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November 5, 2017

Martin Truex, Jr.

Fort Worth, Texas

THE MODERATOR: We'll start our post race media availability with Denny Hamlin, driver of the No.11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota Camry.
Talk a little bit about your race today.
DENNY HAMLIN: Really had a solid car all day long. We lost some track position there when a couple guys took two tires, we took four. Then we had a bad restart, and that kind of took us back in the pack 10th, 12th or so. 18 pitted long, tracked us a lap down, then that kind of hurt us a little bit.
We just fought back to fourth, I think it was, drove back up to fourth, then it was an easy decision to take two tires there. It was the only way we were going to get out front and hopefully win the race.
The 78 passed us on that one restart, then the two tires faded, couldn't hold off the 4 there.
THE MODERATOR: Looking ahead to next week at Phoenix, what do you and the 11 team need to get ready and advance to the championship four?
DENNY HAMLIN: Same thing we did today: just give ourselves a chance to win up front inside the last fuel window. We'll see how it all pans out. Overall a good points day. I would have taken this points day before the day started. My competitors obviously performed well and stretched the lead out.
THE MODERATOR: We're also joined now by the driver of the No.78 Furniture Row Toyota Camry, Martin Truex Jr.
Martin, talk a little bit about your race today on a pretty warm day.
MARTIN TRUEX JR.: It was an up‑and‑down day for our Bass Pro Toyota. Doing what we need to do. Just proud of everybody. We fought hard all day. It was a tough race. Track was slick.
At the start of the race, our car wasn't very good. Track position was a big part of this race. We fought the car, we fought track position. We got the lead, led some laps. Ultimately at the end we weren't as good as we needed to be to win.
A little disappointed to come up short, but to clinch a spot in Miami is unbelievable. Definitely got the job done today and came here and do what we needed to do.
THE MODERATOR: We'll open it up for questions.

Q. Denny, looks like points‑wise, five guys racing for the fourth spot. Do you look at points at all, must win in Phoenix?
DENNY HAMLIN: Depends on what our competitors do. Obviously our competitors are running up front. Yeah, we probably need to win, most likely, which is amazing. It's the second year in a row the third round where I average inside a top‑five finish, and that ain't going to be good enough. It needs to be better.
But it's about winning races. That's what we'll go next week and try to do.

Q. Martin, with clinching, I'm sure it's good to know you advance, but getting the win, would it have changed the dynamic? Can you handicap that at all?
MARTIN TRUEX JR.: Honestly, I don't think it would have changed anything at all. People are going to say, Well, I think the balance of power, this and that. Did Harvick steal our confidence by beating us at the end? All that Voodoo stuff I'm sure will be brought up.
The bottom line is our last run we weren't as good as we needed to be. We got beat, but we still did what we needed to do. We've had an amazing run on mile‑and‑a‑half's, whatever. To win six in a row was ridiculous. To think we came up eight laps short to do seven is pretty good. I'm proud of what we did today.
Homestead is a completely different animal. Excited to go there. I think next week maybe I'll just go test at Phoenix for Denny.

Q. Martin, you touched upon the performance. Take us through how Kevin passed you for the lead, then the win.
MARTIN TRUEX JR.: Yeah, I mean, on the long runs I would get really lose getting into the corners. As the runs went, I would get looser and looser. Wasn't much I could do about it. I could hold my own in clean air. As soon as I caught lap cars, I would get loose getting in the corner. We ran up on the 6 and somebody else racing each other, took up the whole racetrack. I went into one and started chattering rear tires, chasing it up the hill. Harvick followed me and got loose with me. Somehow got to my right rear corner, got outside me, just carrying that momentum.
I thought when we went in there and we both started sliding up, I was going to be okay. He got to my outside and was just faster at the end. Once he got in front of us, he was just gone. Nothing I could do. Just one of those deals where he was quicker. Got me in a bad spot, took advantage, and he was gone.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you for your time. Good luck at Phoenix.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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