CORNELIUS, N.C. – Defending K&N Pro Series East champion and 2010 points leader Ryan Truex makes his NASCAR Nationwide Series debut Saturday night at Gateway International Raceway. Truex will pilot the No. 00 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota in the 200-lap race on the 1.25-mile oval near St. Louis. When the 18-year-old Mayetta, N.J. native takes the green flag, heíll be the youngest of any driver racing in NASCARís top-three series. Truex is the son of race car driver Martin Truex Sr. and the younger brother of Martin Truex Jr. who drives the No. 56 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series for Michael Waltrip Racing.
Truex on racing in the NASCAR Nationwide Series: “It is a really big opportunity and Iím just excited to get started. I canít wait to get the first race started. I just canít thank everyone enough at MWR for giving me this opportunity. Three years ago I remember racing a Legend car at Wall Stadium in New Jersey and now Iím here. Itís hard to believe how fast itís come, but Iím excited, ready to get started and make the most of my opportunity.”
Truex on following in brother Martinís footsteps: “Itís pretty big shoes to fill. I donít expect to go out and set the world on fire. I know itís not going to happen. Iím just going to get my feet wet and just try to get as much experience as I can. Iím not going to go in and think I can run top-10 or top-five or anything like that. Itís a tough series. It took him a lot of starts to figure it out. Itís going to be tough. I put more pressure on myself than anything just to run as good as him just because of the last name and everything. Iím just going to go and try to do the best that I can.”
Truex on racing at Gateway: “Iíve never been there before so Iíll get some advice from my brother. Heís always helped me out in the K&N Pro Series cars so this series wonít be any different in that respect. Itís a tough series. They have a lot of the Cup series guys competing each week, but the cars arenít that much different than what I have been running. Iím just going to go to the track and get as much practice time as I can on Saturday. Iím not there to set the world on fire, Iím just there to learn, gain respect and show them that I deserve to be there.”
Martin Jr. on coaching Ryan: “Itís been fun to watch Ryan progress. He hasnít been doing this very long and heís come a long way as a driver. Heís been impressive on the race track and behind the wheel. All the things that heís done has led to this point. Iíll coach if he needs help, but heís done a great job so far and heís got a great team behind him. I look forward to watching him make his first start in the Nationwide Series.”
Martin Sr. on his sonís Gateway debut: “I am very proud of him. In the early days I wasnít sure this is what he wanted to do and I really never coaxed him to do it. When he was about 14 years old, he decided he wanted to race. I wasnít real happy about it, but weíre proud of what heís doing and heís really come a long way in a short time. I think heís really got some true talent. As we progress up the ladder, weíll see what he has.”
|Saturday, July 17||4:30PM: Qualifying||ESPN2|