Martin Truex Jr. said Tuesday that he was happy with how things were progressing in his first Goodyear tire test since joining Michael Waltrip Racing.
Truex, who spent the first four years of his NASCAR Sprint Cup career driving for Dale Earnhardt Inc. and its successor, Earnhardt Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates, is at Atlanta Motor Speedway this week to participate in a two-day, four-car tire test. Also testing are Mark Martin of Hendrick Motorsports, Roush Fenway Racing's Carl Edwards and Sam Hornish Jr. of Penske Racing.
The addition of Truex and new crew chief Pat Tryson are expected to strongly bolster the prospects of MWR, which enjoyed a breakout season in 2009. Truex was one of the biggest free-agent moves of the off-season, while Tryson in 2009 led Kurt Busch to a fourth-place points finish, best of any of the non-Hendrick Motorsports cars in the Chase for the Sprint Cup.
During the first day of the AMS test, Martin posted the fastest lap with a time of 29.938 seconds (185.183 miles per hour). Edwards's fastest lap was 29.953 seconds (185.102 mph), followed by Truex with a 30.009 (184.744) and Hornish at 30.560 (181.413).
Truex was pleased with how the day went.
"So far it's good for our first time here together," said Truex, who won the pole for last September's Pep Boys Auto 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. "We're just easing into it and feeling things out. The car is fast and it feels good."
The team is hoping to get off to a fast start this season and land a Chase spot for Truex, who qualified for NASCAR's playoff round in 2007, but finished 15th in points in '08 and 23rd last year. MWR, which heads into it fourth season, has never placed a driver in the Chase, although David Reutimann came close last season.
And with NASCAR formally banning testing at tracks where any of the sanctioning body's top three series run, being able to participate in a Goodyear tire test is a huge benefit to teams and something they put an awful lot of effort into.
"It's a big deal for us to be able to get out here and get acclimated with each other and get into the swing of things," said Truex. "We've got a bunch of stuff to go through and try on our car: Stuff that Pat has done in the past, stuff they've done at MWR and ideas I have from what I have done. We've got a lot of stuff to try in the next day and a half and so far it has gone well."