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NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES: AXALTA 'WE PAINT WINNERS' 400


June 7, 2015


Cole Pearn

Martin Truex, Jr.


LONG POND, PENNSYLVANIA

MATT HUMPHREY:テつ Ladies and gentlemen, he is here, he is joining us here in the media center, none other than Martin Truex Jr., the winner of today's annual Axalta 'We Paint Winners' 400 here at Pocono Raceway, and not only does Martin get the monkey off his back, getting back into victory lane, but for all intents and purposes you've punched your ticket into the 2015 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.テつ Take us through that final lap, through all three turns on that final lap and what was going through your mind.
MARTIN TRUEX JR.:テつ Just thinking about the white flag.テつ Honestly, from 20 to go, whenever that last restart was, we got a good lead, and it was like, all right, focus, hit your marks, don't overdrive it, and it was all about the white flag from there and no cautions.テつ It worked out.テつ It was good.
MATT HUMPHREY:テつ We are joined by the winning crew chief for the No.78 Furniture Row Chevrolet, Cole Pearn.テつ Cole, congratulations on the win.テつ Talk about the excitement that you felt when you saw Martin cross that finish line.
COLE PEARN:テつ Yeah, I was honestly pretty calm most of the way until we kind of came off Turn 3 and I started cheering and I started getting a little choked up at that point.テつ I was doing pretty good.テつ I was proud of myself to that point.
No, it was just pretty awesome and just so proud of him.テつ He did an unbelievable job today.テつ All his restarts he just was 10 out of 10 perfect, and that really made the difference.

Q.テつ This might sound like kind of a weird question, but there's a lot of reasons to want to win, get in the Chase, you haven't won in a while.テつ What do you feel is the most important reason you wanted to win this race today?
MARTIN TRUEX JR.:テつ Honestly because this team deserves to win, and I knew that.テつ I've known that all year long, obviously, especially after the last couple weeks.テつ I felt‑‑ I've kind of throughout my career, I've kind of got used to the disappointment, honestly, and I've learned to deal with those days where it didn't go your way, even though you didn't do anything wrong.テつ That can get a lot of people down, but I've learned kind of to deal with those.
You know, I wanted to win for this team because I knew how good they were, how much they deserved it, the job they've been doing, and I've just honestly been so proud of their outlook on the way this year has gone.テつ It would be easy the last three weeks to get down and to hang your head and to make excuses and honestly just be disappointed, but they weren't.テつ They were excited.テつ They knew we were going to get this win, and they knew we were going to get it soon, and they worked hard.テつ They didn't lose focus of how we got to where we're at, and honestly, that's what pushed us over the edge and was able to make the difference today.

Q.テつ Martin, this is a very popular win in the garage according to your peers who say that they respect you and admire you.テつ What does that mean to you, not just today but overall to have so much support from the NASCAR community?
MARTIN TRUEX JR.:テつ It means a lot, it really does, because there's going to come a time when racing and where you finish in races doesn't matter.テつ What's going to matter is kind of the legacy you leave and how people look at the person that you are.テつ So that means a ton to me to have that respect, and honestly, it's kind of humbling.テつ It's really cool, especially after the last‑‑ the way the last year and a half or so has gone for me, up until this year, I think that people kind of got a little bit of an insight into what I'm made of and what kind of person I am, which is cool.テつ Sucks I had to show it sometimes, but you know, just definitely a humbling feeling to have the respect of those guys because there's a lot of great people in this garage area.

Q.テつ Martin, being from New Jersey and winning at Dover back in 2007 for your first career win, what does this mean to you being nearby New Jersey and to win today, as well?
MARTIN TRUEX JR.:テつ It's definitely neat because I just really enjoy coming up here.テつ This is a great area.テつ I used to‑‑ I think the first time I came to the racetrack, I was four or five years old, and my dad was‑‑ I don't even remember what year it was because I was so young, and my dad was running Race Champions here, modified race, and I remember going to that race, I remember going in the pits afterwards and walking around and seeing all the drivers in the cars, and honestly, I don't even remember.テつ It's kind of a blur how the rest of the weekend went because I was so young and it was so long ago.
Been coming up here a long time.テつ Used to come up here snowboarding and skiing as a kid, and just really enjoy the area because I love to come up here now.テつ My buddy Newman and I go fishing.テつ We've got some friends in the area.テつ My buddy Donny owns a restaurant right up the street; we go there and hang out.テつ It's a cool area for me.テつ A lot of friends and family come.テつ It's a two‑and‑a‑half‑hour drive from where I grew up, and it's just cool to ‑‑ winning at Dover was special, and this is right along the same lines.テつ You could kind of consider this another home track for me because it is so close.テつ Really cool feeling, and glad we were able to get it today.

Q.テつ Just talk about the relationship you both have this season, just competing for so many wins and now being here in victory lane today.
MARTIN TRUEX JR.:テつ It's been awesome.テつ I'll let him give his side, too, but just‑‑ I feel like we've been working together forever.テつ Our personalities are similar.テつ We look at things the same way.テつ Man, I love racing with him.テつ I love his work ethic.テつ Nobody wants it more than him, and he pushes me to be a better driver.テつ He makes great decisions, gives me great race cars and gives me confidence in what he's doing.
Just thankful to have somebody like him on my side for sure, and I feel like it's‑‑ this team is just something special.テつ This is the kind of thing I've been looking for my whole career, and hopefully we can keep it going.

Q.テつ Sherry said that after Richmond in 2013 she told you to have faith and that everything‑‑ you'll end up in a good place and everything will work out.テつ I'm curious if you believed her, and also I'm just curious, how in the world have you gotten through these last 18 months or 21 months really?
MARTIN TRUEX JR.:テつ I kind of believed her.テつ I tried my hardest to, didn't I.テつ You know, I did believe in her, but I just knew it was going to take a lot of work.テつ I knew it was going to be a tough road to get back.テつ I felt at the time‑‑ I felt lucky.テつ At the end of the that season I felt really fortunate that there was a great ride open with the 78.テつ They were just coming off their best year ever, and went into last year honestly feeling like, okay, this is going to be good.テつ This might take a little time to get things figured out, but it's going to be good and we're going to pick up kind of where I left off, and it was just the complete opposite.テつ It was just miserable.テつ Nothing went our way, nothing ‑‑ we had no speed.テつ We couldn't make the cars work; they felt terrible to me.テつ They were so inconsistent, you just never knew what you were going to get.
And then obviously Sherry's situation happened, and it was like, all right, this is when you show people what you're made of.テつ She showed me what she was made of, and I was like, wow, if she can do that, I can do this.テつ This is easy.テつ Honestly, just learned a lot from her and worked hard, never gave up, believed in myself the whole time, and that's what it takes.
You've got to surround yourself with good people, and just thankful for Barney Visser, for Joe Garone and making good decisions over the off‑season, giving Cole the reins, and he took it from there, honestly.
It was definitely the hardest thing I've ever been through, but when you get through something like that, it makes you pretty damned proud of what you've accomplished, and this is easily the biggest win of my career.

Q.テつ This is going to be your third time in the Chase as long as nothing happens.テつ What does it mean for you to‑‑
MARTIN TRUEX JR.:テつ Should be the fourth, right?テつ As long as they don't kick me out before now and then, I'll be in it.

Q.テつ What do you think your chances are of winning the championship this year?
MARTIN TRUEX JR.:テつ Right now they're as good as anyone's out there.テつ I mean, we've been‑‑ look what we've done the last four weeks.テつ We've went head‑to‑head with the big guys, the 48 and the 4, who have been the guys to beat for a year and a half.テつ The 48 has been the guy to beat for seven, eight years.テつ We've been right there with them, toe‑to‑toe.
I think we're still growing.テつ We're still getting better.テつ I'm just excited to be a part of it, to see what we can do.テつ I know we're going to work hard, as hard or harder than anybody out there.テつ It's pretty cool to see what a single‑car team from Denver is doing, and it's awesome to be a part of that.

Q.テつ Martin said before Dover that your team has figured out how to do this being based in Denver.テつ It seems pretty daunting to most people.テつ Just talk about how you do it, all the logistics.
COLE PEARN:テつ It's something that they set up really well in the beginning.テつ We have a truck that runs back and forth to North Carolina every week that brings our engines and transmissions and gears and chassis when they need to, so that side of it just kind of happens and you don't even know it happens.テつ I'm probably the worst guy to ask about the details of all that side of things.
You know, it's awesome.テつ The biggest reason I work there is because it's in Denver, Colorado.テつ Being Canadian, I love it out there.テつ I love the outdoors, love to be able to ski and play hockey and do all those things outside of life, and it makes for a fun group.テつ We've got a really good, tight‑knit young group of guys, and it makes it a lot of fun being out there.テつ We've made all similar commitments in our lives to live out there.テつ We all hang out with each other on days off, we do things together, and just makes it a ton of fun when you can succeed with a group like that.

Q.テつ Being a single‑car team out in Colorado, you guys still have the RCR alliance there.テつ How key is that to the way you're performing right now, and honestly outperforming them?
MARTIN TRUEX JR.:テつ I think it's a nice situation to be in.テつ I think you see it similar to Stewart‑Haas with Hendrick.テつ Worst case we always have what they have.テつ It's a good situation.テつ We can just take and tune on it.テつ I think that's what we've done well this year is kind of just maximized on the relationship from that standpoint is to at least take them as a baseline and let's fine‑tune and make all the‑‑ dot the I's and cross the T's from there to make it a better product, and I think that's really where a lot of the performance has come.

Q.テつ Martin, it sounded like this was a tough week in general for you coming into today.テつ Obviously you've had the car to beat the last three weeks, been leading the most laps, but to do it today after everything else this week, how much better does that make today?
MARTIN TRUEX JR.:テつ Well, I think the racing gods were hanging out with my grandma today.テつ We lost her earlier in the week, obviously.テつ She was just a great person, one of the coolest ladies I've ever met.テつ Obviously the only reason I'm here is because of her, and she's kind of instilled the work ethic in our family, of my dad and his brothers, to do what they did.
She definitely was on our side today.テつ Obviously the luck was on our side, so you can't say it wasn't her.テつ Definitely a little tough this week, but she's in a better place now, and we're definitely going to miss her.

Q.テつ Today's win shows that one‑car teams can do it.テつ We've seen Kurt Busch, AJ Allmendinger and now you do it.テつ Do you think people now realize that perhaps one‑car teams are more formidable because they can focus on one car, and do you think that maybe people will start thinking that maybe NASCAR will start to expand, that you don't have to do it in North Carolina to be a winner?
MARTIN TRUEX JR.:テつ Well, I think that it's been proven that you don't have to.テつ There's still mountains to climb and things to conquer.テつ We haven't won a championship.テつ This is one race.テつ We've got a lot of work to do yet.テつ I think a lot of people look at kind of how this team has done it, how we're doing it now, and it's definitely a positive from the standpoint of we have a lot less people.テつ All the people that work on our car solely focus on the 78, making it faster, winning races, and what can we do to be better.
I think there's always going to be those powerhouse teams in the sport.テつ You're going to always have Hendrick, you're always going to have Penske and RCR, the big four‑car teams, but I think there's room for a lot more competitive single‑car teams to kind of evolve and come to the forefront and be able to compete, be on the same level as a Hendrick or a Gibbs or somebody like that.

Q.テつ Martin, you guys crushed a five‑win streak for Hendrick Motorsports at Pocono Raceway.テつ What does it mean to be able to do that here at Pocono, and you told me on Friday that you have three cars lined up, new cars for the next races.テつ How hard will it be to put this car on the bank and take a new car to Michigan next week?
MARTIN TRUEX JR.:テつ Won't be hard at all.テつ Newer one is going to be better, right?
COLE PEARN:テつ I think.
MARTIN TRUEX JR.:テつ Yeah, we always bring our best piece to the racetrack, and that's what was so cool about the past three weeks is just the amount of effort that got put into making sure that we had our best car at the racetrack.テつ I documented last week going to Dover that the guys had‑‑ the car went from Charlotte to Denver after the 600, and the work started on it at 2:00 a.m. Monday night and worked until midnight Tuesday night which was when they had to get in the trailer and go to Dover.テつ That type of commitment, that's just what this team is made of, that's what this team is all about.テつ Just, again, hats off to them.テつ They're making it happen.テつ I'm just proud to be able to sit in the seat and wheel the thing.

Q.テつ Martin, there was one point I guess middle of the race during a caution, some of the guys, like half the guys stayed out, you went in and got mired back in 16th for the restart but made your way pretty quick through there.テつ Talk about that and how stout your car was today.
MARTIN TRUEX JR.:テつ Yeah, honestly, I was pretty nervous at that point.テつ I was like, oh, man, this doesn't look good.テつ 16th at Pocono is a pretty tough place to restart.テつ Clean air is so big, and we just were able to have a good restart, get the right lane, and once we got up to fifth, within just a few laps, I was like, all right, now we're definitely in the catbird seat.テつ We had fresher tires, we had more gas, and we had gotten our track position back just being able to motor bypass and to pass them.テつ That was kind of a really cool deal.テつ I went from like, man, this was the turning point of the race I felt like.テつ I'm like, all right, we've got to make it happen here and if we don't, we're going to be in trouble.テつ Things luckily, they worked out.テつ I had a good restart and was able to get by a bunch of cars and put ourselves in good position there, and like Cole said, it opened our options up to be able to do more strategy‑wise.テつ We had fresher tires, we had more gas, and it was like, that kind of put us in position to get our track position back because of that restart.

Q.テつ Can you kind of recap the restarts?テつ It seemed like that's where you had so much power.テつ Everyone was four and five wide behind but it was all happening in your rear view mirror as you took off?
MARTIN TRUEX JR.:テつ Yeah, it was a pretty sight.テつ I was always hoping they were two wide behind me.テつ That was the best I could hope for.テつ Luckily we were able to get restarts.テつ We had the right gear ratios today for that and I was fortunately able to do what I needed to do there.テつ Had a good shove from the 22 once, which helped, and honestly, once we were able to put some cars between us and the 4 car, that's when I really just kind of settled in and got real comfortable because I knew he was the guy we were racing for the win.
That little bit of a gap helped a bunch.

Q.テつ There's been so much talk about the rules package this season.テつ What did either of you notice today with the performance of it here at Pocono?テつ Do you think NASCAR should maybe change something or were you pleased with the product today?
COLE PEARN:テつ I don't want to change anything.テつ I'll be straight up with that.
MARTIN TRUEX JR.:テつ There you have it.
COLE PEARN:テつ It's a lot of work when they change the rules.テつ It costs us a lot of money and makes it pretty difficult for us, especially for us as a single‑car team.テつ Definitely I don't want them to change it, put it that way.
MATT HUMPHREY:テつ Gentlemen, congratulations again, and we will see you next week in Michigan.テつ Take care.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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