Toyota Racing – NCS Homestead Quotes – Martin Truex Jr.

Joe Gibbs Racing driver Martin Truex Jr. was made available to media after earning the pole for Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series event at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Truex’s pole is the 500th for Toyota across the NASCAR National Series (Cup, Xfinity and Trucks), its seventh pole in the last eight races and 15th Cup Series pole of 2023, which leads all manufacturers. With 23XI Racing’s Bubba Wallace and Tyler Reddick qualifying second and third, Toyota drivers will make up the top three positions for the second time this season, following the Darlington spring race where Truex also took pole.

 

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

Do you feel like you and the team are in a good place right now?

“Yeah, I feel good. I felt good coming into this round even though last weekend didn’t go as we would have hoped. There was more potential there than what we achieved. Coming here, I felt good coming in as it’s a good track for us and we’ve always run well here. It’s just a comfort zone for me. I had confidence coming in here but didn’t expect to get the pole. After practice, our car felt good in the long run, but pretty excited to be on the pole here. Always good when things go the right way.”

After last weekend, are you more willing to overrule James (Small) in strategy decisions?

“No, but in that situation, yes. And James (Small) told me after the fact I should have in that situation. But in the end, crew chiefs know a lot more than racing drivers when the race is going on, so I go with that. But in that scenario, I did feel weird about the decision.”

What are the feelings coming back to Miami after winning a championship here a few years ago and usually running well here?

“Yeah, I wasn’t thinking about those things necessarily, but I always enjoy coming here and feel like it’s always been a good track for us. Going back to the Busch Series, and learning about this place, it was good then. I almost won my first race here in the Cup Series. I feel comfortable and have fun here, and it’s nice coming to a track you’re not dreading.”

What do you remember from that night when you won the championship in 2017?

“I remember everything about it – the whole weekend, race, every lap. Only thing I don’t remember, is when I crossed the finish line until the back straightaway. The party was fun, but nothing crazy as everyone was so happy and excited. We didn’t get to do much as I was on the track until 3 a.m. with obligations. The funniest part was a few of my crew guys and team members took a van around the racetrack. I was sitting off turn 4 doing an interview with Jamie Little and FOX, and we see those guys screaming in the van. Just everyone having a big time and happy for everything that happened.”

What would it mean to win another championship?

“It’d mean everything. It’d make me and the entire team very happy. Put a stamp on all of the hard work we’ve put in since the start of the Next Gen car last year. We’ve had a lot of good runs and wins with the group, but this is the reason we do what we do. Winning it all again would be everything would make me feel better about doing another season.”

Do you feel this is a wildcard race?

“No, I don’t, I don’t think it’s anywhere near one. It’s a tough place and a lot can happen. But, if your car’s good and you’re good on long runs, taking care of what you need to, it’s not a wildcard where guys can take two-tire stops and flip track position. It’s more of a straightforward race for the most part.”

How important is it to get through a weekend where you execute a race to its full potential?

“It’d be great. It’s very important as we’re only two points above the cutline, so we can’t afford to give up points. We have to get all we can tomorrow. I feel like we missed a few in stage 2 last weekend. Hopefully, that doesn’t come back to haunt us.”

Did you guys do anything different for the windshield to help with the sun glare issues?

“Yeah, we’ve tried a few different things, so I’ll let you know tomorrow how they work. The biggest thing from the incident last year was just there was a lot of debris on the windshield at the time and needed a tear off. We should have a better pit stall too tomorrow. It was just a crazy situation with us and (Kyle) Larson last year. Wish he tapped the brake, but it wasn’t really his fault in that situation. Just a bad scenario.”

How does winning a championship or not change your outlook on driving for more years in the future?

“I think competing for championships and having the ability to keeps you going. In years past, when we’ve had heartbreakers, we’ve been right there and had a chance. Whether things went right or not, we still felt like we were a championship team. You can’t always control circumstances, and outcomes aren’t always what you want, but feeling that you did everything you could feels a lot better than not even making it. I feel great about where we’re at and feel a lot better about our direction after signing up for another year.”

How do you feel the dynamic of the Martinsville race next weekend will be?

“It’s been disappointing so far with the NextGen car. We haven’t been able to get the tires just right there and now that we’re shifting, it hurts the racing. But if we don’t shift, the racing would be worse as we wouldn’t have enough power. It’s just been a tough one. It’s always been such a fun track, but this car is so much different than what we’ve ever had before, so it just needs some work. I think they were tire testing there earlier this year, so don’t know if it’s different, but that’s definitely something that needs some work.”

Will next weekend be more aggressive than normal?

“I doubt it. I think it’s going to be as aggressive as it’s been with this car. You can only beat and bang with this car so much, and then you can’t get to someone’s bumper to get them out of the way. Just the way it is.”