CORNELIUS, N.C. — No. 56 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota driver Martin Truex Jr. is leaving the oval for the first time of the year this weekend for Sonoma NASCAR road course action at Sonoma Raceway in California. Truex brings with him a renewed perspective on his 2013 season— he’s done following the points standings.
And that attitude will save his hair.
After a third-place showing at Michigan, the Michael Waltrip Racing driver climbed from 17th to 13th place in the standings — just 12 markers out of the top 10. Another strong run on Sunday should help the NAPA team’s bid for a second Chase berth with just 11 races to go. But don’t point that out to Truex.
“It’s giving me gray hair! I remember going into Texas 25th in points. I said then, I wasn’t going to pay attention. We almost won the race. A couple weeks later, we leave Charlotte in ninth place. I was like, ‘Damn, I wasn’t even paying attention to the points. That’s awesome.’ Then we go to Dover and blow up. I’m not going to look at the points now until after the Richmond race. I mean it this time!”
“I really enjoy road course racing. I love going out to Sonoma. Our team has had some really fast NAPA Toyotas the last three years. I just have to figure out how to keep people from spinning me out. I am pretty sure that the last four years, I have led the race at one point and eventually got spun out. I am hoping this year that the spinning me out trend ends. I want to finish where I am running. It’s just one of those tracks where you are pretty vulnerable at getting hit. We certainly have been over the years. The post-race apologies to me are getting old. I’m ready to finish this race out front.”
On The Qualifying Format:
“I think with qualifying being on Saturday and it being the only time we are on the track that day, having the European style of qualifying will be a big benefit. It usually takes a lap or two to get going especially in qualifying trim. To just go out there and have one lap to get it done, it’s very difficult to lay down the perfect lap. It’s hard to hit your marks there because it’s a very technical track. With this new format, I think we’ll be able to get at least two laps completed. If you screw the first one up, you’ll have at least another chance.”
Join us to cheer on Martin Truex Jr. at the track in Sonoma, or watch the action Sunday on TNT at 3:00 p.m. EDT.
GET LUCKY WITH TRUEX:
Truex is taking with him to Sonoma a feather. It was sent in by Martha McDonald of Red Boiling Springs, TN. Her son Lukas found the feather the day he returned home from a three month hospital stay after being critically injured.
Nick Palermo is a freelance automotive writer and NAPA Know How blogger. Since becoming an auto news and reviews contributor at AutoTrader.com in 2011, he has broadened his coverage of the automotive industry to include topics like new car technology, antiques and classics, DIY maintenance and repair, industry news and motorsports. A committed advocate for automotive media professionals, Nick is a member of the Greater Atlanta Automotive Media Association.