Ryan Truex ready for Nationwide Series
Ryan Truex was getting the lay of the land at Gateway International Raceway on Friday.
Truex, who won the K&N Pro Series East in 2009 and currently leads the points, will attempt to make his Nationwide Series debut in the No. 00 Toyota on Saturday. It’s the first of six races Truex hopes to run this season.
“I’ve done about everything I think I can to get ready,” Truex said. “Got as much advice about the track as I could. It’s been coming for a while. We announced it a long time ago (March 15). It’s felt like it’s been forever, but now that the time is here, it really doesn’t feel like it’s happening.
“Been a bit nervous. Just getting ready to go. I know it’s going to be tough -- an uphill battle -- leading to the Nationwide Series from where I’ve been. But I think as a team, we’re ready for it.”
The 18-year-old Mayetta, N.J. racer is the next generation from Michael Waltrip Racing. He‘s following the path of his older brother Martin Jr., who pilots MWR’s No. 56 Toyota in NASCAR’s Sprint Cup tour. Martin Truex Jr. won two NNS titles before graduating to Cup. Martin, who has subsidized some of Ryan’s racing, believes his brother has the talent to make that next move.
“It’s been fun to watch Ryan progress,” Maretin said. “He hasn’t been doing this very long and he’s come a long way as a driver. He’s been impressive on the race track and behind the wheel. All the things that he’s done has led to this point.
“I’ll coach if he needs help, but he’s got a great team behind him. I look forward to him make his first start in the Nationwide Series.”
Martin Truex Jr. won the pole for both of his Gateway starts and scored a victory in his 2004 debut. No doubt, the expectations for the younger Truex are large. On Friday, he observed truck series practice and realized quickly that Martin’s advice that Gateway’s corners are very different proved correct.
“He also told me save your car, save your equipment -- you’re going to need it at the end,” Truex said. “If you can do that, you’re going to end up with a pretty good finish.
“It’s good having the last name and all the experience around me. My dad and my brother both give me a lot of advice and really help me out with things, but it definitely puts pressure on me. My brother has come through here and won two championships -- and now it’s my turn. But having both of them has definitely been more of a help than it’s been a problem for me."
The MWR No. 00 NAPA team is being led by Mike Greci. The veteran crew chief currently oversees Ryan’s program in the K&N Series and served in the same role for Martin Truex Sr. during his tenure as a racer back in the Busch North era.
Truex will also have teammate Trevor Bayne to rely upon. Bayne, 19, drives the No. 99 OUT Pet Care Toyota and is currently 11th in the point standings.
“Trevor is a great teammate,” Truex said. “It will be nice to have him around this weekend and for both of us to have a teammate to bounce ideas off of or go to for advice. He hasn’t had that at all year. He’s run the full season. He knows what the car is going to do. He can help me with the car and the track.
“If I can get out of here with a good finish, then I’ll have accomplished what I came to do.”
In a past life, Ricky Carmichael earned the title GOAT -- Greatest of All-Time.
His 16 AMA championships and other motocross titles earned Carmichael legendary status among racers.
Carmichael retired from motocross at 27 to pursue a career in stock cars. After running a limited schedule of trucks, ARCA and Late Models, Carmichael, 30, is racing full-time in the No. 4 Steve Turner Chevrolet in the Camping World Truck Series and is currently 10th in the point standings.
Carmichael says the greatest challenge since moving from two wheels to four is the closeness of competition.
“The biggest thing is the amount of parity that is in this series and in this sport,” Carmichael said. “There’s 20 guys, 15 guys that are really, really good that can win after coming from another series where there’s one or two guys that are leaps and bounds ahead of a lot of people.
“Just the amount of the competition. I’m racing in the third tier of the top sport in the country in car racing. Everyone is so good and they have a lot of experience. A lot of these guys started racing when they were very young. That’s the boat I’m in. I’m happy to be in this, but that’s the biggest thing -- trying to catch up the lost time. But I’m happy where I’m at and I’m happy with the progress.”