Tuesday afternoon, Martin Truex Jr., driver of the No. 56 NAPA Toyota for Michael Waltrip Racing, took time out of his Martinsville preparations to address the media. Among the topics discussed were the weekend's upcoming race, his relationship with his teammates, and his tendency to hold grudges toward his fellow competitors.
This weekend the Sprint Cup Series makes its first visit to Martinsville, or the "paperclip" as it is affectionately referred to. Truex has had limited success there. Though he finished a career best fifth at the track last spring, it marked only his second top 10 in 10 starts at the track.
Truex was asked about his outlook for the upcoming weekend. He answered, "I feel good going in this year. My NAPA team has done an amazing job this year giving me good race cars. The last two weeks have been a bit frustrating as far as finishing goes, but our cars have a lot of speed in them and it's just a matter of us figuring out the details."
He continued on by saying, "Always look forward to going to Martinsville. It's obviously a tough little racetrack. It's a great place to go, a lot of history. It's always fun to go there and try to run well."
Through five races, Truex currently sits in 13th place in the Sprint Cup standings. He has scored just one top 10 finish, but his worst finish on the season is only a 21st place effort, which came last weekend in Fontana.
Truex has had some very solid runs in the first few weeks, but the results have not been indicative of how well he has run. Asked about those frustrations, Truex responded, "Well, that's something we're constantly trying to figure out. It's something that we've been working hard on the last few weeks."
Truex currently is one of two cars in the Michael Waltrip stable, along with David Reutimann. The team also has a technical alliance with the JTG-Daugherty Racing car driven by Bobby Labonte.
Truex was asked about the importance of his teammates, and how much they rely on each other. He said, " It's very, very important to have good teammates, guys you can relate with, guys that have similar driving styles."
He added, "We have meetings at the racetrack after every practice, meetings after every race here at the shop. We all really talk about our race cars. We communicate about them, trying to help each other, really come up with things that will help all of us."
He finished his thought with, "Obviously, David and Bobby are great guys. I enjoy working with them and racing with them. It works out well. It seems that we kind of feel the same things in our race cars, which goes a long way in helping the company make our stuff better."
Truex would also discuss the importance of someday, hopefully finally getting his second career win. His first win came back at Dover in 2007. He talked about not having won since his inaugural victory nearly four years ago.
"They're all hard. It just hasn't been meant to be, you know. I've been in position to win a lot of races since that day in 2007, and it's been way too long. It's killing me. But I'm working harder now than I ever have. So is my team on trying to get there" said Truex.
To wrap things up, the apparent Kyle Busch-Carl Edwards feud made its way into the conversation. Truex was asked if he carries grudges, like Edwards has seemingly been doing, or if he just got angry and then moved on.
He answered, "I think it's different for everybody. I guess the amount of forgiveness is different for everybody. You never forget, that's for damn sure. I know who's done me wrong in the past. It's just something you keep in your memory bank. Whether or not you take action on it is a different story. That just depends more on the person than anything."
So, as Truex still continues his quest to earn his second career victory, who knows, maybe it will come this weekend in Martinsville. If it doesn't, there will still be 30 races left in the season for driver No. 56 to earn it this year.
But, if for some reason, the driving thing doesn't work out for Truex, he may just have a future in television. By now, we have all seen his NAPA commercials with team owner Michael Waltrip. For a guy that used to be camera shy, he doesn't do too bad.
"I definitely felt more comfortable this year doing it than I did last year. Actually, all the people there at the shoot thought I was a pro, so I must be doing something right", said Truex.