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August 2, 2020

Martin Truex, Jr.

Loudon, New Hampshire

THE MODERATOR: We'll kick off today's post race media availability with Martin Truex Jr., our third‑place finisher.
Martin, walk us through that run.
MARTIN TRUEX JR.: Yeah, I mean, overall a solid day. Obviously first stage there, we had to pass quite a few cars. Starting 11th, that was pretty tough. Was happy to get second that first stage.
We had a bit of an issue on pit road with a tire getting away, had to come from the rear. That was pretty difficult. Sports Clips Camry was decent. I think we were probably a third‑place car and we finished third.
Solid day. Just lacked a little bit of speed and drivability.
THE MODERATOR: We'll open up the floor for questions for Martin.

Q. Is there anything you take away from having a penalty and coming back and finishing third? Is that something you feel with a new crew chief, those are things you just need to do?
MARTIN TRUEX JR.: No. I mean, I think no matter what's going on as a driver you face those things. Mistakes happen. Pit road speeding, I've done that this year. Yeah, I mean, when those things happen, you just have to buckle down and get what you can get.
Fortunately we were able to come back from it. We probably lost out on a few stage points there in stage two because of it.
Overall it was still a solid day. I don't think it matters who's working on the car, who is on your crew, whatever. Any time something happens, you have to dig out of the hole the best you can.

Q. Are you happy with the third or is it a third knowing you were never with Keselowski and Hamlin during the day?
MARTIN TRUEX JR.: Yeah, I mean, I felt like we weren't quite as good as those two guys. Like I said, that first stage we ran second to the 11. He looked pretty strong. I was having some handling issues there. We never could quite get the car to do the things I needed to do here to win. We've had it doing those things here before, but it seems like we have a tough time finding out how to have it at the end of the race. Still a little bit more work to be done.
Still a solid effort. I thought we were a third best car, fourth best car. I think the 4 was pretty strong at times as well. He kind of got messed around with track position. We finished where we should have. We just have to figure out how to get a little bit better here.

Q. Brad made a point of saying after the race that he was really stoked about their run because he thinks this could be a determinant of how well they can run at Phoenix given the fact that this is the same tire. What do you have to improve on before you take this package for the season finale?
MARTIN TRUEX JR.: It's really tough to say just because I felt like our issues were things that we probably could have made better with some practice I think. You just got to hit it. Maybe we need to be a little bit smarter about our simulation, what setups we're unloading at the racetrack. Maybe figure out something a little bit better with this tire this year. Seems like we've struggled a little bit more this year with some tire issues than some other teams.
I speak for all the drivers at JGR when we say we kind of lack some of the feel we're looking for in these tires. That may be part of it. Maybe they figured some things out there. We're still kind of searching on that, I think.

Q. What are your thoughts about Cole Pearn coming out of retirement?
MARTIN TRUEX JR.: I'm excited for him. I think he's going to have a fun time. I think the opportunity to go to Indianapolis for a few weeks and enjoy himself, try to help a team, he's got some friends there that work on that team. I think he's going to have a good time. He's only got to do one race, then he's back in retirement.
It's fun I guess for him at this point in time to do some things, kind of bucket list things. That's probably one of them. I hope he has fun with it.

Q. So far this season there haven't been many races with the 750 package. More than half the races are the 750 package from this point on. Is everyone in a learning mode at this point because it's late to have a bunch of these races?
MARTIN TRUEX JR.: That's definitely a good point. It's interesting to see how it played out today, where we kind of stacked up. I felt like we were right there. Obviously as I've been talking about, needed the car to be a little bit better.
The win that Martinsville, that was huge for us. I think going forward, we're going to learn a little bit more about this, who has been working on it. They know the championship race at Phoenix will use this package.
Let's see in the next few weeks, we'll see who has kind of gained some ground maybe with this package, who's maybe not been working on it because the mile‑and‑a‑half's, the other 550 stuff we've been running.
I was happy, like I said, with our performance today. I felt like there was a lot of room for improvement with our handling. That's always encouraging when you know your car can drive better and we ran as well as we did. We'll see how it goes.
Every week you got to do the best you can, kind of the best educated guess you can come up with.

Q. With social distancing and everything, you're not around Kyle Busch in person. Have you noticed the frustrating season he's having? Has he voiced that in meetings? What has he been like to interact with?
MARTIN TRUEX JR.: He's been pretty grumpy, to be honest with you (smiling). He's been pretty grumpy.
Yeah, no, they've had some tough luck, for sure. Again today obviously. Kyle is a great competitor, a smart guy. He's really not been too down on things. I think he knows he's got a great team and they can overcome this.
He's been a little bit grumpy at times. For the most part he's been pretty typical Kyle.

Q. Has it been a thing where they're looking at it as bad luck or things they're doing, not performance issues?
MARTIN TRUEX JR.: I'd say both. I think the two go together. You start not running good, you get in spots where you probably shouldn't be, you get crashed. It's happened to us this year. We've gotten wrecked six or seven times just being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Seems like this sport, when it rains, it pours. When things aren't going your way, seems like you can't do anything right. I feel like they've been competitive, strong. They just have had a lot of weird things happen. I know exactly how he feels. I've been there many times.

Q. After Kansas, you said maybe a conversation that was worth having was about perhaps not being so liberal of applying PJ1 at all these racetracks. Today we saw a very competitive race with it down. Did you think the traction compound allowed for more of a two‑groove racetrack? Was it the tire?
MARTIN TRUEX JR.: I think it's a lot of things. I think a new tire caught a lot of people quite off guard. It's quite a bit different than what we ran here last year.
Definitely the PJ1, I felt like that was quite different than the past few years we've been doing it here. Seemed like the top groove really, really, really wore out fast, faster than normal. The bottom came in. We seen a lot of these restarts guys running the bottom for 10 or 15 laps, making some moves, making some passes, do that.
I just felt like overall the whole track was a little bit more equal. The last few times here, that second lane of PJ1, which is actually the third lane on the racetrack, usually it's so dominant. Hard to make speed in any other lane.
Today it felt like that didn't really last long. That gave us all a lot more options. I think that's kind of what made the racing a little bit different than normal.
THE MODERATOR: Martin, thank you so much for joining us. We'll see you in Michigan.
MARTIN TRUEX JR.: Guys, thank you. Safe travels.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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