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June 10, 2020

Martin Truex, Jr.

Ridgeway, Virginia

THE MODERATOR: We are joined by tonight's race winner, the second consecutive grandfather clock winner, that's Martin Truex Jr., driver of the No.19 Sirius XM Toyota.
Going into last season, short tracks weren't your thing. Walk us through this short track win tonight.
MARTIN TRUEX JR.: I mean, I grew up on short tracks. That's what got me to where I'm at. Pretty much won all short tracks in the Busch Series, then went to the Cup Series and couldn't do anything on 'em. Just been a learning process to figure 'em out.
These tracks are really tough. I think for our team the last five years or so really just continuing to work on the little things that it takes to get around these places, continuing to work on those things. It's been really good for us. Really excited obviously to get our first win of the season.
THE MODERATOR: We'll open it up for questions for Martin.

Q. You referenced James in Victory Lane. This being his first win, that was important. A lot has been made that he studied Cole on top the pit box. How much is his style similar to or different than what you had with Cole? Do you think some of those teachings he picked up helped make the transition easier for you guys?
MARTIN TRUEX JR.: Honestly he's really similar to Cole. I think they'd been together for so long. They go back a long time ago to working together at race teams years ago. Before either one of them were crew chiefs, they were engineers. They've been close for a long time, have similar styles, personalities as well.
Yeah, I think for me, my relationship with James and the way we interact has been real similar to how I had a relationship with Cole, that's because we all worked together before. That's really made the transition easy for me. It's made me easily have confidence in his abilities and what he can do.
Definitely nice to get his first win because everybody has been asking when it's going to happen. Cole leaving is big shoes to fill, there's no question. He's been doing a really good job. He's been really making smart decisions. He's prepared. He's a great leader. Our guys look up to him. I feel like he hasn't missed anything, done an awesome job.
One little hiccup tonight on the pitting situations. Other than that it's been pretty smooth sailing. Proud of him to get that first one out of the way. Just to have that confidence of he knows he can do it now. Hopefully he can just keep that momentum going.

Q. You've won in the daytime at Martinsville, now the first night race. Strategically did the night race play out differently?
MARTIN TRUEX JR.: Not really. I think the biggest difference was the tires that they brought here. It definitely wore out a lot more. The tire wear and the pace falloff was a lot more than what it was in the fall here. I think that was the biggest factor.
I didn't really notice the track changing just a whole lot throughout the race. I thought it changed more just as it took rubber early on, then kind of settled in like it normally does.
Temperatures were pretty hot here this evening. Usually when we race here, it's pretty cool. That might have made a difference, as well, I'm sure.

Q. First stage looked like you were off a little bit.
MARTIN TRUEX JR.: We finished fourth in the first stage.

Q. Do you feel practice would have made a difference tonight with figuring out how the tire would wear?
MARTIN TRUEX JR.: Yeah, I mean, yes and no. I think with a green racetrack you're going to wear the tires out the first run no matter what. We wore the right front out pretty bad the first run. Maybe we wouldn't have done that.
As the race went on, we made some adjustments, the track rubbered in, that wasn't an issue any more. If the track were green from rain either way it would have been that way. But certainly having practice, there would have been rubber on the track. That probably would have solved that issue for us.

Q. What do you think it is about the short track thing? With the confidence that you gained getting your first win here at Martinsville, when you come back in the fall, how much confidence is it going to give you that close to the Playoffs?
MARTIN TRUEX JR.: A lot of confidence. I think the last few trips here we've had a lot of confidence. Since really the last couple years, we've just continued to refine our setup, what we've been doing. I kind of found the rhythm that I need here. My guys have been giving me a car that drives the way I need it to to be fast.
The short tracks I think for us is just something that we've been working on consistently throughout the years. A lot of these places you can take kind of the same approach, the same thought process into your setup, take it to these tracks. Our group has really been together for a while, for the most part, we've just been able to continue to work on the same things. That's really been the key.
Started with Cole. We just worked on what I needed to be fast, not what everybody else was doing. We've continued that with James now. Hopefully it continues to work for us.

Q. Were you shocked not to see Denny or Kyle all night long?
MARTIN TRUEX JR.: I seen 'em both at times. I seen everybody at times. Yeah, I was surprised that they all struggled as much as they did. I don't know how different their setups were. Obviously they were pretty different.
We really worked off of what we've been doing here leading up to this race. It worked for us tonight.

Q. Your thoughts on now wing six straight seasons? A guy that used to struggle to win, now six straight years you've won.
MARTIN TRUEX JR.: Yeah, it's been cool. I mean, obviously been fortunate to be around great people. It all started really at Furniture Row with Cole and Barney, Jazzy, what we were able to put together there. We just continued to build on that.
Definitely feel fortunate to be with great teams, great people, be able to show what I can do behind the wheel. It's been awesome. Just sometimes you pinch yourself when you win these things because you realize how hard they are.
I wish I could enjoy this one a little bit more tonight with my team. It's kind of weird to get out of the car, no fans, drive to Victory Lane, a makeshift Victory Lane, take one picture by yourself with the car, then you got to leave. Definitely missing having a few cold beverages with my boys tonight.
Really just proud of them. Yeah, just feel blessed to be around a great group again.

Q. You broke a tie for I think 27th on the all the time win list with Dale Jr. You're starting to get into rare territory. What do you think about that?
MARTIN TRUEX JR.: That's amazing. So proud of that. Dale, the last race I won, he texted me and said, We're tied for wins now. That's really, really cool. To be able to score more wins than him is amazing and surprising.
He's the reason I got into big‑time NASCAR racing. He's the one that hired me to move south. Still a great friend. I owe him a ton. I'll definitely have to mention that to him later on. Really, really cool to be able to win a lot of these races. It's special for sure.

Q. From a track like this to Miami in such a quick turnaround, what is it like specifically where it will be hotter?
MARTIN TRUEX JR.: I mean, it's definitely going to be a hot one, for sure. I think you kind of forget about Martinsville and you look back at Atlanta mostly I would say just because those tracks are pretty similar. I think we'll use a similar approach to Miami that we did there.
We had a strong race at Atlanta. Felt like we had a shot at winning until we got too tight at the end. I'm excited and optimistic about what we can do in Miami. We've been good there in the fall as well, good there the last couple seasons.
For me you change gears and think about what you need to do to drive the car fast, what it takes. I think the biggest thing is for the team. It's a lot of preparation, a short turnaround. All the guys back at the shop are doing an amazing job of just busting their tails in such situations with the way they can't really work around each other and stuff like that with the social distancing thing. They're doing a great job. Nothing is falling off the cars, which is something to be said about that. Really proud of them. Happy to give them their first win of the year.

Q. The next highest ranking Toyota from tonight didn't come in until 19th, Kyle. You going to be having a chat about that? Bragging rights there between the manufacturers?
MARTIN TRUEX JR.: I don't know. We'll have our team meeting tomorrow. I'm sure they'll all be trying to figure out what we had in our car. They'll be wanting to know why theirs was so different, I guess.
We worked closely off of what we did here last year because it's kind of been a process for us to get to this point at this particular track. I'm sure they'll all be looking at it for the fall race here.

Q. Did you feel you needed to get a win to kind of erase any doubts you may have had on the changes to your team this season or were you fairly confident eventually you were going to come together?
MARTIN TRUEX JR.: No, I mean, I've had a lot of confidence really all year long. I mentioned this a few weeks ago. If you look back at the season we've had, we've been practically strong. I feel like we've been the strongest Toyota week in, week out. If you look at stage points, it shows that. We've had a lot of issues. I think the first four races we got tore up in all of them by somebody doing something dumb, crashing us.
Aside from Bristol where we got crashed again, we've been right there up front. Felt like we had a few chances at winning slip away here lately. I feel like everybody is doing a great job.
I have confidence in James all year that we can continue what we've done. I think this answers a great question for him more than anything to himself. I know he's had a lot of people saying things about can he fill Cole's shoes, is our team going to be able to continue what we've been able to do in the past with him. I feel 100% that we will. I think he's doing a great job and I'm really proud of him.

Q. You touched on the short week you have. Now that there's a monkey off your new crew chief's back, this team's back, how can this help going into Miami? Does it take the pressure off?
MARTIN TRUEX JR.: Yeah, I mean, I think certainly a little bit it does. I definitely relaxes you a bit. I think going into last week we were like, All right, we got to start getting some bonus points. That's always important come Playoff time. We checked that off the list. Now to get our first win, locked in the Playoffs, get more bonus points, that's a step in the right direction.
I think for us, we're always pushing hard, always pushing to win, to get as many bonus points and wins as we can get. Certainly it's easier to go to the racetrack once you're locked in and you have that win, you have that confidence, you have that momentum. Hopefully we can thrive from this and move forward and start winning more often.
THE MODERATOR: Martin, we'll see you in Homestead.
MARTIN TRUEX JR.: Thank you all. Appreciate it. Take care.

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