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


September 21, 2019

Joe Gibbs

Cole Pearn

Martin Truex, Jr.

Richmond, Virginia

THE MODERATOR: We will now go ahead and begin our post‑race media availabilities. We are joined by crew chief for the No.19 Bass Pro Shops Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing, Cole Pearn. Thanks for joining us and congratulations.

Q. Cole, you guys won last week, you win today. Joe Gibbs Racing finishes one, two, three, four. Is there something to take out of this in the bigger picture moving forward that you guys are clearly the organization to beat for the championship?
COLE PEARN: Yeah, maybe. Obviously a good couple weeks, so we all know how this sport can go. But I mean, I think if we were going to get a one, two, three, four as a company at any track, it was going to be here. This has been a really great track for JGR over the years and Toyota specifically. I think, yeah, I mean, just having good notes to go off of and continue to try and improve here is so critical, and it's hard when you're racing your teammates. Everybody is looking at each other's notes when you're racing each other. It was still pretty awesome.

Q. Cole, what was going through your mind when Martin got into it with the 17?
COLE PEARN: Yeah, I was just like, wow, that's a new one. But he did a great job there. Really once I saw that we only lost a couple spots it was impressive, but it was kind of a bummer at that point because we had chased down the 18 that whole second stage, and the way the pit cycle worked out and the restart, we got back by him and then passed the 2 and then got back control of the race. It was just like, oh, man, here we go again. You know, we just made the right adjustments on the last stop, and he did a really good job at the beginning of the run taking care of his tires.
Knew there was a lot of laps left. I think that was a little bit of comfort knowing there was like 80 laps left, so yeah, he did a great job. I didn't know it was going to go that well, but slightly less mad at the 17 after that ending for sure.

Q. Last week the coach talked about the Monday morning debrief and things of that nature, but what does it look like when you y'all as crew chiefs get together? Do you meet? What does that process look like and sharing information within all four teams?
COLE PEARN: Yeah, we meet every Monday, the four of us, and some other managers, and just kind of go over the key stuff maybe from the weekend and where we're going direction‑wise as a company, and that's kind of really‑‑ that's really our key meeting kind of planning‑wise. I think and then we have a few others. But yeah, we all get along really well. We've worked together for a lot of years, and generally when your company is successful going the same path, it's easy for us to all kind of see it the same way.
THE MODERATOR: We've now been joined by team owner, Joe Gibbs.

Q. Cole, obviously it's a great performance tonight, but I guess I'll be the negative one and say, there's still eight races to go, there's still a lot more rounds to go. What is the benefit of tonight maybe other than the six stage points? What matters, and why is tonight important, or is it not as important because there's still so much more down the road?
COLE PEARN: Oh, yeah, there's tons down the road, there's no doubt about it. But I think, yeah, I mean, obviously the playoff points is probably the biggest positive, and then just winning another race. It's the Cup Series; you can't take that for granted. You've got to enjoy every one of them, and it's so hard to have everything go right. Even tonight we had a great car and almost had it go away from us. So it was‑‑ I don't know, you've just got to enjoy it and take the positive and know you've got to go back to work next week. That's the sport and that's what everybody else is going to do in the garage, and we have to do the same.

Q. Joe, talk a little bit about what the one, two, three, four finish means to you, the first in your four‑car tenure. Talk about that.
JOE GIBBS: Yeah, absolutely thrilled for all of us. What I reflect on is all the partnerships we have. When you think about Toyota, what that means to them, Cole and Bob and Ed and everybody on the phone tonight, it's just a huge deal. I called Johnny, couldn't get through. He's probably hunting out in some field someplace. And then Jeff at Auto Owners.
I think that's what I kind of reflect on each time, all those people that‑‑ our sport is totally different. People gamble and come with you and say they're willing to invest some of their resources with you, and then to see them get a victory and have all of you guys writing about them and everything, it's just a thrill. It's a thrill for all of us. Our partnership with Toyota, I think about everybody back home, I think about J.D. and building the race team, Coy being there with us now and our family. We're just blessed to have the kind of people we have around us. And I think that when you have a night like tonight, it may never, ever happen again, certainly for us. It was an absolute thrill, and I was just thrilled to be a part of it.

Q. Coach, not only did you sweep the weekend, but one of your grandsons won at New Hampshire. Can you talk about that, please?
JOE GIBBS: I've got to tell you, I get‑‑ I come to the Cup stuff and I'm kind of‑‑ I guess I'm a little bit used to it. I still get nervous as all get‑out. But I go see Ty, I get sweaty palms, I'm about to freak out. And to see him at Loudon, which is a tough place, and see him have a great day like that was a thrill for us. We've got seven grandboys and there's only one of them won a race. I've got the girl is on horses, which is a thrill. But it's a big deal for us, our family. Everybody in our family really, everybody has interned, every grandkid so far has interned at the race shop, and I keep asking them do you want to do something else, do you want to coach, do you want to do this, and they all want to be in racing so far, so this will be interesting to see what happens for us. It's a big deal for our family, and I focus on that a lot, grandkids and Coy and our family.
COLE PEARN: I've got a question for you. I heard you were wearing shorts today.
JOE GIBBS: Somebody said they sent a picture of me in shorts. My legs are stovepipes, okay. I never got hurt in any sport because you can't hurt stovepipes, and I look absolutely awful, so I might have to find that someplace, whoever got that picture.

Q. Cole, last year at the Roval you guys were leading there. You've got that coming up next week. Do you plan on just sweeping this whole first segment of the playoffs?
COLE PEARN: Sounds like a great plan to me. Go out and get the next one after it. Yeah, we're just looking forward to getting to the Roval. The road courses have been really strong for us this year, and a little bit different this year with the chicane changes on the back so we'll have to figure that out. Yeah, we worked hard on it today with all the free time we had, and we'll be ready to go.

Q. Joe, with Kyle, Denny, Martin, having as many playoff points as they have and as well as you guys are running right now, is it going to be a disappointment if you don't put two drivers in the championship final at Homestead?
JOE GIBBS: Yeah, I can't ‑‑ you know, projecting something like that is so hard in our sport. I reflect back for the last two weeks before this, we had eight cars in races, seven of them had bad days. So it's just‑‑ our sport is extremely hard, as all pro sports are, and that's the way it should be. That's the reason why the fans love to come and see it, because you have no idea what's going to happen. It's the greatest reality show in the world. We don't know what's going to happen.
So I'm always so nervous, and I think we've got a bunch of people that really are really competitors and get after it. I think we've got guys driving our cars and our crew chiefs kind of lead the way, it's a big deal, and we've got everybody back home that's a great part of our team, and I wish they could be here tonight.

Q. If my limited math skills are correct, I think you guys have won 15 of 28 races this year. Have you ever wondered if you're a better football coach or car owner?
JOE GIBBS: Well, let me say this: Over here I don't do anything, so I think in football at least I could scream at people and everything. These guys scream at me. No, I've been blessed that‑‑ I really tell people this, and I'm not sure sometimes they believe me, but this sport is so much like football. People walk around the corner and they go, you're not going to believe this, and I say, yes, I will, I've already been through this once because I think it's the best people in the world doing something competitive. It's actually competition, it's money is in it, it's people‑‑ you've got all the things that make something dynamic and a thrill.
But I think, like I mentioned, the fan base, they love motorsports. The good thing for me, I've been going to these late model tracks and everything because of Ty's racing, and you just on Friday nights, these places, South Boston, you couldn't get another person in there. People love to see cars raced, the competitive part of it, and all the fun things that happen. I'm just thrilled to be a part of it, and our family loves being a part of it.

Q. Cole, what do you think the last two weeks have said about your team, and is it‑‑ does it feel anything like two years ago?
COLE PEARN: Yeah, I mean, I feel like every year is different, but yeah, we're coming together at the right time, and you know, when the playoffs start, everybody is bringing their best, and when you can win, yeah, it's great. But we know it's a new game next week, and it'll be a new game the week after that. A lot of people have been kind of writing us off, especially you, Bob, but‑‑ keep doing that if you don't mind. But no, yeah, it's been‑‑ no, I don't know, we just seem to fly under the radar, and it fits our personality, and we're just fine with that.

Q. But you guys weren't coming in the last maybe five or six weeks coming into the playoffs, I don't know many people would have said, oh, man, they're going to win the first two races.
COLE PEARN: I think our speed was there, we just had stuff happen, and I think Michigan we had a really good car, Bristol we were really good, Darlington we were really good, Indy we got wrecked on pit road 10 laps into the race. You get things that happen and all of a sudden you're off the radar of everybody, and that's fine. It's just the guys that are being successful during that time, they deserve the praise, so it's‑‑ I guess it's just the way it goes. We say it all the time, the sport is so cyclical, and right now we're on a high and things are going well and we've just got to take advantage of it.

Q. Coach, what's your message to Erik Jones, solid day but still going to need a big day next week to advance?
JOE GIBBS: Yeah, I felt like this week, we felt, and Erik did, and Chris did, that this was the key week because we needed to come back and pick up a lot of points and get back in the game. And picking up 23 tonight was just a huge deal.
So now at least we can see what we've got to do, who we're up against, and this will be a huge deal. I think there's about six cars down there. They're not far apart. So this is going to be a wild week. We're going to a racetrack that's very different, and so I think it's going to add for a lot of excitement.
I'm really thrilled that it seems like our crowds definitely have ticked up, we're on a high there and TV, and so I'm excited about where we are. I think next week will be a big deal, and I think there's going to be a lot of drama that goes with it.
But I think what Erik did is put himself back in it where he's a part of the story.

Q. Coach, when you hired Cole and Martin at the beginning of this season, did you think a one, two, three, four finish was even possible? I believe it's only the second time in the sport's history this has happened.
JOE GIBBS: Yeah, I don't think I would have ever dreamed one, two, three, four. No. I think this sport is extremely hard, all the things. I think Cole just mentioned getting wrecked on pit road. That could have happened tonight, and you've got so much stuff that could happen to you. To go through what you go through out there and make that many laps and get up front, it's extremely hard. I think tonight what helped is that there were a lot of long runs, and so that helped, not a bunch of wrecks. But I just felt like it was a fantastic night. The crowd I felt like really enjoyed a good race, and I know for us there was a lot of excitement, but I didn't dream‑‑ I don't think you ever dream of something like that happening.
THE MODERATOR: We are now joined by the winner of the Federated Auto Parts 400, driver of the No.19 Bass Pro Shops Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing, Martin Truex Jr. Congratulations.
MARTIN TRUEX JR.: Thank you.

Q. You swept the first two races. You almost won last year at the Roval. What's the plan next week, and how well will you be able to execute?
MARTIN TRUEX JR.: I'm looking forward to the Roval. I think it's a good track for us. We've been good on road courses in general. I feel like with the changes they're making on the backstretch chicane, it's going to help me. I felt like last year we were really fast everywhere on the course except for the chicane on the backstretch, and with it being more of a braking zone now and more of a technical turn like Watkins Glen, it should fit into our wheelhouse. So I'm excited about it.
We've got nothing to lose, and we're going to go there with the same expectations as we did tonight, try to get as many points as we can. Bonus points are huge to try to get to Homestead. Six of them tonight, and hopefully we can get more next week.

Q. Is there kind of maybe a pinch‑me quality to the way the season is going? You guys have won kind of 15 of 28 races and you're having a great year, and things are going right, the caution‑‑ you get spun out and you're still third. It just seems like everything is falling into place. Is there kind of a pinch‑me quality or are you too afraid to get too comfortable in that?
MARTIN TRUEX JR.: I think any time you're winning at this level there's a little bit of a pinch‑me feeling. Look, this is really, really difficult. These races are hard to win. You know, we went seven or eight races there where we were feeling like we had a shot to win speed‑wise, and our best finish was‑‑ I don't even know, know what I mean? It's like, you've got to have some things go your way sometimes, and we certainly had that the last two weeks. We've had fast race cars and we've executed and done all the little things right, but there's still other stuff that's involved. I feel like for me any time we're winning races I'm happy, and I feel like you've got to pinch me a little bit. Yeah, I think for sure there is, but for us we try not to get too caught up in it, and we'll enjoy it tonight and tomorrow, there's no question, but Monday it's back to work trying to look forward to the Roval and do the things we need to do to go to Homestead.

Q. Martin, how important and how special is it to set the standard first two races of the playoffs, both won by you for your team and going forward?
MARTIN TRUEX JR.: Oh, it's great. I mean, honestly, it's awesome. If anyone in the field said they wouldn't want to be in this position, they're lying. It's pretty incredible to be sitting here, two playoff wins in two races. Again, it's just try to keep it going, you know. A lot of racing left before the end of the season, and I felt like as a team, Cole and I, we felt like we let one slip away last year, and losing that championship, and we're going to do all we can to try to get there again and see if we can get this one.

Q. What went through your mind when Stenhouse got into you because at that point it was kind of smooth sailing, you guys still had a pit stop to make, but the race was‑‑ it's never really in hand, but you looked pretty secure at that time. I just can't even imagine what went through your head.
MARTIN TRUEX JR.: Yeah, first thing was what the hell, and then just trying to keep it out of the wall, you know. I mean, trying to spin it out and get going again. Once I realized I wasn't going to hit anything, then it was just hope nobody else hit me in the smoke, because there was a lot of smoke, and just tried to get it going, just try to get going and lose as little time as possible. Luckily we were able to come out of that deal third and come into the pits third and leave the pits third, and because we had a big lead at that point in time, that's really what was helpful. Not the way you draw them up, plan them, but added some drama to the race, that's for sure.

Q. Martin, a couple of firsts tonight, but one of the big firsts for you in your career is first back‑to‑back wins. How special is that, just kind of sinking in as the wins continue to come?
MARTIN TRUEX JR.: Yeah, it's great. You know, hopefully we can do three in a row. I mean, I don't know. You always want more, you always want to win more, and especially this point in the season, every single race counts and matters. It's really important. Yeah, we'll just try to keep going. Feels awesome. I mean, I don't even know‑‑ like it's hard to put into words what it feels like, honestly, because it's just every one of these races is huge in my opinion, in my book. To win both Richmond races this year after being so close so many times at this racetrack and having so many heartbreakers, races we felt like we should have won and we didn't, just the way the things worked out this year, to be able to maybe not have the best car throughout both races and just battle and dig and claw and scratch our way to the lead late in the race was huge tonight.
I'm just really proud of everybody on our team for working hard and sticking with us. It takes a lot of people to get here and do what we're doing, and I'm just really thankful to them all and really thankful to drive great race cars and have an awesome team.

Q. Martin, you're still the new guy over at Joe Gibbs Racing, and you just had the team's first one, two, three, four finish. Is that added significance tonight?
MARTIN TRUEX JR.: Yeah, it's incredible, just to think about for Coach and all the guys back at the shop, the hard work they put in, all they do to give us a chance each and every weekend, to go one through four is pretty special. It's not something you see very often, and it's a lot to be proud of. We have a great team, and a lot of things going really well for us right now. I would say that yesterday after practice I wasn't so sure any of the four of us thought we were going to run the way we did tonight. I thought we all felt like our cars needed to be a little bit better and we needed to make some adjustments, and I think our teams work together really well and do a good job of making good decisions going into the race, and that's really what it was about tonight. The track was really, really tough and really slick and hard to get ahold of, and just good decisions by everybody and really strong race cars.

Q. Talk a little bit both about sweeping Richmond this year and also talk a little bit about running really well at the Roval last year and what you're looking forward to this year since you're all but locked in?
MARTIN TRUEX JR.: Yeah, like I said, sweeping here is awesome. I think, look, my little brother sent me the stat sheet on my way here about all the stats coming into this race from the last five or something races here, and we were leading every category. Up until the first race in the spring here this year, we hadn't won yet. We were leading all those things, laps led and average running position and all kinds of different things. So to win that race in the fall was huge, and then to come back and do it again, like I said earlier, it's unbelievable. Sometimes things just have a way of working out and going your way, and certainly they did tonight. Feels great, and looking forward to the Roval. It's a really fun track. It's something new for our sport. I think the fans are excited about it. They were last year. Definitely something different.
There will be some changes on the track from last year, but I love road courses. I love going to different tracks, and I'm excited about it. We've got nothing to lose, so go there, get some more bonus points, hopefully another trophy.

Q. Just as a follow‑up, maybe just the dynamic of the race tonight here at Richmond, did you see a different level of competitiveness on the track since for the first time Richmond wasn't a cutoff track but nonetheless we know each race is important in the playoffs? Just your assessment of that as a driver.
MARTIN TRUEX JR.: Yeah, I'd say it really felt like typical Richmond to me. Honestly, when you race here and you feel‑‑ you know what these cars drive like. Really the only think you can think about is how many guys were out there hanging on, struggling, just trying to find some grip. Even at times leading, I felt like we were just crawling around there. It gets to slow and it's so slippery, and it's all you can do to get wide open before the start‑finish line on the frontstretch on a long run. I felt like it was a really normal Richmond race, similar to the fall‑‑ the spring race here. Track position was important. I felt like the guys that started up front for the most part stayed there, and we didn't see a whole lot of passing at the front of the field on short runs, just on long runs when your car was‑‑ if you could hang on better than guys, you could make moves late in runs. But in general it was typical Richmond.

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