Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Toyota drivers on Pocono

MARK MARTIN HAS SEVEN CAREER 
SECOND-PLACE FINISHES AT POCONO.
(MICHAEL WALTRIP RACING PHOTO)
MARK MARTIN:  Mark Martin doesn’t have a racing bucket list, but if he did Pocono Raceway might be at the top of the list. Pocono, Homestead, Indianapolis, Daytona and Kentucky are the only active tracks on the Sprint Cup circuit where Martin has not won.

His 20 top-five Pocono finishes are the most of any driver and he’s finished second at the Pennsylvania track seven times including last year’s near victory.

At the June race, the No. 55 Aaron’s Dream Machine Toyota driver made a daring pass on a restart to take the lead with just seven laps left. Joey Logano retook the top spot with three to go and beat Martin to the finish line by 0.997 seconds for the victory. The Michael Waltrip Racing team returns to the “Tricky Triangle” this weekend after finishing ninth last weekend in Dover.
                                                                        
MARK MARTIN HAS NO WINS BUT SEVEN 2ND-PLACE POCONO FINISHES: “I don’t have a bucket list. I’ve always believed you are never owed this stuff. I've earned all those second place finishes, and I'm proud of that. You're not entitled. You've got to go get 'em. That’s what makes winning so rewarding. These races aren’t easy to win.”

MARK MARTIN ON WINNING THIS WEEKEND: “We struggled in May. We didn’t like how we ran at Darlington or Charlotte, but last weekend in Dover was a lot better. It was a great team effort. Obviously, until you are sitting in victory lane you have room for improvement but we think we should be pretty good this weekend at Pocono. “

MARK MARTIN ON POCONO: “I admit I wasn't overly optimistic about the repaving last year, but they did a heck of a job. The race was a great show. The restarts at Pocono are insane and you have to take full advantage of them. That was the biggest opportunity to make gains and definitely big gains. You could get three or four at a time if somebody got bottled up a little bit. Had to be on your toes for the restarts for sure.”

CLINT BOWYER — No. 15 RK Motors Toyota driver Clint Bowyer and Crew Chief Brian Pattie are in their second season together at Michael Waltrip Racing. Their first season culminated in a runner-up finish for the 2012 Chase for the Sprint Cup. The pair heads to Pocono Raceway this weekend in third-place in the standings ahead of their 2012 pace in top-fives, top-10s, laps led and seven spots higher in the point standings.


CREW CHIEF BRIAN PATTIE ON POCONO: “The three distinct corners make Pocono a challenge. They pose a problem setting cars up, so we just try to pick the corners that we can pass going into and get good speed going down the straightaways. The speeds are way up since the repave. The track is way smoother so that changes the setup a lot from previous years. Hopefully the winter up there has done the track some good and given it some character so we can get a little more grip. That’d help with the racing.”

BRIAN PATTIE ON BOWYER: “Clint adapts to the racetrack. He’s willing to move around and not get fixated on one line around the racetrack. Obviously when track conditions change he is one of the first ones to move around and find speed. When things are good we’re happy. When things are bad we get pissed off. We want everything to be perfect and most of the time it is, but when it’s not we both get angry at the same time and the same situations. I think our tolerance level is the same. In certain situations or events we act the same way.”

CLINT BOWYER ON PATTIE: “I don’t know that there is just one thing that he’s best at – he is good at so many different things. He is a good leader. His workers and crew respect him. They enjoy working with him. I enjoy working with him. He is just a great leader and calls a very good race. He builds fast racecars. He is just the total package as far as I’m concerned.

“I think in a lot of ways we are alike. In terms of personality and temperament – all those things. We are racers  that want to win and determined to get there. We are not satisfied with second best and we drive to get better each and every week. And I think we are both realists – we don’t think we are something that we’re not or believe in something that’s not true. We both go out there and understand what we got for a racecar, understand what we got for a situation and have a game plan going into the race of what we need out of that race, that changes. Obviously we want to win each and every week, but with this level of competition that’s just not possible. You have to be able to make good decisions to get the best results possible and keep yourself in the running for this thing. The way that the points work out is all about the Chase. And that’s the last races of the year – not the first races.”

MARTIN TRUEX JR.: Heading into the Pocono 500 in 2011, No. 56 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota driver Martin Truex Jr. got word that his lead engineer, Chad Johnston was becoming his crew chief.

Until then, Johnston had never led a team in any form of NASCAR competition.

Now, after 72 races together, Truex and Johnston earned MWR its first berth in the Chase for the Sprint Cup alongside teammate Clint Bowyer and are in contention for a second-straight appearance. Plus, nearly half of their finishes — 33 — are top 10s.

In four races together at Pocono Raceway, Truex has earned one top-five and two top-10 finishes and ranks eighth in most points earned by at driver.

TRUEX JR. ON CREW CHIEF CHAD JOHNSTON: “I think what makes it work between me and Chad is the fact that he understands how our system works and how to get the most out of it. He knows how to get the right information out of the people and then give the right feedback to make our cars even better.

“As far as the engineering side goes, he’s not afraid to go out on a limb and work on stuff himself to make our cars faster. And as far as our relationship, I think we have similar backgrounds growing up in racing with our dads. We have a passion for racing that started at a young age. We aren’t afraid to work hard to get what we want. Chad works harder than anyone I have ever seen in the garage as far as crew chiefs go. I think that’s a big part of why we have been successful together. The only thing that’s missing is a win and that’s coming. We are running too well for that not to happen. I just hope it’s this weekend and I think we are more than capable of making a win happen at Pocono.”


TRUEX JR. ON TEAM'S SUCCESS AND POCONO: "On Sunday at Dover, I thought we 
had a real chance to win the race. I am so proud of my NAPA team and what all we have been able to accomplish. They are giving me such good race cars and making really good adjustments throughout the course of a weekend. We just need to put it all together and have some of these things quit biting us. We’ve got the speed. We’ve got the race team. We’re headed to Pocono and we’ve been good there. In the fall, I think we had the best car. The storm ended the race when we were running in third. I am looking forward to going back there and getting two more spots out of the place.”


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