Scanner Chatter: Truex Jr. seeks AMS redemption with new tire compound
Martin Truex Jr. had his heart ripped out at Atlanta Motor Speedway last year. Jamie McMurray's blown tire late in the race brought out a caution while the No. 56 NAPA Toyota led. The team lost a couple of spots on pit road and Truex Jr. fell to 4th at the finish. He was dejected and disgusted on pit road, despite clinching a spot in the Chase.
But 2013 is a new year and while Truex Jr. has had some bad luck, he has also won his first race in six years and driven into playoff contention. 12th in points, Truex Jr. enters this weekend's Bristol race as the 2nd wild card driver (Kasey Kahne has two wins and is 11th in points). But Truex Jr. is not putting any extra pressure on himself of the NAPA team.
"We've had fast racecars all year long and just have to keep doing what we've been doing," Truex Jr. told News/Talk WSB in a Monday interview.
Atlanta has been an up and down track for Truex Jr., but he echoes the sentiments of most drivers in his assessment of the track.
"It's one of those tracks that puts on a heck of a show and we certainly enjoy going there."
AMS' 16-year-old track surface chews up and spits out tires, which prompted Goodyear to test there multiple times this year and develop a tire that is durable, heat resistant, but still has grip. Truex Jr., who participated in the testing, is confident in the result.
"I thought it worked really well at the tire test. It was typical Atlanta - you started on the bottom of the racetrack and by lunchtime, everybody was running against the wall. The track definitely took a lot of rubber and the groove was really wide, which is going to be great for racing."
With the Chase race very tight and results at Atlanta unpredictable, Truex Jr. can't afford a bad showing at his hometown track. He has the opportunity to build some comfort before the Richmond race by repeating, or better yet, overcoming his result in last year's Advocare 500.
Listen as Truex Jr. also discusses Brian Vickers being with the team full-time, losing Mark Martin, and how hard racing in traffic is: Listen and/or Download