CORNELIUS, N.C. — Martin Truex Jr. can’t wait to get to Phoenix International Raceway (PIR). It’s a track that’s produced some of his best performances in his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career. Last season alone, he earned one pole and two top-10 finishes. The new driver of the No. 56 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota is expecting more of the same as his new team is coming off an impressive top-five finish at the driver’s toughest track — Martinsville Speedway. Could a win be in the team’s very near future? Truex thinks so.
Martin Truex Jr. on new NAPA team coming together after two strong runs at Bristol (12th) and Martinsville (5th): “I think as a team we can always improve, but right now we are really focused on picking apart all the little things we are doing to get them even better. So far, the communication has gone well. I think part of that is probably my crew chief Pat Tryson. He has a lot of experience. He has worked with a lot of different kinds of drivers with different personalities. It has been really easy for me and Pat to click and get on the same page. He has a great attitude and is a great leader for the guys on the team. All of that stuff goes a long way. I have been really happy with how everything has gone. We’ve had some really good cars all year long. We just need to keep getting better and better each week. I feel like we are making progress. Hopefully in the next few weeks, we’ll be right where we need to be. We have some good tracks coming up and Phoenix is certainly one of them. We should be good. I think we are really close to winning a race. ”
Truex on Phoenix and upcoming races: “I am definitely looking forward to Phoenix and the other upcoming races. I feel like the stretch coming up is one of my better ones. I’ve had some great runs at PIR. I had a shot at winning there a few times. Hopefully we will get ourselves in a position there to contend. Darlington, Dover, Richmond, Charlotte – they are good tracks for me. I am excited. My team is really coming together well. We are starting to learn some things about our cars that are helping us.”
Truex on the new spoiler: “We had a really good test at Charlotte (March 23 & 24). I feel like the spoiler actually helped my team and maybe more so in comparison to the other teams. Obviously we really haven’t raced with it much except for Martinsville where I ran in the top 10 all day and ended up with fifth. I think the car drives better with it. It has a better feel. With the spoiler, you can feel the drag on the straightaway. The biggest thing I like about it is when you let off the gas. It slows down. It is more like the way the cars used to be. NASCAR extended the quarter panels which gives us a little bit more side force. It definitely gets off the corner a lot better. At least that’s the way if felt to me.”
ADDITIONAL NOTES OF INTEREST
•MEET MARTIN! Martin will be signing autographs on Thursday at NAPA AUTO PARTS in Phoenix from 5 to 7 p.m. It’s located at 3707 E. Broadway Rd.
• The driver of the No. 56 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota will be competing in his 160th NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race on Saturday night at PIR
• This will be Truex’s ninth race at the one-mile track. His best start is first and best finish is fifth. Both took place on Nov. 15, 2009.
• During his career, Truex has earned one top–five, four top-10 and six top-20 finishes at PIR. His average start is 13th and his average finish is 16th. At PIR, he currently ranks 13th amongst drivers in performance over the last eight races.
• He has completed 2209 of 2497 laps (88.5%) and has led 72 laps in competition.