March 31st, 2010

Hi Everyone,

Martinsville has always been a tough track for me for some reason. In the past I have done well on Friday and Saturday, but on Sunday, it becomes a difficult half-mile track to get a hold of. And if you asked my crew chief Pat Tryson, Martinsville isn’t one of his favorites either. Our opinions may be changing …

On Friday, it was a typical good day. It was the first time our group was there as a team. It was really our first short, flat track race of the year. We unloaded with a set up that really didn’t work. We made good changes throughout practice and they allowed us to make a lot of gains on it. We did some qualifying runs and felt pretty good heading into qualifying. We were 12th quickest and opted to make a few more improvements for qualifying. We ended up getting rained out. I think we would have had a shot at a top-10 qualifying start, but I don’t think it was a big deal for us. We were 20th in points and that was our starting spot. I believe we would have bettered that in qualifying, but 20th isn’t really that bad. I ended up not being too worried about it.

Saturday was a good day too. We started off pretty much the way we ended Friday’s practice. We knew we needed to work on the car to get it better. Again, throughout practice, we made some good changes. We hit on some positive stuff during the Happy Hour practice. I felt really good about our chances towards the end of practice. I wish we could have had a little more time to try a few more things that were working for us. But overall, I had a good feeling heading into the race on Sunday which turned out to be Monday because of the rain.

When the race finally was run on Monday, we ended up having a good race. We had a very solid day overall as a team. We ran in the top 10 most of the day and my pit crew knocked off an 11.9-second stop. We made good adjustments that kept making the car better throughout the event. The key for us was the fact that we kept ourselves in position all day – we stayed consistent. We stayed out of trouble. We put ourselves in position at the end to have a great run.

Pat Tryson made a great call by putting on four fresh tires during the last caution and we were able to take advantage of it. It was great that we were able to come home with a top-five finish. I am very pleased with how our day ended. I can’t believe we ended up on the right end of the deal for a change!

Tomorrow I am going up to Syracuse for a NAPA appearance. I am looking forward to it as it’s at the Syracuse Crunch hockey game. If you are in the area, please stop by.

This weekend we are off.  I have no firm plans, really. I think I am going to hang out and take care of some stuff at home. I am debating on going up to South Boston to watch my little brother race on Saturday. But all in all, it will be a quiet weekend.

 Have a Happy Easter and don’t forget – vote for me in the Sprint All-Star Fan Vote!


March 8th, 2010

Hi Everyone,

Well, that was a frustrating afternoon for the NAPA Toyota. We left Atlanta Motor Speedway on Sunday night with a 27th-place finish after it looked like we were going to have another top-10 finish. By now, you probably know what happened. The Edwards/Keselowski wreck bunched the field up at the end and we tried to do two green-white-checkered finishes. On the first one, I was in a great position and looked like we would get a top-10, and maybe even a top-five, but Jamie McMurray and Clint Bowyer made contact and that triggered a pretty big wreck. It looked like I was going to make it through, but I got hit pretty hard in the left rear. We had nothing to lose so we stayed out on the track, but when the green flag dropped on the final restart, we found out our NAPA Toyota was really damaged so all I could do was just limp the car home. We ended up being the last car on the lead lap in 27th. Needless to say, our finish was not indicative of how well our car was handling.

Despite the disappointment, we’ll take a lot of positives out of the Atlanta weekend. I had a lot of fun visiting with the NAPA people as I got to meet many of you in the NAPA suite on Saturday and Sunday. I loved seeing all the NAPA hats and shirts at the track.

On Sunday, we didn’t start the race as good as we wanted to but Pat and the guys kept working and working and got the NAPA Toyota pretty fast over the last half of the race. As I said earlier, we were in position at the end of the race to have a really good finish. We are making progress each week. The one thing we are really on top of at the moment is our pit stops. My pit crew has been lights out the last two weeks. For the second consecutive week, they won the Tissot Precision Pit Crew Award for spending the least amount of time in the pits. That’s pretty remarkable and I couldn’t be more proud of their work so far in 2010.

We get an off weekend this weekend. It’s our first off weekend since before Daytona. Everyone could use a break. We spent two weeks in Daytona, traveled across the country to California then to Las Vegas then back to Atlanta. All of us are looking forward to the break — just get away for a few days and recharge.

We’ll get back at it at Bristol. I love the place and have won there in the NASCAR Nationwide Series. If you think Sunday was fun, wait until you see Bristol.


March 2nd, 2010

Hi Everyone,

First off, I got to attend my first Regional Spring Owner’s Meeting last Tuesday in Greensboro, N.C. I really appreciated meeting all the store owners and NAPA employees who were in attendance. So many people came up to me during the cocktail reception to welcome me aboard and to wish me luck. I truly feel a part of the NAPA family and I couldn’t be more proud to represent all of you.

As for our third race of the season, it was a mixed bag at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. My weekend started off by attending my poker tournament to benefit my foundation on Thursday. We held it at the Monte Carlo Resort and Spa. We have over 60 players including Michael, my crew chief Pat Tryson, Marcos Ambrose and his crew chief Frank Kerr. Kurt Busch also showed up and he was the first driver to go out. I am proud to say that I made it to the final table. It wasn’t easy. Pat was kind enough to buy my way back in one time and then I gambled by going all in a few more times. It was awesome that I got to play for the win. My tournament was the most fun I have ever had out in Las Vegas besides racing.

We ran a new paint scheme over the weekend. We had NAPAGold Filters on the car to launch the Buy It. Install It. promotion that’s happening this month. I hope the coverage we got helps the campaign. I’m also appearing this Friday on SPEED’s Trackside at 8 p.m. I’m taking the SPEED guys our NAPA cap giveaway and I’ll be tossing a few out to the fans in the audience. There are a lot of good things happening on the promotional front for you guys and I am glad to help by telling fans about it.

As for the actual race, we started 35th. I was really disappointed with qualifying. We had a mechanical issue. My ignition switch cut off when I was coming to the green. I lost a lot of time, but our car was fast. I was really happy with my NAPAGold Filters Toyota on Saturday. It remained fast especially during the long runs. I expected my car to be like it was last week at Fontana. Last week we were 11th by the first pit stop. This time it seemed OK, but I chose to take it easy during the start. I didn’t push it quite as hard. For me, Las Vegas is a really tough track. It’s harder to pass on than the Auto Club Speedway. I knew it was going to take a little bit longer to get up through the field, but we made it up to 23rd position by the first pit stop.

For the third week in a row, my pit crew did an awesome job. They’re getting the job done and are consistently helping me gain spots on the track. They did such a good job for me at Las Vegas that they won the Tissot “Pit Road Precision” Award. It’s a weekly award that’s given to the team who spends the least amount of time on pit road and finishes the event on the lead lap. We won $5,000 and a Tissot watch. The team with the most Tissot “Pit Road Precision” Award wins at the end of the season gets a $100,000 bonus plus Tissot watches for the crew and driver. That’s a pretty big deal.

Overall, the biggest challenge for us on Sunday was we just didn’t have a lot of grip. We were loose. Then we were tight. It was a tough day for us to find the balance I needed to really go and contend for a top-10. Our NAPA car wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t great either. Pat did a good job and we continue to build on our experiences as a new team.

This week is Atlanta and in case you haven’t heard – it is one of my favorite tracks. I expect only good things when I get to NAPA’s home track. I hope to not only defend my pole, but win the race for you guys!


February 22nd, 2010

Hi Everyone,

It was a real unfortunate day for us at the California Auto Club 500 presented by NAPA this past weekend. We had a tough time on Friday. We qualified 34th and it looked like we were trying to set the car up for another track. I joked with Pat by saying one of Michael’s famous NAPA commercial lines, ‘I’m at the wrong track.’ The NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota just didn’t handle well. The guys got together on Saturday and did a really good job with the car. I felt really good about our chances after our two practices. I was really looking forward to the race and less than 70 laps into the event, we blew a motor. Losing the motor was a real shame for all my guys. They worked so hard to turn the car around. We got some real speed out of it. It was looking like we were going to have a good day, but it just wasn’t meant to be. It’s always disappointing when you don’t finish.

To get into The Chase, you have to be consistent every week. This is going to set us back a little bit, but I have no doubts that we will come back this week at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and have another great outing. I told Krista Voda during my FOX television interview that the year I made the Chase, the same thing happened. We blew a motor at the Auto Club Speedway. We have to look at the silver lining in all of this. We have a lot to build on as far as our race cars. I had fun while it lasted. We were driving to the front. I really thought we were going to have a good day and even my crew chief Pat Tryson thought we were going to have a shot to win it.

This past weekend also marked Michael’s first weekend at the track as a car owner and not a driver. He is a great car owner. What I like about him is he is extremely passionate about his company and racing in general. Just to see him in the garage this past weekend and getting a feel for what is going on and taking it all in is awesome. I know he’ll go back to the shop and make those owner decisions that will ultimately make us an even better race team. He’s been awesome on the road. I am really impressed with how he does it all. Besides that, he’s also a lot of fun to have around.

I got a lot of questions this week about my old team winning the Daytona 500 and Danica racing in California. First, I am very happy for my old team. I have a lot of friends on that team still and I am excited and happy for them. My NAPA team had a shot to win and we were up front racing with them. It was cool to see that. Obviously I would have liked it better if I was in victory lane, but I am happy for those guys. Most people know there’s no jealousy with me. I don’t sit there and say, ‘Why wasn’t I in that car?’ That would just be silly. I am happy for those guys and it means a lot to them. It was good to see it.

Second, I knew it was going to be 10 times more difficult for Danica to do well in California than at Daytona. The Auto Club Speedway is about as tough as it gets. It’s as fast as we go anywhere. There’s not a lot of banking and it’s really slick. It’s probably one of the hardest tracks to get your car working well in comparison to all the tracks we race all year long. It turned out to be a challenge for her as it is with most of us. Am I tired of hearing about her? Nah, not really. It is what it is. The pressure is on her, not on me. It doesn’t bother me to hear about it and the exposure she is giving to our sport is great. It’s a win-win for everyone in NASCAR.

Before I go, if you are going to be out in Las Vegas on Thursday, I’d like to invite you to my No Limit Texas Hold ‘em Charity Poker tournament. We’re having it at the Monte Carlo Resort & Casino. Michael, Pat Tryson, Marcos Ambrose, Frank Kerr and Kurt Busch are planning to play. It starts at 12:30 p.m. Proceeds will benefit the Martin Truex Jr. Foundation and our ongoing mission to help children in need. I expect it to be a lot of fun and as many of you know, I have held charity poker tournaments in the past. If you can’t come to Vegas, we’re planning to do another one in September in Dover, Delaware. If you would like more information, please visit my site:

Daytona 500

February 16th, 2010


Hello Everyone –

The Daytona 500 was wild! I had a lot of fun out there in the NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota. I am proud of our entire team and what we were able to accomplish over the entire Daytona Speedweeks. My pit crew was absolutely phenomenal as they averaged 12 second stops! That’s what a driver dreams about.

If I’d have to rate our performance, I would give it an A++.

There was drama. We saw two red flags to fix a pothole. Despite the delays, it seemed as if our NAPA Toyota got better each time we went back out. A break in play really didn’t hurt us.

NASCAR implemented a new green-white-checkered-flag rule when we got to Daytona and it was put to good use on Sunday. Now, NASCAR will allow for three chances to race to the finish instead of ending a under caution. During the 500, we were able to get it done with two green-white-checkered-flag finishes and it pretty much went down as I expected. There were a bunch of tore up cars, but I am sure the fans feel as if they got their monies worth. There were 10 or 15 of us that could have won the race just based on how the cards fell. It was suspenseful and even I couldn’t figure out what was going to happen. I enjoyed it out there as the guys used their heads and raced really hard, but never crossed the line and that even includes Kevin Harvick. When we took the lead going into Turn 1, he was pushing me. I knew he wasn’t going to push me to the win. He was doing what he had to do to put himself in a position to win. I felt him pull off my bumper and I tried to block. I couldn’t get there quick enough and he had me hooked. He was turning me. It is what it is and I don’t blame him for what he did. It was cool and it was a great race. I am really happy with the outcome for all of us.

Coming out of Daytona with my best-career finish is really exciting for me. Most importantly, we had a shot at winning the Daytona 500. I had high hopes during the off season. I felt like this would be my time. I felt like Michael Waltrip Racing was the place for me to come and step up my game. So far, it looks as if everything may fall into place. Pat Tryson has done an awesome job with the NAPA Toyota and my pit crew is fast. For our first weekend together, I’d say we will have more shots at getting to victory lane and that’s all I can ask for.


January 27th, 2010

Hi Everyone!

Both Martin and I started this month at Michael Waltrip Racing so we are working together as much as we can to prepare for this season. The first chance we got to test was at the Goodyear tire test at Atlanta Motor Speedway. It went well. Today we are at New Smyrna Speedway with all three of our drivers and Max Papis. The track is not too far from Daytona International Speedway. We struggled a little bit this morning, but the NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota is now good and with a few small tweaks, it will be very good.

We chose to test at New Smyrna because it resembles a track like Richmond International Raceway. The information we gather can also work for New Hampshire and Phoenix. It’s a good place to look for some things that can benefit our short-track program. We are trying some different geometries to see which one Martin likes. We’ve been playing around with some other things to find a feel for what he likes and doesn’t like for a short track. It is also giving me a better idea of what to fix and what makes him tick.

In working with a new driver, it’s all about communication. That’s why we have been testing the last several weeks. At New Smyrna, the goal is to make changes for the sake of making changes because it gives me a chance to hear what he says about them. I’ll put it all in my memory bank for when I am at another track. If he complains about something, I’ll have a reference and an idea of what to fix and how to do it.

I think when it comes to personalities; Martin and I are pretty similar. He’s just younger than I am. We both grew up north. He’s relaxed and maybe a little calmer than I am. He’s a lot of fun. We joke around with each other, but he also knows when it is time to get down to business and get serious. Our experience so far has been really good.

It is really important for this NAPA AUTO PARTS team to get off to a good start especially the first five races of the season. It is great to get off to a good start because it puts us in a good position and get everyone’s confidence up. It can snowball from there. It is important to me to get some top-10s right out of the box and maybe even a win.

It was announced last week that we are moving to a rear spoiler and I think it will look better. I think all spoilers look better than what the wing does on our car. From what I heard from the guys who tested with them at Texas, it is just a small change. It’s not really a big deal. As for how they should effect the car, the spoiler should make more downforce and drag. It will probably handle a little better, but go a little slower down the straightaway. It will be a little shift in balance and help the car turn better. I hope it makes for better side-by-side racing. That’s the biggest thing I’m looking for.

Daytona is just around the corner and I am looking forward to going with Martin to Daytona. We are not going to put any added pressure on ourselves. We are just going to do everything we can to get the best finish we can and that’s a win.

Until Next Time,

Pat Tryson




MARTIN TRUEX JR. BLOG: Goodyear Tire Test at Atlanta Motor Speedway

January 14th, 2010

Hi Everyone!

First I want to say that I’m really excited that I get to drive the No. 56 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota this season! The first thing I ever raced had a “56” on it. I can remember my dad running that number when I was a little kid. It’s awesome that now I can show it off to the fans and tell them about the meaning behind it.

The start to my year has been pretty busy. Since everything is new, the preseason has been packed with things to do: photo shoots, commercials, test sessions, meetings, and the like. I have been spending a lot of time over at the shop and I’m so impressed with the people at Michael Waltrip Racing. I believe the organization is going about this big change in the right way, so that we can have success this season.

I’m excited about the way things are going so far. I’m getting to know my new crew chief Pat Tryson, and I think we are going to have a great year. I feel really lucky to be teamed up with someone who has so much incredible experience in the sport. He’s put together an amazing group of people and it’s resulted in a good two-day test.

We went down for the Goodyear Tire Test at Atlanta Motor Speedway, the second week of January. It turned out great for us. I was so ready to get back into a race car. A lot of my NAPA guys haven’t worked together before so it was a good jump start to the season for us to go there. We didn’t have any outside pressure, so we could focus on working together and getting to know one another. We also got the chance to figure out what to expect from each other during the weekends and on race day.

We’re starting to get on the same page and find some things that we like to do that make the NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota fast.

I’m really impressed with our equipment. Our TRD engine felt strong during the test and I was pleasantly surprised by that. There aren’t as many differences going from a Chevy to a Toyota as I thought there might be. I’m happy that we have a chance to do some more testing before Daytona, but really I just want to get down there for qualifying and the 500 as soon as possible.

NASCAR has been kicking around some ideas regarding the yellow-line rule at restrictor-plate races, as well as the rear spoiler addition to our car versus having the wing. I think all of their ideas are for the better and that’s why they are exploring options. I still believe in the yellow-line rule. I think it’s something we still need at the restrictor-plate tracks, otherwise the racing would get too wild. The spoiler I think is exciting for all of us. It’s a little bit of a change. I think if they do it, it could be good for a lot of reasons. I think we just need to wait and see what NASCAR comes up with. They are trying to make changes to benefit the drivers and teams - but more importantly, the fans.

Next week I get to film my first NAPA TV commercial. I had a chance to see the idea for one of them so I’m excited about being a part of it – especially since all of NAPA’s past commercials are hilarious. You’ll get to see the first one during the Daytona 500.

With everything coming together like it has, I’ve got some big goals for 2010. The main one is to be competitive week in and week out. Of course, like every driver, the end goal is to get back into victory lane. I had some strong top-ten runs at the end of last season, and I think I can built on that momentum, especially with the strong relationships that I am building with Michael Waltrip Racing and NAPA Auto Parts.

I’m excited to be a new part of the NAPA Auto Parts and NAPA Racing families. I think we are going to have a lot of success this season and I can’t wait to get started!

Thanks for reading – until next time…


November 18th, 2009

Hi Everyone – Phoenix was a good weekend for the NAPA AUTO PARTS team and how our Toyota performed. During practice on Friday, I felt really good about my car. We have been doing a lot of work with our setups and trying to develop them. We have been working on getting the front end to stick. It has been something we have been struggling with because the front end doesn’t seem to feel right. But, as soon as I went on the track at Phoenix, I felt like we got that accomplished. I qualified 11th and ran in the top 20. The only real problem I had was I lost my power steering after our first pit stop. On a flat track with the front end setting like we need to get front grip, it is nearly impossible to run without power steering. It was a handful and we really didn’t lose very many spots. We stabilized in the teens and I was proud of that. When the first caution came out, we pitted twice to work on the power steering. It put me back in the pack and on the restart; they crashed in front of me. I thought I was last, but two people passed me to end up in the crash which was kind of strange and it hurt my situation. My car wouldn’t turn because I still didn’t have power steering. We think the pump went out on it. Regardless, I don’t think I could have missed it. The 96 car backed up the track and in front of me. I had nowhere to go. It was unfortunate for us. I was really proud of how my car performed. Hopefully, we can learn something out of all this and be good at Homestead-Miami Speedway.  Michael Waltrip Racing had a lot of good news to announce at Phoenix. NAPA was certainly instrumental in what happened since they are the cornerstone sponsor of my organization. Best Western announced its extension with us through 2010. Toyota also signed an extension with MWR to continue the support of our cars for multiple years. I want to thank NAPA for signing the extension earlier this season and getting Martin Truex Jr. It was really big for our young company. It helped us grow with the addition of TUMS and extend our partnerships. I am really thankful to NAPA and I look forward to more great things to come. Looking back at Phoenix, all of our guys looked really impressive. Martin had a great run and earned a top-five finish. Pat Tryson’s car that Kurt Busch drove ran up front and fought for a chance to win the race. David Reutimann got 10th and Marcos Ambrose finished 11th. That’s a lot of positive momentum moving forward with just one more race to go.  Also, congratulations to Jimmie Johnson and that entire 48 team. They bounced back from adversity at Texas to win the race. What they were able to do was amazing and a sign of true champions.  

Texas Motor Speedway 2

November 11th, 2009

 Hi Everyone –

I am so proud of Michael Waltrip Racing and our run at Texas Motor Speedway. The engineers and all of our employees are working so hard especially building our new race cars. Both Marcos and David had two of the fastest cars in Texas. What a great statement that is for our young organization and to be able to go to a track like that and perform at that level is impressive. My NAPA hat is off to them.

MWR announced a new sponsor at Texas. Tums is going to sponsor David’s car in 2010 and beyond. We are gaining a little bit of momentum and I am just proud of our people. We also have more news to announce this weekend in Phoenix so stay tuned.

For those of you who watched TWIN last week, Chad Knaus was right. The Chase is far from over. His team couldn’t have any problems. If they did, it would open the door for more teams to be back in the mix. Heading into Phoenix, Mark Martin and Jeff Gordon are back in contention.

I talked to David Reutimann and he said he didn’t know whether or not he hit Sam Hornish Jr. that started the crash. He assumed he did. When they were ready to come off the corner, Sam didn’t go as fast as David thought he would. David said if he made a mistake, he hated it. It was really close. He was disappointed that he may have wrecked Sam causing the points leader to be involved. Obviously, it is a big blow to Jimmie’s team. No one wants to be a part of that.

In my opinion, I think Jimmie Johnson is one of the most underrated drivers in the history of NASCAR. He does more with a race car than I think anyone has ever done.

What we saw on Sunday was the classic fuel mileage race and I loved it as a fan. As a driver and owner, I had two cars running in the top five that ran out of gas. It didn’t work out so well for us. But as a fan of the sport, fuel mileage races happen so you can appreciate the strategy and the knowledge that these teams have about how to conquer one of these races. They are so hard to win. To go and win one the way Pat Tryson and Kurt Busch did was awarding and fun to watch.

Congratulations to Pat Tryson. We are looking forward to him joining the NAPA Racing team. He made a great call by taking a gamble and giving up track position. It would have been easy to follow all the leaders to pit road. Instead, he gave up a second or two a lap by pitting a few laps later which is what it basically amounted to. Pat chose to give up the position so that he could make it to the finish if the race were to go green all the way. Very rarely do we see a race at Texas go green that long, but darn, to me, that’s an exciting part of racing. The crew chiefs were all on the box trying to figure out who was going to make it and who was not. It came down to a lot of teams wishing they would have sacrificed a lap or two on the other end to get where they needed to go on the big end.

Tryson’s team won by over 25 seconds and I think it is the largest margin of victory since NASCAR went to electronic scoring back in the 1990s. It was a big victory. Kurt Busch was fast. He was chasing his little brother down and running right there with him. He didn’t back into the win because of fuel mileage. One of the fastest cars won because they got good fuel mileage.

There you have it. We only have two more races to go and it’s going to be fun to watch what happens in Phoenix.

Till Next Time,

Talladega 2

November 3rd, 2009

Hi Everyone –

We really had a good car this weekend. I want to thank all my NAPA guys for putting together such a solid car on Friday. We were probably as fast as I have ever remembered being as of late. The NAPA Toyota drafted well and we made changes that were positive. That’s really difficult to do these days with these cars because they are really technical. It is really hard to find anything additional that we can make improvements with once we get a superspeedway car to the track, but my crew chief Gene Nead and the NAPA team did a really good job of working some changes that made me a lot faster.

On Sunday, I felt really confident when the race started. We had some issues on pit road. I had a vibration one time and it shook so bad that I couldn’t see. When we finally got the vibration issue squared away, I was all set to go to the finish on gas. I knew that it was going to be really close so we had to save. I lost the draft, but I really wasn’t too concerned because I couldn’t imagine the race going all the way to the checkered flag without a lot of people running out of gas and mainly, people wrecking. Both of those things happened. I ended up pitting during the final caution. We got gas and made some small adjustments that would make the car run fast for a green-white-checkered-flag finish. When the race went green for the final time, I restarted in 17th and made it all the way to seventh. That was a really good run for the NAPA AUTO PARTS team and a solid finish for the NAPA Toyota.

Personally, I knew I was due to finish one of these restrictor-plate races because lately at Talladega, I have been running up front, but have had problems. Last year in the spring race, I was leading and blew up. Unfortunate things like that happen so I’m just glad everything worked out on Sunday. It was a great effort by the NAPA team and we’ll be working hard to improve our performance on pit road. My spotter Ty Norris did a great job for me. The car was set up right so we were able to make a final push at the end. I appreciate everyone’s hard work.

All and all, the racing in general at Talladega was typical. I don’t think Mr. Helton’s comments prior to the race hurt a thing. I believe it might have made us a little bit saner for 300 to 400 miles. At the end of the event, it was the same old Talladega. Drivers pushed the envelope as far as they could. I was asked last night on my TV show if there is a way to avoid the wrecks and in my opinion, there are two things. You can live with it and race or we don’t race at Talladega.

I’ll Talk to You Next Week!