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May 28, 2017

Kyle Busch

Martin Truex, Jr.

Concord, North Carolina

THE MODERATOR: We're joined by the runner‑up, Kyle Busch. With this late hour, deadlines, I'll open it up for any questions for Kyle.

Q. Were you surprised that Austin could stretch it on fuel? What does it mean for Austin to get his first win?
KYLE BUSCH: I'm not surprised about anything. Congratulations.
THE MODERATOR: Kyle, thanks for your time.
We're here with Martin Truex Jr., finished third tonight in the Coca‑Cola 600. Had a dominant car, led 233 laps.
Martin, I know it's back‑to‑back dominant runs.
MARTIN TRUEX JR.: Three (smiling).
THE MODERATOR: Back‑to‑back‑to‑back in the 78 car. Talk about your run out there.
MARTIN TRUEX JR.: I guess it depends how you look at it. It's kind of bittersweet. On one hand super proud of my team, everybody back in Denver, Furniture Row, Bass Pro Shops, TRD, Toyota, all our partners that make it possible.
We had a shot at it again. Third year in a row we led the most laps. Felt like we had a shot to win. Two out of three he we lost it on fuel mileage. That's tough to swallow. Can't say enough about my team, what they continue to do. So really proud of them.
It stinks to come up on the short end of fuel mileage, but we've been on this side of it plenty of times. Just sometimes it don't go your way.
All in all it was a great night. Like I said, fast cars, we'll keep coming back with them, hopefully get some more wins.
THE MODERATOR: Questions for Martin.

Q. Were you surprised that Austin was able to make it? Did you figure both those guys were going to run out? Did you burn up your tires a little bit trying to catch them?
MARTIN TRUEX JR.: Yeah, you know, I honestly had no idea whether they could make it or not. When you're in the car, you're just driving your butt off. You don't know what guys' fuel mileage is, how many laps you run, how many there is to go. You're kind of set, focused in on your little world, doing your thing, using the information that your crew relays to you.
They told me a couple of those guys were going to stretch it. There was no way we could do it. We were kind of on our own agenda, stick to the plan. I just focused on my driving, trying to do the best job I could.
After the pit stop, Cole felt like we were going to catch them. Based on the lap times, we could run all night long. I definitely burned my stuff up a little bit just getting through traffic. I had to pass quite a few cars.
There were some lappers out there. Seemed like I just kept catching them in the wrong spots. Our car was definitely looser that last run.
Probably should have made a little bit more of an adjustment that last pit stop. I think had we not been so loose there, if the car was like it had been the prior two runs, I think we may have got there with a lap or two to go.
I lost quite a bit of time in traffic. That hurt my right rear tire. I hurt my right rear tire some more. We were just too loose in general. Just missed it a bit there at the end.
Like I said, we made a little bit of a mistake on the adjustment and it cost us a little bit. But it's the way it goes sometimes.

Q. I know it's another one that just gets away from you. You've led the most laps now in the last three 600s, tie Darrell Waltrip with that record. What is it about this particular race, if you know, that seems to make you shine so well?
MARTIN TRUEX JR.: You know, I'm not sure, to be honest with you. I think the last few years, we've just really hit on some things that work for us here. Earlier in my career, Charlotte, I would dread coming here because I felt like it was one of my worse racetracks, I wasn't very good here.
Back in 2014, I came to Furniture Row. We had an awful season. Our cars weren't running good. Both races, when we came here, for whatever reason, we hit on something that really worked for us. I think probably the two best runs we had that entire season were here.
We came back in '15, and just picked up on that with faster cars. We were getting to where we were running pretty good everywhere. Then we came here. We were just that much better.
So I don't know. I got to credit Cole and Jazzy, my engineer, just for figuring this place out. I think better cars and me learning more about the racetrack, we've been able to continue to build on that success, build on our notes, get better.
Hopefully we'll continue to do that. It's not easy to stay on top of it, but we'll keep trying for sure. Hopefully it works out.

Q. How much of a factor was the VHT today?
MARTIN TRUEX JR.: I think it was a huge factor. I think last weekend the middle groove, middle to high middle, was nonexistent. It was the slickest part of the racetrack. Tonight for 375 laps of the 400 it was the main groove. Where typically there is the least grip on this racetrack, it was the most tonight. It definitely played a factor. It changed the race quite a bit.
I think the downforce rules this year changed it quite a bit as well. The bottom of the racetrack is so bumpy and so slick, I'm telling you after 10 laps it's all you can do to make laps without crashing down there.
It definitely changed the race tonight. It made it a lot of fun, I thought. I thought it was a good addition.

Q. (No microphone.)
MARTIN TRUEX JR.: I don't think so. I think this track is so unique, the pavement here, the geometry of the racetrack, the bumps that are in it. It's almost got a concrete feel the way the bumps are. They're really, really small, high‑frequency bumps, almost like a washboard, kind of the feeling you get at Dover. Most asphalt tracks are not bumpy that way. They're more of a swell. The car kind of goes through swells, a place like Chicago or Atlanta.
It's very, very different here. The pavement is different than anywhere we go. The bumps in the racetrack are way different than anywhere we go. I think both of those things kind of contribute to us needing to do some different things here to change up the racing.
I think it was a good addition tonight. I don't know what it would have been like had we not had it. The bottom was so slippery, I don't know if it would have been a good race or not. Just hard to say.

Q. You've obviously had a good hold of this place the last few years. When Jimmie ran and had a stranglehold through the years, he talked about how he had a feel for it. It went away with everything that was done to the track. Do you feel like you have your own feel for this place now?
MARTIN TRUEX JR.: I think, yeah, I definitely do. When we come here, I know what I need my car to do to be good. Any time you have success at a racetrack, you get that feel. Until things change majorly with the track or with the rules or with the tires or something, it's something you can just lean on each time you go to that racetrack.
The hardest part is getting your car to do the things you want it to do. You know the feel you're looking for. There's no guarantee you can always get your car to do that.
That's a credit to the team and what they're able to do. Take that information that you give them, and I lean on my guys so much to just give me the feel I need. They really understand me and are able to do it.
It's not just having the feel, it's being able to get the car to do that as well. That's so challenging.
THE MODERATOR: Martin, thanks so much.

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