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NASCAR MEDIA CONFERENCE
November 19, 2015
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. Talk more about Furniture Row Racing.
MARTIN TRUEX JR.: Obviously you look at what we're up against. You have Hendrick with four cars, you have Stewart‑Haas who is a satellite team of Hendrick with four cars. You have Gibbs who has four cars. We're a one‑car team out of Colorado.
Our alliance is with RCR. We get our engines from them, our chassis from them. We share basically everything. We're almost like a teammate to the RCR guys.
But at the same time we do everything out in Denver, one car. It's quite a bit different than what we're up against.
Q. (Question regarding the crew chief.)
MARTIN TRUEX JR.: Yeah, I mean, rookie crew chief. He's been around the sport for a long time obviously. He's been an engineer in the sport for a long time, was my lead engineer last year. Just felt like it was time to give him the reins. He's obviously done just a terrific job this year.
It's been a lot of fun to work with him. Really our chemistry and our beliefs in each other and the team he's assembled is really the difference this year. He's just done a really good job of working in the right areas and understanding what it takes to run at a high level each and every weekend.
I've been the beneficiary of that. So it's been fun. I mean, it's been a really fun season for all of us. No pressure here. Go out and get it done, see what we can do. We're looking forward to it.
Q. (Question regarding all the media attention.)
MARTIN TRUEX JR.: Yeah, it's been a lot of fun. Honestly everybody keeps telling me to enjoy myself, don't take it too serious, have a good time with it. This is coming from guys that have done this before, are experienced.
I really didn't need that advice. I've really had a fun season in general. The Chase has been fun. Years ago, last year, years before, I would have probably been a lot more stressed and been a lot more on edge, just been nervous about the races, making it, not making it, what's going to happen, just worried about it.
This year, I don't know, I just have a different outlook. It's been fun for me. Have a lot of confidence in my team, that really helps. It's been smooth sailing. Feel like I've been given a great opportunity and I've just enjoyed it.
Q. (No microphone.)
MARTIN TRUEX JR.: I've been through a lot of crap in my life. Honestly, been a lot of ups and downs in my whole career. The things that happened last year with Sherry getting diagnosed with cancer, the foundation we have, the kids we met, just have a different perspective on things.
Racing is important, it's a big part of my life, but it's not the only thing that matters. I know each and every weekend, each week getting prepared for the race, I give it my all, and that's all I can do.
There's a lot of things in this sport you can't control. I've learned not to worry about those, not let those bad weekends that happened to me that I can't do anything about bother me and make me lose sleep over.
Really just focus in on what I'm doing, enjoying the relationships I've made, working with the people I really respect. That's really been a big difference for me this year.
Q. How is she right now?
MARTIN TRUEX JR.: She's been great. Three to go. Three more treatments and she'll be done. Hopefully that's the last she'll ever have to see of it, of that place.
It's been pretty remarkable the way she's went through everything, really inspiring to me. There's so many things I could say about it, but in the end there's three to go and she's a fighter. I'm glad that she's as strong as she is.
Q. When is the last treatment?
MARTIN TRUEX JR.: It will be in February, so it's usually the second week. So it will be right before we go to Daytona will be the last one. It will be great to kick off a new season and not have to worry about that hopefully anymore ever.
Q. Will she be here?
MARTIN TRUEX JR.: Yeah, yeah, she's on her way to the track with her mom. Looking forward to having a fun weekend.
Q. Truck get out of Denver before the snow?
MARTIN TRUEX JR.: It did. They left 12 hours later than they wanted to. They spent the night at Wal‑Mart Tuesday night. They started shutting down all the highways. They had to pull into Wal‑Mart, park the truck and spend the night.
Chuck and Barry are here. They should be here byb now. The last I heard they were about four or five hours out. So they should be at the track by now.
Q. What is it like getting so much press?
MARTIN TRUEX JR.: It's pretty incredible. Luckily ours is good press. I'm sure theirs wasn't too good after last weekend. It's really cool. We get a lot of support from everyone in Denver. Not only the fans, but the media. We've got a lot of friends there in the news, writing the newspapers. It's been neat to meet all those folks and have the passion they're starting to have for their hometown team.
Just lucky to be part of it, glad to be a part of that. It's been really fun to watch.
Q. Different not being in a traditional NASCAR market?
MARTIN TRUEX JR.: It is. It is. When I go there, I can go just about anywhere anyway and nobody knows who I am. When you go there, it is what it is. The shop out there, you can't even tell it's a race shop. You would drive right by there and you would go, What the heck is in there? There's no sign out front.
For our team specifically, they really love it there. It's a great place for young people to live. All our guys enjoy it. They are all really close friends. They go out together, they go to football games, baseball games. Whatever it is they do, they all do it together.
The special thing about this team is how close everybody is, the respect they have for one another. Cole can yell at them and tell them they screwed up, didn't do something right. They're madder at themselves than they are at him. We really just have that really good chemistry and belief in one another.
Those guys I think being out there in Denver is part of that. They have to spend time together. They have to do things together.
I feel like that's been a big benefit for us. We're away from the other teams. They're not going out to dinner with guys from other teams. They don't have to worry about one of those guys taking their job. It's a different atmosphere with this group than I've ever felt, and feel like that's a big part of the reason for the success.
Q. I assume you're heart is still with the Eagles, though?
MARTIN TRUEX JR.: Still an Eagles fan. Denver is my second pick, though.
Q. (No microphone.)
MARTIN TRUEX JR.: I really don't know much about it, to be honest with you. I really don't play Fantasy Football. I already have too many hobbies and not enough time. A lot of guys on my team play DraftKings a lot and really enjoy it. That's about as far as I go with it. I really don't know much about it.
Q. (No microphone.)
MARTIN TRUEX JR.: We went to the Panthers‑Eagles game. That was after Talladega, yes.
Q. What do you think of the team?
MARTIN TRUEX JR.: The Eagles? Man, a lot of tough losses, a lot of close losses. I think they've got a lot of talent, but just too many mistakes, losing close games. The other night, I couldn't believe they lost to the Dolphins. In all honesty, there were plenty of opportunities to win. They kind of handed it to them. They have to clean some things out. I still enjoy watching them.
Q. Do you get a sense there is mutual respect among this group?
MARTIN TRUEX JR.: There is in here. I don't know if there will be on Sunday. Things certainly change when you put that helmet on.
Honestly, I really think there is. All the stuff that we've done together so far for the Chase, doing the late show with Jimmy Fallon, just in general, I think we have a lot of mutual admiration. How couldn't you? Harvick being defending champion, Jeff Gordon's story obviously this is a huge weekend, it's really exciting honestly just to be a part of that, to be a part of his last race and last chance.
Everybody's going to remember this race no matter who is champion because he was in it. So to be part of that race is pretty cool, it's special.
Kyle certainly is a guy we're going to have to race with for a long, long time. He's very talented. This is his first shot for a championship in the series, too. I think we have respect for each other's stories, how we got here, what we have on the line, and for the most part on the racetrack we all respect each other as well.
It's still going to be a hell of a battle. It's not going to be, Oh, gee, man, you're faster, you go take the lead. It's not going to be like that at all. That changes on the racetrack. It's going to be a fun race to see who can come out on top.
Q. Do you buy into the talk about Harvick being a favorite?
MARTIN TRUEX JR.: I think you kind of have to make him the favorite based on the fact that he's defending champion, based on the fact he's led over 2,000 laps again this year. Those guys for the most part, most racetracks have had the speed to be the car to beat on more occasion than the rest of us.
I think we're probably second to them as far as that goes. We certainly don't have the top two and three finishes that he does. But along the way as far as speed goes, I think we've been on average just right behind him. Hopefully we can turn that around this weekend.
Q. (Question about Richmond.)
MARTIN TRUEX JR.: A blessing?
MARTIN TRUEX JR.: You know, honestly it's not hard to believe. I mean, things happen for a reason, you know. Sherry told me after that race, you know, Don't let it get you down, things happen for a reason, it's going to work out. Of course, I didn't believe her that night. That was the night I got the phone call from NASCAR what they were going to do, knew the ramifications of what that was going to cause.
But I got over it really quickly and I got over it quick and said, Look, there's things in life that you can't control. Life's not fair. To be honest with you, that wasn't the end of the world. I knew it was going to be hard just because of the way the sport is to get that opportunity to be at a competitive team again. But I knew it wasn't the end of the world. There was obviously a lot of things that could happen that are worse.
Now looking back, obviously even more to that point I understand that. But I did get over it fairly quickly and said, Hey, you know, stuff happens, we need to figure out how to move on, make the best of what happened, and was fortunate to land with a great team.
Q. (No microphone.)
MARTIN TRUEX JR.: What a huge honor, obviously. I was really shocked to find out about it. There's stuff we to with our foundation, we do it because we love it. We do it because of the kids we've met that inspire us. We do it because of Sherry and I both had great childhoods, that's really what got us started doing that. To see the outpour of support, not only from our donors and people that have supported our foundation, helped us raise money over the years, but to get recognition like that is just amazing.
I really don't like getting recognition for doing those things sometimes, but in this case it's going to be worth a lot of money to help the things we're trying to do. It's really just a huge honor. Obviously humbled and just really can't believe it.
Q. (Question regarding being the underdog.)
MARTIN TRUEX JR.: We want this more than anything right now. It's all or nothing. I mean, this is the only thing that matters. You know, I don't know if, based on past history, just the things that I've been through, you never know when you're going to get on opportunity like this again.
All we can do is make the most of it, put our best effort out there. The guys have worked hard. They feel confident about what we're going to have this weekend. It's a huge deal and you never know, like I said. May never get this opportunity again.
I mean, that's how big of a deal it is for me. But at the same time what can you do different. You got to go out there and you got to stay focused and do your thing, do what we've been doing all year long. Hopefully we can step that performance up and be able to win the race.
But I'm just really excited to be a part of this, to be given this opportunity, have a great team behind me. Hopefully we can make it happen. There's no guarantees. It's going to be difficult. It's going to be tough. But I'm telling you, we want it as bad as anyone out there. It's ours to go get.
Q. A lot has been made of the fact you're in Denver, only team west of the Mississippi River. Changing manufacturers next year, are you amazed that you've been able to accomplish this this year?
MARTIN TRUEX JR.: Not really. I'm not amazed at all. I mean, when the season started I knew we had something. Actually when we tested in the off‑season I knew we had something. Then we just continued to work on it.
Honestly, once Cole brought in his new engineers and we all got together and started working on racecars, I knew what we were capable of this year. It felt that good. We had that chemistry, that belief. They were asking me questions that I'd never been asked before. I'm like, Wow, this is awesome, you know.
We've just continued to build on that relationship and get better and better and better. So I'm not surprised at all. Certainly there's a lot of things that have to go on to make it through these rounds. We've seen some crazy stuff happen. We've been on the good end of some things. But our performance has been great all year. We've been so consistent. So I'm not surprised at all that we're here.
I wouldn't be surprised at all if we won it. I'm just hoping like hell that we can do it.
Q. If you were sitting in this place one year ago and somebody told you you would be where you are now, would you be surprised?
MARTIN TRUEX JR.: It's hard to say because you really don't think a year in advance in this sport. You think about next week and the week after. So I don't know. It's hard to say.
Based on the season we had last year, if you would have told me at the end of last year that this would have happened, I would have told you you were crazy. There were just so many things that had to come together for this to happen.
It all started with Cole. I keep giving him all the credit because he deserves it. When he took over the reins, it could have went either way. He was kind of like me, kind of quiet, kind of reserved when he got the opportunity. Everybody kind of said, Here you go, this is your job, this is what you're going to do. We all stepped back and watched and waited and said, How is he going to handle it?
Joe Garone and I talked about it before we gave him the opportunity to be the crew chief. It was like, How is he going to handle this part and that part, things he had never done.
I don't know, it was three or four days after Joe told him, Okay, you're going to be the crew chief, you're our guy. It was like you flipped a switch and you brought a different guy out. He just totally changed. I don't know what it was that flipped in his head but it was like, All right, this is mine, I can do what I want now. I almost think he was afraid of stepping on people's toes before. Once he knew it was his, he could do it the way he wanted it to be done.
He's just done an unbelievable job, not only bringing the right people to work with him and me, but leading the team and making sure they're working on the right things.
Q. You seem to have a genuine respect for each other. Are all of you drivers friends?
MARTIN TRUEX JR.: I would say so. I think we all have respect for each other. Certainly I have respect for all those guys and what they've done on the racetrack. Really that's all that matters. We don't have to be friends. We don't have to go hang out during the week. We have that respect on the racetrack. Those are things you earn from racing together over the years.
I've been wrecked by Kyle and Jeff before. But I feel like since that happened, getting to know them better, them turning around and giving that respect back on the racetrack, kind of giving you the benefit of the doubt I guess, is kind of what's made that.
I don't know. I know Kyle and Kevin have had some issues before. As far as I go, I've never had issues with any of them. It's all about focusing on what I can control. I'm not worried about what they do, I'm not worried about any of that, I'm worried about me and my team and what we can do and what we have to do to be able to beat these guys this weekend.
Q. How is your mindset a little bit different than the other drivers?
MARTIN TRUEX JR.: As long as none of their teammates try to do anything to harm us, I don't think it's really any different at all. We have people that we work with throughout the weekend on setups, team meetings, all those things, our RCR alliance. It's really no different.
As far as preparation for the race, we don't have that strong of ties with our teammates as some of the others. But at the same time our whole group, everybody on the 78 is focused on the 78. Everybody at Furniture Row Racing is 100% focused on our car, what we're doing at the shop, getting prepared.
It's not we have to get four cars ready, it's we're getting one car ready, we're going to go all in on this thing and hope that it works out.
Q. (No microphone.)
MARTIN TRUEX JR.: I read that today. Well, I think if you look at '94, them being a single‑car team, it's a lot different than it is today. There was a lot of single‑car teams. Earnhardt, he's won how many championships? He was winning all these races.
It's completely different today. I think it's a way bigger deal today than it was then to be able to do what we're doing, way bigger story.
Certainly with our RCR alliance, there's no way, shape or form we would be here without that. They do so much for us. We're really like a fifth team of theirs.
For the two years that I've been at Furniture Row, they've really treated it that way. We've shared everything, open book back and forth. Honestly, we wouldn't be able to be here without that.
We're a single‑car team out of Denver, but we do have that alliance and those partnerships. We get our engines from them. In two years we've not had a single engine failure. A lot of the credit goes to them. We wouldn't be able to do it without them.
At the same time it's really amazing in this sport today in this day and age the way it is with multi‑car teams, Hendrick basically having eight cars out there with Stewart‑Haas and the Hendrick cars, to be up against things like that is just pretty incredible.
We have a lot less resources. I feel like our guys do a lot more with a lot less than most. It's been pretty impressive to see that.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports