Toyota Racing – NCS Dover Quotes – Martin Truex Jr. – 04.27.24

Joe Gibbs Racing driver Martin Truex Jr. was made available to the media prior to practice for the NASCAR Cup Series race at Dover Motor Speedway on Saturday.

MARTIN TRUEX JR., No. 19 Bass Pro Shops Toyota Camry XSE, Joe Gibbs Racing

What’s it like coming back to Dover Motor Speedway as the defending winner?

“Yeah, it’s always nice to come back to Dover (Motor Speedway) – a place where I’ve had a lot of success. It’s been a good track for me over the years, so we’re excited about it. We’ve had really fast cars all year long. Not quite been able to get the win yet, but I feel like we’ve been right there and our time is coming, and hopefully this weekend we can do what we did last year.”

How do you and your team break down this track when you look at it? Obviously, you had success here last year, but throughout this week, how did you prepare?

“Yeah, I mean this is our third year here with the Next Gen car, so just trying to go back through all of that and try to figure out how to be even better than last year because everyone’s programs evolve and they learn things. So yeah, they understand what I’m looking for here; what I want to feel. For here, it’s always about – ok, what’s the weather going to be; what are the tires like; how much rubber is going to go down on Sunday. I think today is a warmup and a qualifying session, and tomorrow is going to be a completely different racetrack, so being prepared for that is going to be important. Figuring out how it’s going to change will be a big deal.”

What has the feel been like going from the previous generation car to the Next Gen car?

“You know for here (at Dover Motor Speedway), it’s just kind of been a process of figuring it out. These cars are quite a bit different; the way they feel with the tires and the bigger wheels. They’re so stiff and so rigid. This place gets really rough and really bouncy when it gets rubbered up in the race, and it’s been a challenge to figure out how to get this car to ride nice; not so stiff and have some grip. Yeah, it’s been a challenge and it’s a totally different feel than what we used to get here.”

You talked about the weather. Tomorrow is supposed to be a lot warmer, and the sun is going to be out. What do you take from today’s practice session with what we have out there now that you can apply to tomorrow?

“Yeah, I mean you basically just get a feel for the car; the overall balance and kind of get a baseline, and then, try to figure out which direction to go from there, which is always probably the biggest challenge that we deal with. The crew chiefs and engineers deal with it every weekend it seems like. It’s always the hottest on Sunday. That’s a good thing for the racing, for sure, and I enjoy that, but it’s a big challenge for them to get the car right.”

Looking ahead to Kansas Speedway, last fall didn’t go to great, but you have had success there in the past. Can you talk a little bit about what it takes to have a solid day there?

“Yeah, for sure. I felt really good about our car there last year, but it didn’t last very long with the tire issue. Kansas (Speedway) is a really fun racetrack. It’s a place where you can move around; the tires wear out and it gets slippery. It’s just a fun place to race. At the same time, I think it’s a real measuring stick of your cars and where you’re at. It takes everything to get around there. You have to have horsepower and downforce; a good setup with a lot of tire grip and things like that. It’s a big challenge and usually the guys that have the fastest cars are upfront there, so hopefully we’ll be one of those guys because it seems like our Camry’s have been really strong this year.”

Last year at Dover Motor Speedway, you and Ryan (Truex) obviously swept the weekend. Going into this year with both of you on the entry lists again in your respective series, have you talked with him about last year? Also, what would you be able to do to build off that momentum?

“Yeah, we’ve talked about it some between then and now. It’s a new year; there’s new challenges. Really in this sport, what you did last year doesn’t mean a thing. He (Ryan Truex) felt pretty good about his car yesterday. He didn’t get the lap he wanted in qualifying. And for us, we’ll see how today goes and go from there. Honestly, I feel great with what my team’s been able to do this year. We’ve got some things we need to figure out during the race that we can do better, but our cars have been really fast and the guys have been making great decisions and giving me fast cars to drive, which has been awesome. Hopefully that continues here, and we’ll go out and do what we know how to do.”

Toyota Racing PR