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October 2, 2016

Martin Truex, Jr.

Dover, Delaware

THE MODERATOR: We're going to wrap up our post‑race media availabilities for today's Citizen Soldier 400 here at Dover International Speedway. We are joined by our race winner, Martin Truex Jr., driver of the No.78 Furniture Row Denver Mattress Toyota. This is your second win in the Round of 16 for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, fourth of the season, and also this was the 15th win for Toyota, which is the most in a season for the manufacturer. What do you think of all that?
MARTIN TRUEX JR.: Well, that's all unbelievable. What an awesome weekend for us. I mean, I talked about it in here the other day, that this track has always been special to me. It's always been near the top of my list. I love this place. I've had a lot of heartbreaks since my first win here back in '07. I've had a lot of heartbreaks. I've led a lot of laps. I've been in position to win multiple times, and it never seemed to work out for multiple reasons.
Today I'm just thankful to have a great team, to have been able to lead lap 400 and get back to victory lane at a track that's so special to me.

Q. You won here in '07, didn't win again until '13. Did you think at some point in your career you were just going to be the kind of journeyman driver who just didn't contend for wins‑‑
MARTIN TRUEX JR.: Hell no. No.

Q. Was it as simple as changing from FF to Furniture Row? That changed it all around? Could this have happened anywhere else?
MARTIN TRUEX JR.: You know, honestly, you just never quit. I mean, I knew I always had enough good runs and enough kind of flashes of excitement or success that it always kept me motivated. It always kept me pushing.
I mean, aside from 2014, I think that my first year at Furniture Row was tough, but I think every other year, I always had something I could look at and say, hey, look, look at this, this is what we're capable of when we put everything together and all the stars align. I'm able to show what I'm capable of.
I've always had enough throughout my career to kind of lean on those times where I thought maybe it wasn't going the way I needed it to go, where I didn't have the things I needed to have to compete with some of these guys. Just continue to drive and push and never give up. Lucky enough to get with a great race team. It started out rough for us, but we continued to work, and we all worked in the same direction and believed in each other.
I mean, it's just continued to get better and better over time. I don't know what to say other than I never gave up, never said I don't think I'll ever win again or think I'll have a chance to win again. I just always knew I could do it.

Q. You met with Joe Girardi earlier in the week. Did he give you any advice, and also, do you kind of feel like the Yankees of the late 1990s?
MARTIN TRUEX JR.: Honestly, I mean, we just talked and shared stories. He was such an impressive guy and had such a good outlook on life in general. We actually talked a lot about our charities and our foundations and what we do. You know, just such a special man, played baseball, loves the game, puts everything he has into coaching.
You know, I'll be honest, I'm not a Yankees fan, but I am a little bit now because I met him. Just a special man who didn't know me from anyone and brought me in, Sherry and I both, and we sat in his press conference with him, and he just shared his passion for helping people with us. He does a lot for people. Every day he wears a different tee‑shirt during his press conference for a charity that he's working with or somebody he's trying to help get the word out for something they're fighting for, and it happened to be when we went it was ovarian cancer because he lost his mom to that, and that was kind of a connection we had there.
You know, I don't remember much about the 1990 Yankees to compare us to, but I'm sure it's good to be able to compare us to them.

Q. Could you just talk about the last couple weeks? You had the one win in the Chase, you were in position to win last week, and now you've got this win. Just the momentum, what is it with you guys at this time of the year where it's just clicking for you?
MARTIN TRUEX JR.: That's just it, I mean, it's just clicking. I don't know. Honestly, I feel like all season long we've been the same team, and we've done the same things. You know, I guess right now it's just our time. You know, throughout the summer, we led so many laps and had so many great race cars and so many great weekends that would just‑‑ things would happen. Sometimes it was just rotten luck, sometimes it was mistakes or just circumstances that didn't play out. But I think that the biggest thing is we just kept our heads in the game. We stayed focused on the things that truly matter, and when all that bad luck went away, here we are. I mean, it's just been amazing. We've got a great team. I've got a lot of people to thank obviously. It starts at the top with Barney Visser, our owner, giving us the things we need, our friends at TRD and Toyota and all of our sponsors and partners that have made this season a success. It's just things are clicking right now. We've got confidence, we've got momentum, and we're just rolling with it and taking it one week at a time, and hopefully we can continue this for seven more weeks.

Q. I'm guessing‑‑ obviously you're enjoying all this, and this is a heck of a ride, but is there a part of you that is‑‑ I don't want to say worried, or do you have to look at the other side and think, boy, we've been on top for so long, how do I stay on top or how do we keep this train going for seven more weeks with the competition coming up?
MARTIN TRUEX JR.: Yeah, I mean, I think that's a fair question. It's a good question. But like I said, we have done this all year long. I mean, you look at this team and what we've done, aside from bad luck, I can't tell you how many races we could have won this year. You've seen the same thing.
I think that we've just got to go out there each week and try to be as prepared as we can. We're not going to change who we are. We didn't do that before the Chase started. We just got hot and we got momentum, and hopefully we don't lose it. I mean, I don't know how we got it, I don't know how to keep it, I just know that I think we're going to continue to approach these races the same way, and hopefully it works out for us.

Q. No one expects you to give up a win or anything like that, you've got a 12‑second lead, but did you at any point feel sorry for the rest of the field that you were kicking their butt out there?
MARTIN TRUEX JR.: No, not at all. No, no mercy rule. You know, honestly I did not expect the race to go green to be honest with you. I thought, we've got 50 to go and we were getting ready to pit, and I'm like, there is no way. We've been green for so long, I just didn't see it coming. I was holding my breath. I was trying to take care of my equipment, make sure I didn't cause a caution. That would have been really dumb. And just trying to take care of it and make sure we got to the end. Lo and behold, the caution never came, so it worked out good for us.

Q. Obviously you guys showed last year that you were a team capable of contending for a championship. But in the off‑season, you did change manufacturers, you did begin a new alliance with the Joe Gibbs organization, and here we are three races into the Chase, you have two of the wins. You've got some of their guys saying, I wonder what he's got over there. Did you ever expect that it would be this smooth? Obviously I don't know if people realize that sometimes that can be a very daunting change for an organization, and to continue as well as you have and even be better is probably a little bit surprising.
MARTIN TRUEX JR.: Yeah, I mean, I thought it would take longer for sure. I think Barney did, as well. I think the team beat the expectations of the owner, which is something you don't normally see. So I think it's just a credit to all of our people, you know, all the guys at TRD, at Toyota that help us, that helped us put all this together and helped us build fast race cars and make sure we had all the things we needed. It really is a credit to the people.
I mean, that was a huge undertaking this winter to switch manufacturers and start over with all new chassis and components. It's just, I mean, everything about our program changes over the winter, and for our guys to jump on top of it like they did and be as prepared as they were just says how good they are and speaks volumes about their abilities.
For me, it wasn't a big deal. I mean, our cars were fast right out of the gate, and we had some things that we had to work through, a lot of things were different, but at the same time they were all working well for us right off the bat, and it's just been fine‑tuning and finding the things that I'm looking for and the feel that I like and incorporating that into what we have. It's amazing how quickly it all came together.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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