Thursday, April 7, 2016

Martin Truex Jr. fastest in first Texas practice Thursday

Martin Truex Jr. is 15/1 to win at Texas Saturday night.
MARTIN TRUEX JR., No. 78 Bass Pro Shops/TRACKER Boats Toyota Camry, Furniture Row Racing

How was your Camry in practice?
“It was good, we ended first. It was a good practice for our Bass Pro Shops Camry. We stayed in qualifying trim just so we could use our tires better for tomorrow. It went good. We were off a little bit at the start and got better each run and on our last run, felt really good about it. It’s been a while since I’ve had a pole. I’ve had a few poles here at Texas and we’re going to be going for another tomorrow. I feel like we have a good shot at it.”

How do you think the low downforce package will perform at this track with the aged surface?
“I think it’s going to be a lot of fun. It’s similar to what we’ve seen in Atlanta and California. The tires really wear out on the long run and the pace gets really slow and you get moving around searching for grip and all over the place. It’s my favorite kind of racing to do and I think it’s going to be a really good one.”

Do you enjoy racing at Texas?
“I love it, it’s great – Texas is a great track. Just because of the older surface with a lot of character and it has bumps, the tires wear out and you search around for grip. The cars slide a lot. You can find lanes to pass people in, it’s just fun to drive the car when the tires give out and it starts sliding all over the place.”

What is your impression with the early qualifying and later practice planned for Friday?
“It’s going to be good to actually have a night practice, or an evening practice for a night race which is something that we don’t normally have. That’s a good change. The schedule is kind of odd, coming in for one practice today and then qualifying in the morning and then switch the car over after qualifying is going to be a big chore because we’re not going to have a lot of time. It’s going to be tough on the crews, but having the practice later, after XFINITY cars practice and having the rubber on the race track is going to help us – all the teams on the Cup side to have a good idea of what the track will be like at night. Typically a lot of our night races we practice in the heat of the day and just really have to take a guess to setup for the night time. It will be interesting to see how that changes things.”

How do you feel your team has performed so far this season?
“I feel really good about where we’re at. Obviously there were a lot of changes during the offseason going to Toyota and starting to work with JGR (Joe Gibbs Racing), using their chassis and things like that. We’ve had a lot of new things to figure out and I’ve been really pleased with the speed we’ve had, the job the team has done and feel like we’ve done a good job at those things. I’m disappointed in where we are in points and our finishes. We’ve run better consistently every single race than we finish and that’s something we need to turn around. Last year, we were really good at consistently finishing as good or better than we ran and this year we just haven’t. We’ve had a few hiccups here and there, a few mistakes on my part, a few problems on pit road. Just little, tiny issues here and there. Last week, it was a loose wheel and a speeding penalty. Half my fault, half my team. Those little things have been biting us. At Atlanta, I felt like we had a shot to win and we got in the wrong lane on the restart. California we got in the wall and I felt like we had a shot at the win. Just little things have been disappointing, but I’ve been really pleased with the team and the speed of our Camry race cars and how things have gone for all the things we had to do in the off season, it’s a tremendous job by the guys.”

- GOLIN PR for Toyota Racing

Texas Practice 1 Results
Martin Truex Jr., with a fast lap at 192.892 mph was the quickest early Thursday evening during the first practice session in preparation for Saturday night’s Duck Commander 500 at Texas Motor Speedway (TMS). Truex Jr. used qualifying trim to get his top lap in during the session, as did most of the drivers.

Second quickest at 192.164 mph was Brad Keselowski, followed by fellow Team Penske teammate, 2014 Texas winner Joey Logano (192.143 MPH), Austin Dillon (191.612) and Brian Vickers (191.578).

Rounding out the top-10 quickest drivers in the session were six-time winner Jimmie Johnson (191.360), AJ Allmendinger (191.238), two-time winner Greg Biffle (191.232), Kyle Larson (191.225) and series Rookie of the Year candidate, Ryan Blaney (191.184).

The teams return to the track Friday afternoon at 2:45 p.m. (ET) for qualifying to determine the starting lineup for Saturday night’s race, and it is Tony Stewart who is the current series qualifying track record holder at TMS with a lap speed of 200.111 MPH – which he set last October (31st).

Texas Practice 1 Results
#78-Truex, Jr. 192.892 mph
#2-Keselowski 192.162
#22-Logano 192.143
#3-Dillon 191.612
#14-Vickers 191.578
slowest: #55-Sorenson 179.253, #30-Wise 179.164.
most laps run: #24-Elliott, 28 & #22-Logano, 24
Qualifying is scheduled for Friday at 2:45pm/et, followed by final practice at 6:30pm/et.

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