I’m heading to Gateway International Raceway this weekend for my first Nationwide Series race and I can’t wait to strap into the car. I’m nervous and excited, but I know the feeling will all sink in when I complete the first lap of the 200-lap race. I just can’t thank everyone enough at NAPA and Michael Waltrip Racing for giving me this opportunity. Three years ago I remember racing a legends car at Wall Stadium in New Jersey. Now I’m not only contending for a second championship in the K&N Pro Series East, I’m entering the Nationwide garage. It’s hard to believe how fast it’s come, but I’m ready to get started and make the most of my opportunity.
I know my team made the right choice to make our debut in St. Louis. It’s a Cup series off-weekend so the spotlight will be on the Nationwide Series. It’s going to make the competition tougher having guys like Kevin Harvick and Carl Edwards in the field, but I know we made the correct choice. Mike Greci has been my crew chief in the East cars and I trust him to take me to this next level. We both work well together, and have successfully adapted to several tracks in the past. I think we’ll be able to figure out this 1.25-mile oval.
I don’t expect to go out and set the world on fire. I know it’s not going to happen. I’m just going to get my feet wet and just try to get as much experience as I can. I’m not going to go in and think I can run top 10 or top five or anything like that. It’s a tough series. I think if I finish the race in the top 20 that will be a successful run for my NAPA team.
My brother is always there to give me advice before I get to the track, and this race won’t be any different. In 2004, he won at Gateway with the Nationwide cars, so I know I can rely on him to help me out. The Truex name has always put a little more pressure on me throughout my career, but it took Martin a lot of starts to figure it out. I’m just going to go and try to do the best that I can.
Every kid wants to be just like his older brother, and I wasn’t any different. I decided I wanted to race full-time when I was about 14 years old, and I’ve been hooked ever since. I guess now I just enjoy going fast. I’ve always enjoyed fishing and riding dirt bikes, but this is what I love to do. I’m the most comfortable when I’m behind the wheel of my racecar.
My whole year has been a whirlwind. I earned a trip to victory lane at New Hampshire last month, which was special because my dad and Martin have both won there. It’s a home track for me, being from New Jersey. Now, I’m getting ready to move into the Nationwide garage. This is definitely a year I’ll remember throughout my career.