CORNELIUS, N.C. — No. 99 Pastrana-Waltrip Racing driver Ryan Truex has a big weekend planned at Bristol Motor Speedway. On Friday, he celebrates his 19th birthday then the two-time K&N East Series champion makes his NASCAR Nationwide Series debut Saturday on the world’s fastest half-mile. This weekend also marks Truex’s 10th start in the Nationwide Series. The rookie of the year points leader owns four top-15 finishes and has a starting average of 15.3.
TRUEX ON RACING AT BRISTOL: “Bristol is a lot closer to what I am used to racing on. It’s a track where it is up to the driver to make things happen. At Bristol you have to get down to the nitty gritty and make things happen. I love short track racing. It’s going to be a physical race, but I am looking forward to the challenge. I think the four practices on Friday are going to help my confidence. We should be able to get a setup that feels really comfortable to me. The biggest thing is to stay out of the wrecks. I am pretty pumped for this weekend and I think we have a chance to score our first top-10 finish.”
ON FIRST NINE STARTS IN THE NATIONWIDE SERIES: “It has been a lot tougher than I thought it was going to be. I had a lot of success in the K&N Series but these cars seem to drive a lot different. There is also a tremendous amount of talent in this series. I mean we race against some of the best Cup Series stars. There is also a lot of young talent like Trevor Bayne, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Justin Allgaier. I just have to remember all these guys have a lot more seat time then I do. I think I have progressed each weekend. I just get a little frustrated with myself when I am not running up front every weekend like I did in the East Series.”
CREW CHIEF JERRY BAXTER ON TRUEX’S PROGRESSION: “Ryan has progressed a tremendous amount since last season. His communication and confidence has done a 180. He is way more confident in telling me what type of adjustments he wants on the car. I think his brother (Martin Truex Jr.) has helped that progression. At Vegas Martin was on the roof and really helped Ryan find better lines on the race track. He also helped communicate to me what Ryan was feeling in the race car. At the middle point of the Vegas race we were a top 10 car. We just need to work on getting our car better at the start of the race so we don’t get ourselves so far behind. However, I think Ryan has made great strides in just nine races.”
NOTES OF INTEREST
· Michael Waltrip Racing, Gary and Blake Bechtel and Travis 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.
· The Mayetta, N.J., native will sign autographs at the Michael Waltrip Racing merchandise hauler on Saturday from 12:05-12:30 p.m.
· 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.