Three Questions with Martin Truex Jr.
After rumors had him going to a variety of different organizations, Martin Truex Jr. decided last week to remain with Dale Earnhardt Inc.
However, that could be a short-lived proposition. Truex has agreed to abide by the final option year of his existing contract with DEI, which concludes at the end of the 2009 season.
And while Truex and team officials said last weekend at Watkins Glen that they're still working on drawing up a long-term contract to keep Truex at DEI and in the No. 1 Chevy, there are likely to be a number of seats opening up at other teams after next season, as well.
Until then, Truex will continue with DEI. With four races remaining to make this year's Chase, Truex is admittedly a huge longshot to make it, but he's not giving up the fight. He talked about his future this past weekend:
Q. What are your thoughts about remaining at DEI through at least the 2009 season?
A. "I’m excited and I’m glad to put an end to all the rumors and get rid of all the speculation and solidify my position at DEI. I’m looking forward to running the Bass Pro Shops No. 1 the rest of this year and next year. I’m looking forward to doing great things with the company and moving forward."
Q. This has been a difficult season. You had a chance at making the Chase until your team was found to be in violation of rules at Daytona in early July, which brought about a six-week suspension of your crew chief, Kevin Manion, and a loss of 150 driver points. Can you talk about this year's struggles?
A. "Since the first time I ever sat in a race car at DEI, Bono has been my crew chief. He’s been that guy in my ear that I’ve been talking to. It’s been difficult without him, definitely. It really reminds me of just how good he is and how good our relationship is and our communication is; and how easy we can get through a weekend no matter what is thrown at us. … I’ve been counting down the days until Richmond so I can get Bono and Gary back."
Q. Were you prepared to leave DEI after this season if you had to?
A. "I’m not sure I was ready for that yet. There is still a lot we need to accomplish together, I feel like. I think (Manion's) still getting better as a crew chief and I look forward to working with him for a long time. It’s hard to think about change sometimes, but I wasn’t ready for it."
Jerry Bonkowski is National NASCAR Columnist for Yahoo! Sports (Yahoo.com) and a featured contributor to Gatehouse News Service. He can be reached at NASCARColumnist@Yahoo.com.