a direction you enjoy and that fits your driving style?
“Yeah, I mean, I enjoy driving the cars more this year with them just being on top of the track more – just sliding around more. Guys are – we’re having to work a little bit harder in the car and it’s been a lot of fun, so been able to race at most tracks a little bit easier behind cars, get up closer to guys and this year is the first time in a few years we’ve been able to kind of get up behind somebody – get close enough to make them loose like you used to do in the old days. It’s been good. I think the racing has been great. We obviously still have some challenges at certain tracks and you’re always going to have that just based on tracks all being different, but pleased with what we’ve seen so far this year I feel like. Hopefully again like you said this will be another step in that direction and hopefully be a lot of fun for everyone.”

Q: Would you change your approach if you ever went to race for a larger organization?

“I don’t know. That’s a tough question. I don’t know that a big team is really any different than the team I’m racing with now. I love the team that I’m racing with now. I really don’t want to think about driving for anybody else, so let’s just hope that we don’t have to do that.”

Q: What has the transition been like to working with Toyota and Joe Gibbs Racing in 2016?
“It’s been a really smooth transition – I think smoother than any of us thought. Barney (Visser, team owner) had planned on running the first 10 or so races and just being like so-so and trying to figure things out – maybe stumble a little bit until we kind of got everything ironed out, we got the cars built up and kind of got things figured out, but really we came out of the box strong at Daytona. There’s a lot of people to credit for that. Obviously everybody at Toyota, David Wilson, Andy Graves – all those folks, everybody at TRD (Toyota Racing Development) and especially JGR (Joe Gibbs Racing). They’re obviously a big part of what we’re doing. The partnership has worked really well. All their crew chiefs, engineers, really just everyone from Coach (Joe Gibbs) to the bottom really just welcomed in our team, said, ‘Here’s how we’re going to do things. We’re going to open book. We’re going to share everything,’ and that’s been a big part of the reason we got off the ground so quick. It’s been – we just seem to have good chemistry from both sides, from crew chief to our owner, Barney, and Joe get along really well. Cole (Pearn, crew chief) has done a great job I think and even all the other drivers have been great to work with for me, so it’s been a lot of fun so far to learn all that stuff – how they do things. We’ve learned a lot from there and hopefully as we get down the road here they’re going to learn something from us, so it’s been good. I feel like the last month and a half, we’ve brought quite a bit to the table, so that’s good. Proud of my team for that and it’s just something that’s been working really well so far.”

Q: Do winless streaks play with a driver’s psyche?
“I actually never thought about how long it had been. We’ve been so close and things have obviously been going well for us, so you just kind of try to focus on that and I think all of us were – we weren’t frustrated at all. We felt it was kind of – we felt like it was kind of weird that it was almost a replay of last year how we lead all those races in a row and kind of crazy things would happen, but I think again a lot like last year we looked at all these things. We looked at leading laps and running up front and doing the things we were doing as a positive – not a negative. Yes, we want to win. Yes, we were somewhat frustrated that we hadn’t yet, but I don’t think we let it change our approach or get us frustrated enough that we forgot what we were doing or made mistakes, so glad we were able to pull through in convincing fashion obviously and hopefully we can do it again soon.”

Q: Can you talk about you dad’s experience helping you get to where you are in your career?
“I wouldn’t be here without my dad (Martin Truex Sr.). That’s plain and simple. He was – he grew up racing. He was my hero. That’s the only reason I knew anything about it, you know? So I can remember going to the track as a young kid – as young as I can remember, probably four or five years old – to watch him and learn from him and just hanging around the garage and the shops that he had over the years and going to the race track. That’s what got me into it and then I can remember as a young kid thinking, ‘I’m going to drive race cars someday,’ and that was the only thing I ever cared about. It was the only the thing I wanted to do, so I started racing because of him. Obviously he owned all the cars I drove up until I got hired to drive for Chance 2 back in ’03 and so without him I wouldn’t have ever got into racing and I certainly wouldn’t have never made it to the level I’m at today, so I owe a lot to him. I have a lot of great memories growing up racing with dad.”

-- Press release courtesy of Toyota Racing

Matt M. Myftiu

Matt Myftiu has been a journalist for two decades with a focus on technology, NASCAR and autos.

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