CORNELIUS, N.C. — No. 56 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota driver Martin Truex Jr. is ready for an encore. The Michael Waltrip Racing driver joined teammate Clint Bowyer in giving MWR its first two berths in NASCAR’s Chase for the Sprint Cup in 2012. It was a season that saw the Mayetta, N.J. native post seven top-five finishes, lead 434 laps and surpass the $1.5 million mark in funds raised for his Martin Truex Jr. Foundation.
The 2013 season promises to be even better. After a successful test in the new Gen-6 Toyota Camry in Daytona last month, Truex is one of the favorites in Saturday night’s Sprint Unlimited and Sunday’s run for the Coors Pole Award. It all leads up to the 55th running of the Daytona 500 on Feb. 24.
“It’s time to follow in Michael’s footsteps,” said Truex referring to Waltrip’s two victories in the 500 driving the NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota. “I am incredibly motivated. Last year was the first full season that Chad (Johnston – crew chief) and I worked together. This team has come a long way in the three years I have been with MWR. I truly believe we are capable of repeating what we did in 2012. We just need to turn our opportunities into wins.”
TRUEX ON RACING THE NEW NAPA TOYOTA: “Everywhere we’ve tested, the new NAPA Toyota has felt great right out of the box. That’s a real testament to the quality of work the guys at MWR have done over the winter as well as the work Toyota put into the new car to get it race ready. The biggest difference between the Gen-6 car and Gen-5 car is the weight and the speed. The Gen-6 has more downforce, more left side weight, less right side weight and it’s much faster. It makes more grip so it is much more fun to drive. I think the cool thing about the new car is it challenges you to drive it hard. The old car you were waiting on the car to do the work. This car allows you to drive it. It allows you to be more aggressive. The only thing left to see is what it does in traffic and in a big pack.”
RACING IN THE SPRINT UNLIMITED: “I think the Sprint Unlimited is going to be a big deal because the fans get to vote and make an impact. It is really going to change things up a bit and make for an even better show. We are ready for what the fans want. We’ve already prepared game plans for the different scenarios. I hope the fans vote for a four-tire stop so that my NAPA KNOW HOW pit crew can be involved. I also hope they vote for a 10-lap shootout. I love shootouts.”
ON QUALIFYING: “If we can earn a spot on the front row, it would be a huge honor for the NAPA team and Toyota. The pressure would be off in racing the Duels, but at the same time, it will be critical to keep that car intact during the Duels and final practice. It’s a unique qualifying format that’s for sure.”