Thursday, October 31, 2013

Toyota drivers talk Texas

ELLIOTT SADLER: No. 55 Aaron’s Dream Machine Toyota driver Elliott Sadler tests at Homestead-Miami Speedway Tuesday and Wednesday before traveling to Texas Motor Speedway for Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup race. In 2004, Sadler won the second of his three career victories on the 1.5-mile Texas oval.

This weekend he and his Michael Waltrip Racing teammates race with the knowledge gained from testing at the Texas track Oct. 21-22. 

Sadler led six laps Sunday and finished 25th at Martinsville in his first start in the No. 55 replacing Brian Vickers who will sit out the remainder of the season for medical reasons. Vickers joined Sadler on the grid before the race and on top of the team’s pit box during the race in Martinsville. Vickers vowed he’ll be ready for full-time competition in 2014.

ELLIOTT SADLER ON TESTING WITH NEW TEAM: “It’s hard to put in words how much it helped me to go to Texas and test with this team instead of being thrown right into the fire. I didn't really know Billy Scott (race engineer) and a lot of the guys on the team. I have worked with Scott Miller (crew chief) before at Diamond Ridge Motorsports, but not at this capacity. So, we got to go to the test at Texas and work through a lot of different things for two days. When they told me (about the Texas and Homestead tests) over the phone I was like, ‘Man, this is great.’ A lot of track time in the Cup car here in a 10-day period is definitely good for me. Track time, you can’t buy that!”

BRIAN VICKERS: “I feel like I could drive a race car, I just can’t. I feel great. Still training, still exercising -- I miss being here, I wish I was here today. All in all, I feel good. I’ve told many people this since everything happened. I can’t complain. I’ve got a great life and family and friends. I’m frustrated and I’ve been bummed since obviously all this happened again. I’m just kind of looking forward. Things happen in life -- that’s part of it. You just keep fighting and have faith. That’s all you can really do. I’m going to be out for three months and back in time for Daytona to race for a championship.”

CLINT BOWYER: No.15 5-hour ENERGY Toyota driver Clint Bowyer heads to Texas Motor Speedway for Sunday’s 500-mile NASCAR Sprint Cup with a new Extra Strength Sour Apple 5-hour ENERGY camouflage paint scheme.

Bowyer, who finished a Chase-best third at Martinsville last week, has three top-five and eight top-10 finishes in his 15 starts at Texas.  He has led 84 laps with an average finish of 13th. Bowyer ranks sixth in the Sprint Cup Series standings trailing co-leaders Matt Kenseth and Jimmie Johnson by 55 points with three races remaining in the season.

BOWYER ON TEXAS: “We tested at Texas last week and had a good test. I always look forward to getting back down to Texas, but obviously it’s a little bit different when you do get down there to race. There is a little more rubber on the track with more cars and trucks on the track. Overall I think we had good speed and stacked up well against the competition and the car felt good. I’m looking forward to getting down there and another solid run. We need a win … bad! Texas is one of the coolest places to win. I hope we can do that this weekend.”

ON YEAR TO DATE: “We’ve definitely turned the page when we went to these tracks a second time this year. We had a good notebook of what not to do and usually you can run better because of that. That said, we had a pretty big setback for our organization and we’ve been able to bounce back from that a little bit, but we had a good run last week at Martinsville. We haven’t won a race yet and we need to win a race desperately bad and I think we are capable of winning one of these last three races. We’ve had a great season. Looking back on this season I’m very proud of the season we’ve had. We’ve been very consistent week in and week out up front for our sponsors. We were second in points the entire second half of the season, so definitely it’s been a good year, but we are definitely missing that win in the win column.”

ON THE TOP TWO DRIVERS: “Look at the two drivers that are tied for the points championship – unless they hand one of the other guys a bone then there is no chance of anyone catching them. Those two teams have elevated themselves to championship level teams and that is your race for the championship.”

MARTIN TRUEX JR.: Martin Truex Jr. feels like he has some unfinished business with Texas Motor Speedway. In April, Truex led 142 laps but finished second just 0.508 seconds behind fellow Toyota driver Kyle Busch.

The Michael Waltrip Racing driver hopes an Oct. 21 and 22 test on the 1.5-mile oval at Texas is the key to finishing one spot better on Sunday when the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series returns to the Lone Star state.

Before going to Texas, Truex is testing the No. 56 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota at Homestead-Miami Speedway Tuesday and Wednesday in preparation for the Nov. 17 season finale.

Martin Truex Jr. On Testing: “When we finish up here at Homestead today we will be done with testing this season. Last week we tested at Texas and had a really good test there. I am obviously looking forward to the race this weekend. We came so close to winning at Texas in the spring. The only thing on our mind is going back there and winning. Homestead has always been a great track for me. Our NAPA team is definitely looking forward to going there as well. Hopefully we can go back to contending for wins starting Sunday at Texas.”

On the NAPA team: “All this NAPA team wants to do is go out swinging. They have always worked hard and deserve something really good to happen. We’ve had such a great time together and we want to finish out this season strong. The last couple of weeks have been frustrating. Not a lot has gone our way. Three of our best tracks are coming up. Hopefully they will be good to us so that we can do some good things. All we want to do is to go out on a positive note. This NAPA team deserves it.”

Update on Cast: “My wrist is 75 percent healed. I still wear a cast when I race but it’s removable now. I only have to wear it when I am in the car. It’s getting better but at times it hurts a little bit. I notice it the most right after a race. It’s not slowing me down. It’s all good. I’ll be back to 100 percent when the new season begins.”

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