home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


October 8, 2017

Martin Truex, Jr.

Concord, North Carolina

THE MODERATOR: We have now been joint by our race winner of the Bank of America 500, Martin Truex, driver of the No. 78 Toyota. Your sixth victory of the season. It seems that with every win your team celebrates a little bit harder in Victory Lane, but they clearly have a good time. Talk about your relationship with your team. You mentioned earlier in your interview following the victory that you guys knew you weren't very good on Friday but you were determined to fix it on Sunday, and you did. Talk a little bit about the overall weekend and getting to celebrate Victory Lane.
MARTIN TRUEX JR.: Just overall, it just amazing to be a part of this team, to be on the roll we're on, have the confidence we have, have the partners we have. I just feel like everything is just lining up the way we need it to. We're definitely working hard. We're definitely enjoying it. Our guys work so hard, it's unbelievable. Everybody is all in 100 percent. Our guys at the shop, our guys here at the racetrack, our pit crew training, and just every part of our program today was flawless, and that's what it takes to win championships. I feel very lucky to be part of this team. It's been an amazing couple of years, and I feel like it just keeps getting better. We're going to keep working hard. We've got our eye on the prize, and we know where we want to go, and we still know there's some hurdles in the way, so we'll just keep focused and enjoy the good days as they come, but tomorrow starts preparing for next week and the next round for sure.

Q. If you rewind back a few years to when the MWR thing happened and how it affected you and where you had to go, did you have any idea that you could recover from that and land in a spot like this and be in this position and actually see the championship for your taking?
MARTIN TRUEX JR.: No. I mean, honestly, when all that first happened, I didn't know if I'd ever be able to race in the series again competitively. I didn't know if I'd ever have a chance at winning again. Furniture Row I felt like was a good opportunity at the time. It was not a consistent winner at the time, but it was a good opportunity I felt like. I didn't feel like I was taking a step backwards, so that was good. That felt okay to me. It was exciting to work with new people and a new team and a totally different way of doing things out in Denver. It was a good kind of fresh start, but yeah, it was a struggle for a while for sure. But I think the commitment from Barney and the family feel and the drive to want to be better and be a player in this sport is really what caught my attention in 2014 when we were struggling. It would have been easy for him to give up on me and give up on all the guys that were working there. Essentially we changed a crew chief because Berrier wanted to move back to North Carolina, and that's all we changed. We went from a team that could barely run 15th to 20th until the next year making the Final Four.
A lot of the credit goes to Barney, but I guess to go back and answer your question, I never seen it getting to where it is right now. This is just unbelievable. But we have a lot to be thankful for and we have a lot of partners that make it possible. Barney has made some smart decisions along the way, obviously, teaming up with Toyota two years ago, the relationship we have with them, with TRD, sharing chassis with Gibbs, you know, developing parts and pieces together, those type of things, we're in a really great position right now, and a lot of that's because of Barney, his vision of the team and just his determination to want to be one of the top guys.
It's amazing to be a part of it. I'm thankful for it every single day. But I damn sure didn't see it coming the way it is right now.

Q. Does it feel better to win today or better to know that you don't really have to perform next week?
MARTIN TRUEX JR.: Well, we definitely want to perform next week, so I won't say it that way, but I will say that it's going to be pretty awesome going to Talladega and say, oh, what the hell, let's go race. Doesn't matter if we crash. Talladega has just been a tough track for us just to finish. I mean, last year we probably had the best car we've ever went there with, and we ran 20 laps and blew up.
So God, there's so many unknowns there, and you can run up front all day long and finish 25th. You can run up front for 20 laps and get destroyed. You just never know. There's so much out of your control. To go there and not have to worry about all those things is definitely a good feeling. But we'll go there and try to do everything just the way we did this weekend. We want to be the best we can be, and we want to get those bonus points and stop somebody else from getting them. But it'll definitely be a little bit of a different feeling to go there and not have that pressure, not have to worry about if we go out early for something crazy.

Q. Cole gave a lot of credit to the pit crew for helping you gain some spots today and keeping you in this thing. Can you speak a little bit to that from your perspective?
MARTIN TRUEX JR.: Yeah, I mean, absolutely. He's absolutely right. They were unbelievable today. They did a great job. They're a huge part of this team. They're a huge part of why we won today. Gaining spots on pit road, they got us the lead. We didn't pass the leader on the racetrack, we passed him on pit road. Once we got that, that was the big advantage to be the leader. It was definitely hard to pass the leader, as we've seen. At times I thought at the end maybe the 4 was a little faster than us, but once he got three, four car lengths, we were both kind of running the same line, so he couldn't really get any closer. So I'd say for sure the pit crew was unbelievable. They did a great job, they were fast and consistent, no mistakes, and that's what you need. Really across the board, the whole team was phenomenal. Making the right adjustments on a car that wasn't very good at the beginning of the race is something that's not easy to do, and they continued to give me the changes I needed and getting the car driving better the way I wanted it to, and then to add to that, gaining spots on pit road every time, that's what it takes to win races and win championships. Yeah, it felt great just to put a whole race together and be consistent.

Q. You've won six races. If everything had gone right, how many would you have won?
MARTIN TRUEX JR.: In my career or this season?

Q. This season.
MARTIN TRUEX JR.: I think‑‑ I think honestly we could be sitting with 10, 10 or so, and that's a realistic number. This is racing. A lot of times things aren't going to go your way. That's just the way it works. But realistically I think we could have won four or five more races, and to sit here and say that after winning six just feels ridiculous. Just an amazing year, and thankful for everyone, and honestly we don't really think about the ones that got away, we just figure out how to not let it happen again. We've lost enough that we've learned enough from them, I think, and hopefully that makes us better going forward.

Q. I want to say you told your team when you started the race you didn't think you had the car to win. Is that what you told them?
MARTIN TRUEX JR.: We weren't even close to being able to win at the beginning of the race, no.

Q. Have you had that feeling in any of your other wins or does that make that win any more big?
MARTIN TRUEX JR.: I would say that it's hard to compare because we started 17th, and that's a challenge at a track like Charlotte, being back in traffic. It's really hard to get a sense of just where you stack up to the fast guys until you kind of get up there around them, if that makes any sense. But for sure we had an issue with our tires that we qualified on. They just didn't feel right, the car, the balance of the car went in a direction that we didn't expect it to, and that's why we qualified 17th, and then obviously we had to start the race on those. And the car actually wasn't that bad on that first run, but when we put the second set of tires on, the balance completely changed in a way that we didn't expect it to, so then we had to play catch‑up. So I would say that we were probably worse off on that second run than we were the beginning of the race, but it was a balance things that was, I think, somewhat easily fixable. So I don't know, it's really hard to say. Sometimes you're off and no matter what you do you can't find the speed. Today I thought we had the speed, we just didn't have the balance right. Once we got the balance right, we started picking them off.

Q. Sherry posted a photo of her at home cheering you on. Could she not come because of treatment or did she just not think you were going to race today so she didn't bother coming out?
MARTIN TRUEX JR.: She probably could have came, but it was a little bit of the weather and mostly that it's kind of risky for her to be around too many people right now after having chemo Monday and germs and something as simple as a cold could put her in the hospital. It's not worth the risk. So staying home, watched it on TV, just hanging out with her mom and her family relaxing. It was cool to see her tweet. I haven't even talked to her yet. I can't wait to call her, so we'll see.

Q. I got two for you. First, I asked Cole this a little while ago when he was in here, and he said a lot of the success of this unit has been about the people around you, but I feel like a lot of it has been the communication and the relationship that you two have had that just, it clicks every time you guys get on a roll like this. What is it about that driver‑crew chief relationship between the two of you that has worked so well the last few years?
MARTIN TRUEX JR.: You know, I think for us it's just been a progression. I think when we first got together we had similar backgrounds, our dads raced, we grew up racing with them, short tracks and go‑karts. He just went in a different path than I did. But I think we grew up just similar ways and have similar values and the way we treat people, the way our work ethic, what we're willing to do. I think the way we enjoy racing. So I think early on, we just realized that we had a lot in common. We love‑‑ both like the same things at the racetrack and approach racing in a similar fashion, and I think we each let each other do our own jobs and have confidence in our decisions.
I think that goes for our entire race team. We have great people in place, and they're allowed to do their jobs because they do them well. They're not micromanaged, they're not told what to do, they're not yelled at, they're not fighting all the time. And of course when you have success things always seem better than they are.
But you know, I don't know. Cole has done an amazing job, and I have a lot of respect for him, and I try to show that, and he shows it back to me. You know, that's why it works, I guess. But he impresses me all the time, so I'm definitely a lucky guy to have him as a crew chief. It means a lot to me when he compliments me and shows that he has that confidence and that care and how much he cares about me and my family and all those things. Just a great relationship on and off the track. You know, I definitely owe a lot to him for what he's done for me and our race team.

Q. Talking about Sherry, obviously this has been a journey with a lot of different facets for both of you, and this season being as magic as it has been, I've heard her talk about in the past just every step of this journey being one to appreciate. When you have days like this, especially one today where you fought through so much to end up where you are, as you go down to each of these wins and each of these moments mean that much more knowing everybody you guys have been and are continuing to go through?
MARTIN TRUEX JR.: Absolutely, I think they do, and I think we've learned to enjoy these moments a lot more and cherish these moments a lot more than maybe we would have in the past. And I think that goes for honestly our whole team, and if you seen us in Victory Lane, it's like a bunch of little kids, the first time we've ever done anything exciting. It's just a really fun group. They really appreciate it. They work so hard. They put so many hours into this and so much time away from their family. It's nice to see them have success, and you know, for me I enjoy that as much as the wins myself, just seeing them succeed and seeing them be happy and seeing their hard work pay off.
But it also feels pretty damned good for me just after all those years of heartbreaks and getting close and not catching the breaks and all the things going the way you don't want them to, that hey, sometimes it is your turn. That feels good, as well.
But we definitely don't take them for granted. We enjoy ourselves. We whoop it up and take in everything we can, and we're definitely not done celebrating this one yet.

Q. Obviously you and Sherry have a lot going on during the week. When you get in that race car and strap that helmet on, is that an escape for you, and what's the rush of emotions like when you jump out of the car in Victory Lane? When does everything that's going on in you guys' world kind of hit you afterwards?
MARTIN TRUEX JR.: It's definitely like putting the blinders on. It's definitely like I flip a switch and I forget all about everything in the outside world when I'm in that car, and that's a really good thing sometimes, especially when you're going through tough times. I've said this before, that what we've been through and what Sherry has been through and what I've learned from her more than anything has‑‑ it's helped me be a better racer, and it's helped me just deal with the emotions of racing and the ups and downs and the heartbreaks. For a long time, it was rough, right, so this sport is humbling as hell. You never know what can happen next week. You could win 10 races in a row and then all of a sudden you can't do anything right, you know. So just dealing with the ups and downs and keeping that kind of even keel and keeping your head on straight and understanding the things that are truly important. All those things are what I've really learned, and when you get out of the car after a big win, you start thinking about all that stuff, and that's when it hits you. It just hits you like a ton of bricks, and it hit me today in Victory Lane, and all of a sudden you can't talk. You feel like an idiot, but there's just so many things that you're thinking about and so much emotion and so much you're thankful for because this stuff is so hard, and you never know if you'll get another chance to do it. You just never know. It's definitely an unbelievable feeling.

Q. I wanted to ask you about what you just talked about. Was your emotion in Victory Lane mostly about Sherry? Was it about winning when you thought you couldn't?
MARTIN TRUEX JR.: Everything.

Q. All of the above?
MARTIN TRUEX JR.: I couldn't hold it in anymore. Yeah, Sherry, I was thinking about her because she's not here, and I know she really wanted to be. She hates missing‑‑ seeing our guys succeed. I know our guys love having her around when we win, and she's a fun person to celebrate with, so I thought about that. I thought about winning this first race of the round, the pressure coming off. Just a lot of things, I guess, you know. I was wore out. I just lost it for a minute. There's a lot going on, so yeah. And I think, you know, it just shows how much this stuff means to us. We put everything into this, everything we have, especially our team, just every day away from our families, like I said, and I think they had this car up on the plate on Wednesday or Tuesday with the nose cut off trying to make it better. Just the effort that they put in is amazing, and to succeed and be a part of that, it just feels unbelievable.

Q. You now have over a full grace worth of playoff bonus points. With that in mind, handicap yourself in the Round of Eight.
MARTIN TRUEX JR.: I don't know, we've got three races in the Round of Eight, so we'll do the best we can in all three of them. If we're lucky we'll win one of them and get a free golden ticket.

Q. You mentioned keeping your eye on the prize; when you're sitting there as you mentioned putting on tires, coming out and the balance being worse than it was when you qualified, do you allow yourself to have doubt creep in that maybe it's just not our day and we'll just ride around and go to the next race, or do you have enough confidence that this year has been so good that you know no matter what you're going to have a chance to overcome and end up winning the race?
MARTIN TRUEX JR.: I think when things are going well, that's one of the biggest advantages you have over the competition is not doing that, not second‑guessing, not questioning. I just say, hey, here's what it's doing, tell my guys this is what I need them to do, figure out how to fix it, basically. So it's a great advantage to have that confidence in your team, and it's only there because we've been in this situation before, and they've shown me that they can do it. So yeah, it's an advantage. I definitely didn't second‑guess it. It was a little worried. I was like, well, we're off quite a ways, and this is what I need, good luck, and I'll do the best I can behind the wheel. It turned out to be okay.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297