Saturday, Dec 02

Transcript: Martin Truex Jr. - Press Conference - Dover

THE MODERATOR: Martin, congratulations. Big weekend for you, your family.

MARTIN TRUEX JR: Yeah, thank you. Unbelievable weekend. Love coming up here to Dover. It's been an awesome track for us over the years, for me and our team. It's amazing to get back to Victory Lane at my first home track.

Obviously a special weekend for the family with Ryan winning Saturday in his first Xfinity win, so pretty cool to do that and get added to that list of brothers that have swept the weekend. Super special, and definitely really happy, thankful to my team and all of our sponsors, Bass Pro Shops and Auto Owners and Reser's and Toyota and TRD and everybody that makes this happen. Feels good just to finally, finally put one all together. We've had some real heartbreakers in the past year or so, and feel like we give away seven, eight, nine races in that time.

You just never know when the next one is going to come or if it's going to be the last. So I'm excited about it, and hopefully we're going to enjoy this one.

Q. You end this winless streak. You talked about what it means for the family. What are the emotions or I guess how emotional of a weekend has this been given you were such winless streak --

MARTIN TRUEX JR.: It isn't that long. Come on, 54 races? I've went way longer than that before.

Q. You were winning quite a bit before, though.

MARTIN TRUEX JR.: Such a long winless streak. Jesus. I've only won 32 of these things now. Jesus, you guys. It's really, really hard to win these races, you guys, okay?

Q. To break through that barrier for yourself and see Ryan do it on the same weekend, how emotional of a weekend is it?

MARTIN TRUEX JR.: Yeah, it's super awesome, honestly. It's very special. Happy my dad was here for that. Just really cool.

Ryan has been through a lot. He's really worked hard, and he's gotten beat down and knocked down a lot and been through some tough times that he's had to kind of persevere through. So I was just really happy for him.

But like I said, yeah, it's not a long list of brothers that have swept a weekend in NASCAR racing history. To be on that list with some of the guys that have done it is really, really cool for both of us and our whole family.

Q. What's the most important aspect of winning this race? You've got the win with your brother, you've got your fourth win at Dover. You end a not-so-long drought, you make the playoff. Of those, what's the most important and why?

MARTIN TRUEX JR: It's really hard to say. I think they're all important. It's hard to pick one. These races are big. They're hard to win, like I said, and all that stuff is huge, for our team, for our partners, for our family name, for what it means. Being a part of the sport, to get another Truex in Victory Lane in a top-tier series is amazing.

They're all special. They're all important. They all mean a ton. Yeah, I don't think you can just pick one. It's all very important.

Last year after missing the Playoffs, that one is pretty big. Missed it by three points. We were fourth in points at that point in time, and we missed it. It was a real gut punch. Especially after how many times we felt like we were capable of winning races or should have won races, just had a lot of tough luck.

Just proud to be able to do it, and it's always good to win.

Q. What does it mean to win this early in the season and get that part, given what happened last year off your back?

MARTIN TRUEX JR: Yeah, we started with the Clash win. It was really big for us. I know that it's not a points event and everything else, but just for us with last year really struggling on short tracks, I feel like we put a huge effort together this off-season to be prepared for this year, to really put in an effort and talk about the things that we needed to do better from last year.

I think our whole team was really motivated to get better and to do whatever we needed to do and really communicated a lot about the things we needed to work on. So really the Clash was a big deal to get, and it gave us a lot of confidence.

Even though our season up until the past couple years had been really strong, but up until then it was a little up-and-down, we still had a lot of confidence and felt like we were going the right direction.

I said I think it was this week that I feel really good about where we're at and I feel like we're ready to break loose and get on a run.

Here we are, so I'm glad that I was right about it, and we've got some great tracks coming up for us and a lot of confidence now and locked in the Playoffs and we can get aggressive and have some fun.

Q. Does this make coming back for this year worth it, or do you not equate that with wins?

MARTIN TRUEX JR: No, I mean, I think in general, it's been worth it the whole time. I feel good about, like I said, our team, where we're at and what's going on. I'm still having fun. Yeah, that was definitely the reason.

Winning doesn't hurt, that's for sure. It feels great. It's always good to win. This is the best feeling you can have in racing.

It's hard to say. We've won now, so I can't say if we didn't win all year how I would have felt about it.

But glad I'm back, and I was glad before this weekend even. It's been going good. I've been enjoying my team and working together with those guys. They've been doing an awesome job, and it's been fun.

Q. You joked that it wasn't all that long a streak, but were there any thoughts of man, I might not win again?

MARTIN TRUEX JR.: Yeah, I mean, there always is. You never know when your last win is going to be or what's going to happen. Certainly in those 54 races, there's certainly a bunch of them that we probably should have won or had the best car.

I think as tough as that is to swallow, when those heartbreaking races happen, it keeps you motivated. It keeps your mind like okay, yeah, we know we can do it. If the belts don't fall off the engine, we're going to win Darlington. If we didn't use a set of tires in Stage 1 of Richmond, we're going to win Richmond.

You have all these races throughout that period where you're like, we were good enough to win, we should have won. It's not like we can't do that, we just need to put it all together. It's kind of like that carrot dangling out in front of you. You know you can get it, you've just got to find a way.

Yeah, it definitely helps to be running good. If you're not running good and you're not challenging for wins and not leading laps, then yeah, it's like you don't know if you'll ever win again, but other than that, when you're running good, you know it's going to happen eventually.

Q. Going deeper on the family side, I know your dad was emotional when Ryan won, but now that it is a Truex weekend with you winning today, what was your dad like when you two talked?

MARTIN TRUEX JR: Yeah, obviously excited. It's hard to read him. He's pretty quiet when he's at the track and all that. But just obviously really excited, really proud of his two sons going to Victory Lane.

He got the chance to race here one time, and it scared the crap out of him. That's kind of what I gather out of it. Really, really cool that Ryan and I both were able to win. Yeah, very neat.

Q. Want to ask you as well about the battle with Ross Chastain throughout the race. Where did you feel like your car was better than him, and how hard did he make you work for it?

MARTIN TRUEX JR: Yeah, I think throughout stage 3, we fired off there, we got to second. Both of us passed the 24. I almost had him passed before he passed the 24 for the lead I feel like, and then I made a bad decision there, and then he got by the 24, then I followed him.

I was just kind of in his tracks there until the green flag stop really. I could get two, three car lengths, couldn't get any closer, and I felt like I was a little faster than him, but he was just moving around on the racetrack to take the air away from me, and I wasn't going to be able to pass him.

Really the difference in the race was the green flag cycle, jumping him by two laps or whatever we did there, coming out in front. That was the difference. Felt like our cars were really equal, and whoever got out front was going to have the advantage, and that's really what it came down to.

But it was a good race, and he did a good job. We just kind of got him on pit road there.

Q. Obviously we discussed all the different things in play this weekend, breaking a not-so-long streak, brother Ryan winning. You've had a lot of great weekends in your career. Where does this rank among them?

MARTIN TRUEX JR: Man, it's up there. I always have trouble separating wins and what means the most here or there, and I can't even pick favorites when it comes to tracks or dinner. I try just to live in the moment, honestly. I try to enjoy each one of them. They're all special. They're all important. This one has been awesome. Aside from being bored all weekend sitting in the bus watching it rain, it's been an amazing weekend.

I wish it was Sunday instead of Monday, but we waste a lot of our life sitting around in this sport, and when you have days like this, it makes it all worthwhile.

Q. With how emotional this weekend must be, you guys are going to celebrate a while. How long is the celebration going to last until it's back to work for the next weeks?

MARTIN TRUEX JR: A little bit of work tomorrow, but I'm going -- I've got some friends that are having a bachelor/bachelorette weekend, my cousin and his fiance and then a bunch of friends and some family, and I'm going to meet up with them somewhere for a couple days. We'll have plenty of celebrate. We'll have a big time.

Q. You were talking about the winless streak and kind of joking how it really wasn't that long. Did it feel as long being over a calendar year to you?

MARTIN TRUEX JR.: Yeah, I mean, it felt long. It feels like it's been a while. No question. But again, I've been through a lot longer ones. It's easy to stay motivated when you're running good and you know you can do it. It's just as simple as that.

Yeah, it felt like a long time, but it's over now, and we can go try to get some more.

Q. Pretty big for James, too, obviously. He was kind of joking in Victory Lane saying that everybody can stop tweeting him and telling him that Cole should replace him. You guys obviously have a unique relationship. Sometimes it comes out in profane ways over the radio. What do you think this means for James specifically in terms of where he's at in his career?

MARTIN TRUEX JR.: I think it's good. It's always good when you make decisions like he did, for it to work out so you're confident. Confidence goes up the next time, and you're not second-guessing yourself. He's had some rough breaks. I've got to tell you, he's had some tough breaks in the past year on the way things have played out.

It's a tough job sitting up there to make those calls. A lot of times it's a 50/50 deal, like today, two or four. If you're the leader and you do four, then somebody is probably going to take two, and what if you don't win, then you look like an idiot.

Richmond was a tough one, too, to pit in the first stage and take a set of tires and it comes back to haunt you with 20 laps to go, the complete end of the race. That's a tough one, too. He's had some tough breaks and some tough luck.

But it's always good when you make a decision like that and it plays out, just for confidence.

Q. Following up on Ross a little bit, you said Ross did a good job down the stretch. I know you guys got into it a little bit here last year. When you have a driver that's that aggressive, does that enter into your mind at all, or did you just treat Ross as just another competitor today when you were fighting for the lead down the stretch?

MARTIN TRUEX JR: Yeah, you just know who you're racing and you know what they're probably going to do in certain situations. It definitely helped to know that. But yeah, at the end of the day we were just racing. There was nothing really going on. It's so hard to get close to each other with these things. We really never even raced side by side. It was more just nose to tail, kind of cat-and-mouse game.

Q. I know you said that every win is special, but to do it just over two and a half hours from where you grew up in Jersey and to be your fourth here at Dover, how cool is that for you?

MARTIN TRUEX JR: It's amazing. This is one of my favorite tracks. I love coming here. Like I said, a lot of friends and family come to this track, and I feel like we have a lot of fans up in this neck of the woods.

It's been one of my favorite tracks for a long time since I first came here back in like 2002 or 2001 I guess it was. So just, yeah, excited for sure, and I think this is the first track to clear three wins. I think four is the most I've had at any one track.

We've given away a few over the years here, too, so really cool to have my name up there with some really legends of the sport on having more than three wins here. I think there's only a few that have that. So it's super special, and it means a ton.

Q. You and Ryan Blaney ended up next to each other on that final restart. Obviously he's in the midst of a winless streak, as well. I assume that doesn't really enter your mind, but what was that battle like because you guys were pretty even for at least a lap and a half before you cleared him.

MARTIN TRUEX JR: Yeah, it was quite a battle. He got a great restart. Side by side through 1 and 2, couldn't clear him side by side through 3 and 4, and finally on the second lap after the restart was able to clear him off of 2. I got in really hard, way up the racetrack, so he had plenty of room to shoot around the bottom and get back under me, but then off of 2 he got tight and had to bail out of the gas, and we about touched. It got really, really close to making contact. He had to bail out of the gas, and that was the end of the story.

You know, I have always really enjoyed racing with Ryan. We've raced really hard together, really clean, never had any issues, and he's a great driver.

Hate that I had to be the one to steal it from him or keep his winless streak going, but I'm just happy we came out on the right end of it today.

Q. What stands out to you from your dad's racing career? What do you remember most? What was kind of the memorable moment to you, the formative moment to you growing up from watching him race?

MARTIN TRUEX JR: I mean, for me the biggest moment for him was winning at New Hampshire in '94. It was on national television, TNN back in the day. They had Darrell Waltrip and Buddy Baker, I think, doing the broadcast with Steve Burns. For me, seeing him race at that level and win at New Hampshire, Loudon was crazy. That was definitely his biggest racing accomplishment that he ever had.

But I think for me, just the way he did it, he did it with a small team of guys that he grew up with, his buddies, and they just went racing as a hobby and got pretty far with it, but never had the best equipment, never had the smartest people in the series. He was racing Busch North back there. There was some good guys and smart guys up there. I think he did good for what he had.

But to see him win that race on TV like that was really cool for me as a kid. I was 14 years old, and had just started racing myself a few years before that, so that was a big deal. I always knew that some day I wanted to be able to do that, too. That was really something that pushed me to be a racer.

Q. You worked with him on the clamming boat when you were a kid, too, right?

MARTIN TRUEX JR: Oh, yeah, I went out on weekends when I was young just to check it out and spend time with him, and then as I got older in high school I'd work weekends if I could to try to make some money to race, and then out of high school I went full-time for almost two years as I was racing to try to make it all work.

Glad I figured out how to go fast so I could get the hell off of that boat.



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