Regarding Sunday's Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway Martin Truex Jr. has feelings ranging from optimism to trepidation.
For the optimism part, Indy's 2.5-mile flat track has similarities to Pocono Raceway where Truex claimed a victory last month, driving the No. 78 Furniture Row/Denver Mattress Chevrolet. The apprehension is a result of NASCAR's new aerodynamic rules package for the fabled track.
"Indy is a super challenging and technical racetrack," said Truex. "However, after winning at Pocono I feel like we'll have a little bit of an edge there because of some of the similarities between the two tracks. I feel that we can apply a lot of things we did at Pocono to Indy.
“The big curve ball this weekend will be the new rules package that NASCAR mandated for this race. We did a Goodyear tire test at Indy and felt good about what we had, but now we go back there with a totally different aero package. There's going to be a learning curve but our guys have been really good about figuring out things quickly."
But before Truex straps himself into his No. 78 Furniture Row/Denver Mattress Chevrolet, he will already have a feeling of awe as one of the 43 Sprint Cup drivers who will compete at the historic venue. To motorsports fans the iconic Indianapolis facility is what St. Andrews is to golf, Fenway Park to baseball, Churchill Downs to thoroughbred horse racing and Wimbledon to tennis.
"Indy is a super prestigious race," stated Truex. "It is obviously an honor to race there and we all dream about taking the checkered flag and kissing the bricks. The adrenalin kicks in a little more when I enter the facility. It's hallowed grounds and I feel privileged to have the opportunity to compete where so many legends carved their names into motorsports history."
Truex, who has amassed one win, five top-fives and 14 top-10s this season, ranks fifth in driver points and sixth in the Chase standings. He is coming off a 12th-place finish at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
"After winning at Pocono and taking third at Michigan the following week, we ran into some tough luck," noted Truex. "We were taken out in Sonoma, a victim of a multicar crash in Daytona and had a piece of debris puncture a hole in the front-end of our car at Kentucky. We had a top-five or better car at New Hampshire but an untimely caution late in the race knocked us back and we had to battle hard just to finish 12th."