SCR: Was that the first time you had been back lately?
TRUEX: That was actually the first time I had been back since thefirst of the year. It was good to go home to see all my friends andeverything and see how many people are supporting me up there. That waspretty cool. A lot of people recognized me who probably wouldn't havelast year.
SCR: Back to the racing part. What driver out there today do youlike racing against the least?
TRUEX: The least? I can tell you that--that's easy. Robby Gordon.
TRUEX: Well, he's just hard to race with, you know? I mean, realhard to race with. If you're faster and you run him down, then he runsyou down low and blocks you. I don't know, he's just hard to race with.
SCR: Is he aggressive or is he reckless?
TRUEX: (laughs) A little bit of both I think. He's a great guy. Imean, I talk to him off the track and he's great. A perfect example: Wewere at Darlington and it's the end of the race; we kind of struggledwith our car all day and we got it real good at the end of the race andwe're flying up through there. I think I was fifth and he was fourthwhen I get to him, fifth and sixth or something like that. We ended upfourth. But I run him down on the straightaway in about five laps. I getto him and if I run hard, then he would run hard. If I would run low,then he would run low. If I would get a run on him, then he would blockme. So it took me about 10 laps to pass him. It's just hard to race withhim, you know? Usually if somebody is faster, most of these guys won'tgive you too much trouble if you're faster than them. Of course, at theend of the race it's a little different. Then he's a lap down at Bristoland I was hitting him in the bumper trying to get by him and he wouldn'tlet me go. He's a lap down and I was leading. I just rode behind himforever because I couldn't pass him. Then the same thing another time atBristol; I was racing...I think me and Biffle were racing for the leadand I pass Robby Gordon, who was a lap down, get to Biffle and we gotbunched up in some traffic and I went somewhere and he passed me backand wouldn't let me back by him. He's just hard to race with. He alwaysruns hard and doesn't give anybody an inch, which I guess is kind ofwhat you're supposed to do (laughs).
SCR: He takes it to an extreme it sounds like. Sounds like hegets to the reckless side a little too much.
SCR: Where do you see yourself five years from now?
TRUEX: Oooh, that's tough. I don't know. Hopefully Nextel Cupchampion. That's where I want to be and that's what I'm working towardsright now, I suppose. I'm not really too worried about it right now. I'mhaving fun doing what I'm doing and I'm learning a lot and running good.We'll go after this Busch championship; that's my main goal right now.
SCR: Did you envision yourself being in this situation five yearsago?
TRUEX: No. No way. No. You can't ever see something like thishappening. There's another million people out there wanting to do whatI'm doing. There's probably a good part of them that could do what I'mdoing, maybe, and just never get the chance. So you never know whereyou're going to end up.
A spot in DEI's Cup lineup is inevitable for Truex Jr.
SCR: It was just a happenstance occurrence there when RichieGilmore's best man was a friend of yours.
TRUEX: He just worked on my car with me, you know. I just workedreal hard and never gave up. I felt I was doing a good job with what Iwas doing. But I could have never got any further than I was withoutsomebody picking me up and giving the tools I needed to go farther.
SCR: So you feel like with the family-owned team you had gone asfar as you could go?
TRUEX: Yeah. I mean that was as far as we were going to go,running Busch North races and a few Busch races a year. That's all wecould handle or afford. That was about as far as I could have gonewithout somebody else's help.
SCR: There's been speculation about you climbing into the No. 15NAPA Chevy in the near future; is there a timetable for that, and haveyou and Junior and/or Teresa discussed that move specifically?
TRUEX: (laughs, shakes his head) Well, no. I'm not going anywhereright now. Right now they've got drivers in their Cup cars and JohnAndretti is in the 1 car [formerly campaigned full-time by Steve Park]and they're looking for a sponsor to run John in a few more races thisyear. We've talked about maybe running one or two races at the end ofthe year in the 1 car. But we're going to wait and see how everything islooking. If there's something we're both comfortable with at the end ofthe year, then we'll do it. But right now I'm just focused on the Buschcar and not going anywhere.
SCR: No conversations about the 15 car then?
TRUEX: Nope. None.
SCR: And he looked me in the eye when he said that. I'll makenote of that.
SCR: What kind of relationship do you have, if any, with MichaelWaltrip?
TRUEX: I talk to him all the time at the race track. That's aboutit. That's as far as it goes. He's a good guy. If I have a question oran answer, we try and help each other out a little bit. I like to hopethat I can help him a little bit. He's got a lot of experience. He's agood guy and he's been good to me. He's always had good things to sayabout me. He treats me good and I always appreciate people that are likethat. I try to help him as much as I can.
SCR: You dad is here with you, and you've got Junior to turn to,so who do you lean on?
TRUEX: Nobody really. I just kind of do my own thing. A lot ofpeople help me. If I ever have any problems or questions, there's a lotof people around that do a lot for me. I try not to take too much, trynot to ask for too much. I just try to do my thing and let everybodyknow how much I appreciate what they're doing for me. That's about it.
SCR: Last question. Last lap of a race, Junior's leading andyou're on his bumper with a faster car but he won't give up the lead.He's blocking and doing all he can to keep you in second. What do youdo?
TRUEX: It depends on where we're racing. If we're at Bristol orsomewhere, we might knock each other out of the way or something. But ifyou're at Talladega like we were, then we're here to help each other nothurt each other. Like Talladega, if I had been behind him, I would havedone the same thing because if you get out of line they're all going topass you. If we're at a place like Bristol then he probably would haveknocked me out of the way on the last lap if he was faster. It justdepends on where you're racing and how everything is going around you.
SCR: What if it's Rockingham or California?
TRUEX: If it's Rockingham I would probably just take a differentlane and pass him because there's a lot of room there. But it alldepends on where you're at and what's going on.