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October 29, 2017

Clint Bowyer

Martin Truex, Jr.

Martinsville, Virginia

THE MODERATOR: We've now been joined by our third‑place finisher, driver of the No. 14, Clint Bowyer. Talk to us a little bit about your run, a solid run for your team, a third‑place finish. We know you always are searching for that win, but definitely a step in the right direction here at the end of the season.
CLINT BOWYER: Yeah, we had a fast Ford Fusion all weekend. Qualified good and had a catastrophe in the pits. Seems we've been struggling here lately trying to get some consistency in there to say the least. But drove back up through them and had some more trouble and we'd just kind of gain some and lose some and gain some and lose some. It got there at the end, and I don't know, I wish they'd have got into each other one more time and I would have gone ahead and finished the last one off because it was down to one. I don't know, it's just product of that situation. You know, those guys are racing for a lot, a lot on the line, and you know on a green‑white‑checkered at a place like this, all hell is going to break loose.
The only thing I can say is why we don't race at night is beyond me here. We should definitely utilize those lights for something other than a green‑white‑checkered because it's pretty damned cool under the lights.
MARTIN TRUEX JR.: Is that when everybody loses their mind?
CLINT BOWYER: Well, that's pretty much standard practice for green‑white‑checkereds here.
THE MODERATOR: We've now been joined by our second‑place finisher, driver of the No.78 Martin Truex Jr., and Martin, your team‑‑ you said coming into this week that Martinsville wasn't necessarily your favorite place to race knowing some of the finishes you've had here in most recent years, but you guys come home with a second‑place finish today. Talk a little bit about your run and ultimately how this plays into the quest for the playoffs the last two weeks here.
MARTIN TRUEX JR.: Yeah, it was definitely just a solid weekend all in all. Really proud of the team. We've really worked hard to come here to Martinsville to try to be better than we've been. It's been a track that throughout my career has been a tough one for me, and I feel like over the last couple years we've gotten better and better and started to kind of unlock the secrets and figure out how to be better in the race here. We've qualified well but struggled especially the second half of the race. I felt like we took a step in the right direction today, and it was perfect timing for that, obviously right place, right time at the end with all those guys running into each other and we gained a few spots, but definitely a solid run to get fifth in both stages and then second final finish. Happy with the day, and look forward to two more strong ones and then go to Homestead and get after this championship.

Q. Martin, as Clint said, all hell broke loose there, people were spinning, crashing and being really aggressive with each other. You were in a slot where you probably could have pushed Kyle out of the way. Did you even consider that?
MARTIN TRUEX JR.: Not really, no, I didn't. I don't know. After hearing the crowd in the stands, they probably would have really loved it if I did. But yeah, you know, I try to race a certain way, and that's just how I race, and that's how I raced tonight. There was a hole there, I got in it and thought I had a shot at beating him fair and square. Just couldn't get the power down off of 4. It never crossed my mind to knock him out of the way. I know he hit the 11 out of the way, and that's I'm sure going to be a sore subject for those two.
Seemed like a lot of guys made enemies tonight and we didn't. With three races to go, I don't really think I want any enemies, and I'm in pretty good shape. We'll just keep doing our thing and race our race, and Texas should be a great track for us, so hopefully we'll go there next week and just continue to do what we've done all year long.

Q. You guys were third and fourth on the overtime restart, and then it got crazy with the 18 and then the 11. Can you each talk us through what you guys saw and what your instincts were on where to go and what was going to happen with those two?
CLINT BOWYER: I was hoping they'd wreck each other.
MARTIN TRUEX JR.: I was hoping he'd give me enough room and he was hoping I'd give him enough room. We were side by side coming to the white, and I just luckily cleared him off of 4 to get down behind the 18, and when the 18 went into 1 and wheel‑hopped back and hit the 11 out of the way. If I hadn't have cleared him, he would have ended up being second and possibly being the one to knock Kyle out of the way for the win, but I cleared him off of 4.
CLINT BOWYER: Yeah, just to get the chance. I got loose getting in and kind of got my whole rhythm screwed up for the last lap, but no, it was‑‑ man, Martinsville is short track racing; you know what I mean? This is what put this sport on the map is racing like that, and it's been a while since we've been that, and it's a breath of fresh air to get back to a short track where it can breed some of that and put on a show for the fans. I know I was entertained.

Q. This is more of a philosophy question‑‑
CLINT BOWYER: Geez, I'm going.

Q. Sit down. You have teammates. I need to know. You have to answer it. So the 22 had a tire rub and the 2 had checked out‑‑
MARTIN TRUEX JR.: And the 2 was leading, so the 22 should have pitted.

Q. Should the 22 have pitted?
MARTIN TRUEX JR.: I don't know. It's not my team. It's not my call.

Q. But from a philosophy standpoint?
MARTIN TRUEX JR.: I'm pretty sure Roger would have said why the hell didn't you guys pit, but I don't know, aside from that.
CLINT BOWYER: That's hindsight reaches up and slaps you in the face afterwards, but you can't ‑‑ you're in that situation and you're damned if you, do damned if you don't. You've got to try. You've got to give hope a chance; maybe a caution comes out. Know what I mean, yeah, you're in trouble and you know it and it's a bad situation, but you know, most of the time it only gets worse, and it did for him. But at the end of the day, he's not really racing for a championship. I mean, a win was the only thing‑‑

Q. But the 2 might have won.
CLINT BOWYER: Coulda, woulda, shoulda. I haven't watched the race. When I go home and watch, race, maybe I'll agree with you. I was competing in the race, so my philosophy was I was hoping all the Toyotas would wreck and Ford would win. That was my philosophy if you want to be a philosopher.

Q. Everybody has been talking, talking, talking all year about how your team hasn't necessarily been good on the short tracks. What kind of a shot in the arm is it to finally have a really good run and be able to see a possible win on that last restart at a short track?
MARTIN TRUEX JR.: Well, I feel like we've run really strong on the short tracks this year, obviously, if you look at the races and leading late at Richmond, leading the most laps there. We led a ton of laps at New Hampshire both times, and it felt like the first Bristol we had it won until we got speeding on pit road. I felt like our short track program has really come a long way, especially this year. But this in particular, Martinsville, was still one that we were really working on and one that has been difficult to figure out for us. With that said, I thought today we made a big step in the right direction. You know, we ran fifth in the first two stages and then to finish second was good. I thought we were a fourth‑ to sixth‑place car all day long, and for us that's a positive from the spring. This place is so unique and so different than anywhere we go, it's just one of those places that's difficult to figure out.

Q. Could you have done anything differently on the last lap?
MARTIN TRUEX JR.: Well, yeah, there's a lot of things I could have done differently, but ultimately what I did, came home second. I thought‑‑ like I said, I had a tough battle with Clint side by side coming to the white and was lucky enough to clear him and then ultimately have a shot at the lead because of the 18 and the 11 getting together. You know, had I not cleared Clint, I wouldn't have even had a chance. So I don't know that I would have done anything differently. I thought the hole opened up, I drove inside of Kyle, and I wasn't going to go run into him; that's just not the way I do it. I think we can get to Homestead without, like I said earlier, making too many enemies. We'll let everybody else fight and we'll try to do our own thing.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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