CORNELIUS, N.C. — No. 99 Pastrana-Waltrip Racing Toyota driver Ryan Truex makes his ninth career start and first at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Saturday in the NASCAR Nationwide Series race. The two-time K&N Pro Series East champion made his season debut last weekend at Phoenix where he finished 14th— his fourth career top-15 finish. The 18-year-old driver was the highest finishing rookie at Phoenix and leads the rookie-of-the-year standing by one point. Truex plans to run at least 10 races in 2011 for the newly-formed Pastrana-Waltrip Racing. Action sports star Travis Pastrana will drive the No. 99 in seven races with Boost Mobile as the sponsor beginning at Indianapolis in July.
TRUEX ON GOALS 2011 SEASON: “I want to go out there and prove that I can do this, prove that I deserve to be here. I honestly think we can win races. I know we have everything that it takes to win races. Our new cars have been running really strong both last season and the first two races this season. We’ve done some testing over the off-season now I think we have a chance to win every weekend.”
ON RUNNING IN AT LEAST 10 RACES THIS SEASON: “I feel like I definitely have to run good. I have to keep these race cars together and I have to run strong these ten weeks. I’d love to win races. I know we can do it. I’m really confident about these ten races and I feel really good about them. I’ve never really felt this good about a season coming up so far in my career so that’s got to mean something. I think we can do it. I just have to keep focused and try to learn as much as I can.”
ON TREVOR BAYNE WINNING THE 500: “It actually gives me a lot of motivation to go out there. He’s proved that young guys like us can do it if we’re given the right opportunity. We can go out and run with these big guys and beat them. I think he paved the way for more people to look at young guys and take more chances on us. Hopefully there are more sponsors and more people who want to look at a young guy and grow with him. I think Trevor winning could definitely help a younger guy like me get chances in the sport. It was really cool to see. He did everyone right the whole race and he had such a strong car you could tell he could take anybody. He did everything that he had to do and made all the right moves he needed to do to win. I was really happy for him. You know me and him are pretty good friends. He’s a really cool guy so it’s cool to see him get that. I haven’t been that excited about the end of a Cup race in a while, and I think that’s how a lot of the fans watching felt. I think it was good for the sport.”
NOTES OF INTEREST
· Michael Waltrip Racing, Gary and Blake Bechtel and Pastrana own Pastrana-Waltrip Racing that fields Toyota Camrys out of the MWR shop in Cornelius, N.C. The Bechtels have owned cars in the Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series since 1990. The Morgan Hill, Calif. residents’ teams have visited victory lane 10 times in the Nationwide Series.
· Ryan Truex is the only teenager to win back-to-back K&N Pro Series East, titles and he is the first driver to bring a title to Michael Waltrip Racing.
· In 2010, the No. 99 team finished 10th in the NASCAR owners points standings. The team tallied six top-five and 11 top-10 finishes with drivers Bayne, Martin Truex Jr. and Ryan Truex. They also captured three consecutive pole awards with driver Trevor Bayne, tying the record set by Sam Ard, Mark Martin, Waltrip and Jeff Gordon.
· Truex has made 22 starts in NASCAR’s K&N Pro Series East. He won five races, and has been in the top-10 in 77% of the races he has competed in, earning two consecutive championship titles.