No. 56 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota driver Martin Truex Jr. begins two days of testing Wednesday at the newly resurfaced Pocono Raceway before the gates officially open for the Pocono 400 weekend. In 12 races at the 2.5 mile tri-oval, the Michael Waltrip Racing driver owns one top-five and four top-10 finishes. Truex said NASCAR Sprint Cup teams will have a lot of work to do to figure out the new surface.
Truex enters the 14th race of the 2012 season in a far better position than he did last year. He attributes the good start to crew chief Chad Johnston, the Michael Waltrip Racing organization, and Toyota Racing Development. Johnston joined Truex at this race last year in his first job as a crew chief.
AFTER 13 RACES:
Poles: 0 1
Top 5: 0 4
Top 10: 3 8
Standings: 22nd 6th
Truex on Pocono: “I think with the new asphalt, we can pretty much throw away all our notes from the past. The only thing that is the same is the length of the track. It is going to be interesting to see what we’ve got. You never know how it is going to go. Typically when you go to these tracks that are repaved, it takes quite awhile to run them in. I expect that we are going to chase the set up constantly throughout the weekend. It is probably going to be one of those deals where the track will keep getting more grip, but as it sits overnight, it will lose grip again. If it’s like the last repave at Phoenix, Pocono will definitely be a handful. Chad and all the guys have been doing a great job all season. We’ve got some good ideas that we want to try. We’ve got extra time to play so we’ll just go through some things and learn a little bit.”
Halfway to the Chase: “Chad’s done a great job with this NAPA team. Our top-10 at Dover gained us a few points on the leader as well as distanced ourselves from the teams behind us. We are in decent shape with just 13 more races to go before the Chase starts. I wish we could have Talladega back because we would be in even better shape. Still, we are solidly in the hunt to earn MWR its first berth into the Chase and Clint Bowyer just climbed into 10th so we’ve got two MWR teams in contention right now. That’s pretty cool. Chad, MWR and Toyota have stepped up this year in every way and you see the results each weekend.”
ADDITIONAL NOTES OF INTEREST
· NEW ADDITION COMING!: Johnston and his wife Stacey are expecting their first child together any minute now. Standing by to assist with crew chief duties if needed is Scott Miller, MWR’s executive vice president of competition.
· SEE TRUEX: Truex will stop by Pocono’s Thunder Stage on Sunday from 10:15 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. for a fan question and answer session
· VOTE FOR TRUEX!: Cast your vote for Truex to be on the cover of NASCAR The Game: Inside Line. Vote daily through July 15: www.driveforthecover.com/truex.