CORNELIUS, N.C. – New NAPA driver Martin Truex Jr. loves the Atlanta Motor Speedway. On Jan. 12-13, his Michael Waltrip Racing team participated in a Goodyear tire test that boasted impressive results. He and crew chief Pat Tryson hope lessons learned at the test propel Truex to his second-straight pole award on the 1.5-mile ultrafast track and put him in contention for victory on Sunday. With NAPA Headquarters just 41 miles north of Atlanta Motor Speedway, Truex will have a lot of supporters cheering for the No. 56 Toyota.
What is it that you like about the Atlanta Motor Speedway? “The biggest thing is the groove is so wide. Even at the Atlanta Motor Speedway test that we did for Goodyear, I could run up towards the wall. I can just run all over this track. That’s what makes it fun for me. Some guys like to run the bottom. Some guys like the top. Some guys can run anywhere. That makes for great racing when you can choose. If there is a guy in front of you and you can’t pass him. You just find a different lane and pass him. That helps a lot and makes it fun for all of us.”
Can you use the Goodyear test to prepare for the March race? “It’s going to be a lot different when we come back. This is the first time I have done a tire test here. Just from practice and testing and to the race, this place changes a whole lot. There are some things that we will be able to use. There are some trends that we can look at that work for our NAPA Toyota. As far as getting the optimum set up for this week, it will probably not help us when we come back to the race.”
What is the key to clinching your second-straight pole at Atlanta? “Being in the gas. It is a fast track and obviously your car needs to handle well. Being able to stay on the bottom for a fast lap is the key. For the race, you will need to be able to move around. You have to be able to be in the gas for a long time.”
Where does Atlanta rank in your list of career favorite tracks? “I really enjoy this track. This is one of my favorites. I have had some great runs here. I came close to winning here. We won the pole here back in the fall. It is a place where I feel comfortable. I enjoy racing here. It is definitely one of my favorites.”
Martin Truex Jr., No. 56 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota
Michael Waltrip Racing drivers finished the 52nd annual Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway as follows:
MWR Race Results:
David Reutimann, No. 00 Aaron’s Dream Machine Toyota - Finished fifth.
Martin Truex Jr., No. 56 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota - Finished and sixth.
Michael Waltrip, No. 51 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota - Finished 18th.
TRUEX JR. IN ATLANTA