Truex Jr. Ends Season Well

Martin Truex Jr

Martin Truex Jr. is looking forward to being part of the new look MWR in 2012. (Photo: Getty Images)

Martin Truex Jr. finished third in Sunday’s Ford 400 at Homestead Miami Speedway and hopes to carry that momentum into the 2012 season.

The Michael Waltrip Racing driver put together a string of solid runs to finish his year and was pleased to punctuate the effort with the third in Sunday’s season finale.

“All in all, a good way to end the season and proud of my team for what they have done the last couple of weeks,” Truex said. “We know what we need to do in the off-season like I said the other day. So we are excited about the work we are going to do this year and excited about what lies ahead for us next year.”

However, Truex is quick to point out there’s still a lot of work ahead for the newly-retooled team to be ready in 2012 and realistic goals need to be in place.

Still he looks back at the roller coaster performance of this year and is able to find enough highlights to build on going forward.

“Well, I'm cautiously optimistic,” he said. “At the end of the season last year we felt good. We kind of ended similar. We were running well. Our cars were strong. We started this year off really good, but we had too many bumps in the road. We made too many mistakes.

“Obviously we had some bad luck. We got caught up in four or five, I think six wrecks that we had absolutely nothing to do with. That hurts. There were some things that we could have done better. Certainly the penalty we got a few weeks ago, we broke a few parts throughout the season that we probably shouldn't have and those things set us back and took us out of contention into being in the top twelve and possibly make the Chase.”

Truex is looking forward to being part of the new look MWR in 2012. While he’ll return behind the wheel of the NAPA Toyota, newcomers Clint Bowyer and Mark Martin provide an entirely different feel to the organization.

The addition of new teammates, continued dedication from management and what he believes to be a solid foundation in place has Truex bullish about the immediate future.

“I'm excited. I think obviously we are still a young team,” Truex said. “(Team co-owner Rob (Kaufman) and Michael and everybody at MWR, they have put a lot into this. Especially throughout the mid part of this season, that we really went to work on our aero program, our chassis program, put a lot of effort into making our stuff better with the help of TRD and all of the people there and the folks at Toyota.

“They have put a lot into it and it’s paid off for us. I feel like our stuff is getting better. Still not where it needs to be but we are working hard. We have got some new people, obviously coming aboard driver-wise, team-wise. Scott Miller coming over to be our competition director is definitely going to help us. It's a position that we really have not had for most of the season. Nobody has been in that position. All of those little things hopefully will add up and they are doing a lot of things to make our team stronger and at the end of the day hopefully those things will help us.”

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