Martin Truex Jr. comes into Sonoma Raceway this weekend as the defending race winner and despite being with a different team than he was with last year, the New Jersey native showed speed during practice on Friday.
“As you said, practice went well with our Furniture Row Chevy, and we’re looking forward to the rest of the day,” Truex commented yesterday afternoon. “This track is difficult to keep the tires on. The key to the race will be being good on longer runs and having good tire management. Obviously pit strategy always come in to play here at Sonoma.
“Hopefully we will have the right pit strategy and have a good car on the longer runs. I felt like we had a good first practice and feel like the car is close. There is room for improvement. We are working on that now for the second practice.”
So far this year, the move to Furniture Row Racing from Michael Waltrip Racing has resulted in a lot of frustration as runs haven’t gone the way that Truex would’ve hoped due to lack of performance some weeks, and bad luck other weeks.
“It’s been a lot of tough luck and a lot of things that just keep happening. You wonder what’s going to happen next,” Truex commented. “So it’s been a tough season. But through it all, I feel like the team has done a really good job of staying positive, working on race cars and focusing on the things we have learned to try to get better. Certainly we haven’t been as competitive as we’d like to be, but we’re definitely nowhere near a 25th place team, which is where we are in points.”
Despite the early season struggles, Truex remains positive that they will get it turned around and says that the guys have stayed posiitve through the year to date and just kept working. Their work is starting to show it’s course as Truex has been quicker over the course of June than he was a couple months ago.
Combining the current positive feelings on the team with the fact that Truex is the defending race winner, things look real positive for the driver of the No 78 Furniture Row Chevrolet.
“It definitely gives you a lot of confidence but you have to be careful with that,” Truex warns. “You can’t get stuck on what you did last year and what did we have in the race car. This is a new season. The rules are a lot different and the cars are a lot different. You have to be open-minded. I have a different race team and our cars are a lot different than what I ran here last year. You have to be open-minded and be ready for new things.
“Hopefully we make the right decisions to put ourselves in position to win this thing again.”