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NASCAR Sprint Cup Series: NRA 500

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Stock Car Racing Topics:  NRA 500

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series: NRA 500

Carl Edwards
Martin Truex, Jr.
April 13, 2013


FORT WORTH, TEXAS

THE MODERATOR: We are now joined by second place finisher, Martin Truex Jr., driver of the No. 56 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota. This is Truex's best finish at Texas Motor Speedway, surpassing third in all of 2007. Martin, if you could, talk about that last caution, and your run tonight?
MARTIN TRUEX JR: Well, it was a good run for the NAPA team. We started near the front and had a decent car at the beginning, but not great. We worked on it all night and got it to where it was the best car out there. You know, the last caution came out and we got beat out of the pits and that was the race. It was pretty frustrating to run second again. I feel like we've been in this boat and this position a bunch of times.
You know, nothing about it is much fun. At the same time, it was a good run for us. We had a great weekend. Had a good race car all weekend long, and we learned a lot about things we can use in the future. Just running second sucks, especially when you're that fast. So a little bit frustrated right now.

Q. Kind of a two‑part question. How was that, your two second places in Kansas? And how did that feel?
MARTIN TRUEX JR: Actually, it felt more like Atlanta. We got beat out of the pits there and we were leading the race. We had a five, six‑second lead, everybody pitted, we came in first and went out second, and that was the race, just like it was tonight. So frustrating.

Q. Having finished second last year on a new track at Kansas, coming back there, the new car and new track again, how do you think that's going to play out for you?
MARTIN TRUEX JR: I think it will be good. We had a good run in Vegas, ran well here. It seems like our mile and a half big track program is pretty good and kind of like Kansas. So look forward to going there. I think, obviously, it's going to be a lot different from last year, but it's the same racetrack. So it's the same kind of thing and I think it will work. So just try to go there and have another good weekend.
THE MODERATOR: We're also joined by tonight's third‑place finisher of the NRA 500, Carl Edwards, driver of the No. 99 Fastenal Ford. This is Carl's sixth career Top 5 finish at Texas Motor Speedway. Carl, you quietly made your way to the front there at the end. Can you talk about your night?
CARL EDWARDS: It was pretty eventful. We had a very long night. Early in the race, the car was good, the sun was still out, and then it got really bad. I almost pulled in because I was so loose that I thought it might be better just to pull in and lose a lap or two to get it fixed.
Fortunately, we stayed out and stayed on the lead lap. And the tail pipe, something broke or cracked in the tail pipes and I thought the engine was blowing up, the whole race, that got worse. On one of the restarts I tightened my belts and I unhooked my whole seat belt system coming to green.
So I hadn't had that happen since I was running my dirt car. I told them out there, I don't know what state laws are or whatever, but I went ahead and hooked them back up. But that was pretty crazy.
We stayed on the lead lap, and then Jimmy did a great job. We adjusted things tonight. We pulled shims and put more rounds everywhere than I think I've ever done in a race and had a good pit strategy. Unfortunately, we came home third, but that's a gift for us. I know Martin's not happy with second, but I'm real happy with third.

Q. Martin, obviously I know a second place finish is frustrating for you. But given how the season has gone so far, is this something you can build off for your team?
MARTIN TRUEX JR: Yeah, for sure. We've had a rough season so far as finishes go. I think with three races we have been outside of 30th; we've been 38th, 40th, 43rd once, I think; and it's great. Finishing second is good. I'm not saying that's not the case. It's just when you've been so close to winning so many times since your last one, it really sucks to run that good and finish second. Circumstances, the way they play out sometimes, they go that way.
In my case, I think they've run second like eight times or something. If I had a second place car I'd be happy right now, or if I had a night like Carl's and I fought my butt off to get second, I'd be much happier than I am now. But it just hurts when you give them away.
It's so hard to get in position to win these races. It is so hard to make your car good enough to beat Jimmie Johnson and Carl Edwards and Kyle Busch and all these guys; and we had that tonight. We've got to get better at taking advantage of that. That's where we're missing and that's what we need to work on. So that's why I'm upset. Second is a great accomplishment, but it's not what we're here for.

Q. Did you feel you were in better position if you were able to complete that one round of green flag pit stops when you had a big league and the caution had not come up?
MARTIN TRUEX JR: If the last caution had come out, we had a big lead too. So I don't know. Circumstances didn't play in our favor. The reason we came in ahead of Kyle, we came in with the lead. I still feel like we should have been able to beat him out. I don't know what happened there, but it wasn't even close. I was three cars behind, so it wasn't all pit position, it was other things on our end.

Q. Martin, just answered my question, so I'll ask Carl, what was the deal with the seat belts then? Did it catch on something?
CARL EDWARDS: I don't know. I think when I tightened the belts, either one of the shoulder belts hooked the release or my finger hit it, and it surprised me. I will not be adjusting my belts coming to the green again. I haven't had that in all the races I've run in NASCAR, that's never happened. So that was just icing on the cake tonight. I just couldn't believe it.

Q. I hate to ask, but is it custom for each driver or something NASCAR should look at?
CARL EDWARDS: I don't know how many races I've run, 600 or something like that, for it to happen only once, I don't think it's an issue. But each driver is different. Each driver's belts are a little bit different. Yeah, it's probably just‑‑ it is my fault. It's something that I just need to watch out for.

Q. Carl, given all the testing that was done here this week and the problems you had today, do you feel you've made major gains with this car this weekend on the intermediate tracks or are you still throwing darts?
CARL EDWARDS: We're definitely in the dart‑throwing phase. We might even have a blindfold on when we're doing it. We're in a little bit of trouble; honestly, we have to be better. I think Greg was decent, and we got it dialed in in the end. But that was a mad panic all night. I think we just have some work to do.
I think the tire kind of threw us for a little bit of a loop tonight. I think a lot of people struggled, but we definitely struggled as much as anyone. But I don't feel ultra-confident if we had to come race here next week that we could pull off a third again.
We did test it at Kansas, and I felt pretty good about our test there. But this track here was a struggle.



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