CORNELIUS, N.C. — No. 56 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota driver Martin Truex Jr. turns 31 on Wednesday and would like nothing better than to celebrate his birthday in victory lane Saturday night at Daytona International Speedway. The Michael Waltrip Racing driver has plenty of reason for optimism. He led 17 laps in February’s Daytona 500 – the fourth most of all drivers. His strategy for Saturday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup race is simple: be there at the end to have a chance to contend.
MARTIN TRUEX JR. ON RETURNING TO DAYTONA: “We saw some craziness at Infineon last week and I expect some more craziness at Daytona. You are pretty much blindfolded and going 200 mph. It will be pretty intense at the end. I think our superspeedway program is really good. We had strong runs in both the Daytona 500 and at Talladega. I’ve got two good teammates in David Reutimann and (JTG-Daugherty’s) Bobby Labonte to work with. David and I were leading at Talladega with four or five laps to go, but just got the lead a little too soon. I think our chances this time are just as good. It’s going to be a little bit different on Saturday with it being a night race. But the strategy will be the same — just be there at the end so you can race for the win.”
TRUEX ON DRAFTING PARTNERS: “I think everyone has a handful of drivers that they like to work with. I know there are guys out there that when I get to them or they get behind me, I can trust them. I think what we saw at Talladega is what we will see on Saturday and that is teams dictating their drivers to draft and stick together all day long. There’s a need to keep it all in the family. We’re formulating our team strategy right now.”
TRUEX ON TRACK CONDITIONS: “I don’t think it’s going to be any different than what we saw in February. The track is so new it has so much grip. We could’ve ran 40 miles an hour faster than we did in February and still not have to let off. It should have plenty of grip still and I assume for a couple of years it will be like that. The racing will be just like in February, but it will be under the lights. It will look cooler.”
ADDITIONAL NOTES OF INTEREST
• Saturday’s race marks the 206th NASCAR Sprint Cup Series start for Truex. At Daytona International Speedway in 12 races, his best start is first (Feb. 15, 2009). His best finish of sixth came last year driving for NAPA.
• NAPA Racing will host Honorary Pit Crew Member Manny Gonzalez Sr. He is the owner of Osceola Complete, a NAPA AutoCare Center, in Kissimmee. He will be recognized in NAPA pre-race festivities and have his name decaled on the No. 56 NAPA Toyota.
• On Saturday, Martin will be signing autographs at the Schick Get Fresh Mobile Display in the DIS infield from 4:05 to 4:25 p.m. and then at the MWR souvenir rig at DIS midway outside Turn 4 from 4:30 to 4:50 p.m.
• Check out NAPA Reserve Online. Visit www.napaonline.com to make shopping for an auto part easier. Order online and pick up at your favorite NAPA AUTO PARTS store.