Toyota Racing – Martin Truex Jr.
Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Quotes
RICHMOND, VA. (September 20, 2019) – Joe Gibbs Racing driver Martin Truex Jr. was made available to media at Richmond Raceway:
MARTIN TRUEX JR., No.19 Bass Pro Shops Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
What kind of relief is it for you to have that win as a team and to be able to concentrate on the next round?
“Well, I think first of all, it was good timing. We had five or six races in a row that we felt like we were doing the right things and our cars were fast and we felt like we were performing well, and we were not getting really good finishes. We had a lot of stuff happen. So, it’s nice when those things kind of go away and you can say, ‘ok, yeah we were doing the right things.’ It’s a good confidence booster. It came at a good time. I think the bonus points are really critical. We didn’t finish where we wanted to in the regular season standings. We lost a few spots through that stretch there of things happening to us, so bonus points were huge. Just good timing to start the Playoffs just for the confidence for the whole group, not just me or Cole (Pearn, crew chief), but for the whole group.”
Are you good with the changes at the Roval?
“I am actually. I think it will be a really good change. I thought last year the backstretch chicane was just there to kind of slow us down a little bit. It wasn’t really a corner that you could make passes or moves. It was kind of like, you just tried to get through there without crashing every lap because it was so fast. I think with it being more like the bus stop at Watkins Glen will be good. More braking, more of a braking zone, a place that we can make more passes. I think it will be awesome. We will just have to wait and see. I’m looking forward to that.”
How do you see tomorrow’s race playing out? Will it be like it was in the Spring?
“I don’t know. I’m not really sure; I haven’t really thought about it. It’s hard to say. I think for us, we are just trying to get our car dialed in the best we can. We came here with a few different ideas to try to be better, and I felt like it wasn’t quite as good. They are making some decisions in there right now on which way to go. I would say that race was a long time ago. A lot of people have learned a lot of things, and we will have to see who has gotten better and can we keep up with them. We will wait and see, but I felt okay about it speed wise – we just have to get it driving a little bit better.”
Having won the championship in 2017, does that give you a blueprint on how to get the title this year?
“We certainly know how we did it, but duplicating it is very tough when you have such tough competition. Things change. Obviously, the cars are way different than they were in 2017, so that kind of changes things more than anything. But, just having that experience and knowing how to get through those pressure situations is huge. We have that on our side, and now we just have to continue to perform at a high level.”
With multiple teammates in the playoffs, do you guys share notes?
“We share everything – the teams, the crew chiefs, the drivers. We all share everything, so basically, we are teammates as good as we can be. Once the race starts on Saturday night is when it’s every team for themselves. You race as hard against your teammates, almost, I guess, as hard as you race everybody else. Definitely, nothing changes throughout the Playoffs as far as sharing notes and what goes along with that. It stays the same.”
Kyle Busch hates to lose and hates to lose to you specifically. What is that like behind-the-scenes?
“I don’t know. Nobody likes to lose. We are all here to win. We all work hard to try to win, and you are disappointed when you don’t, and everybody handles it a little differently. For me, I don’t like to lose either, but I feel like the longer I do this, the more I enjoy winning and the more I can deal with losing. I don’t like it, but it’s part of the deal. We’ve had a great season. We’ve won five races, but how many races have we not won? Just trying to manage those expectations and stay positive and do all the right things is kind of what I focus on.”
How much preparation do you do in the simulator for the Roval?
“Not a lot. It just depends on what the team wants and what they are looking for. If they have some questions on trying some things on the car, that’s usually when I get in there and try to help. As far as me driving it and trying to adapt to a track, I don’t do a whole lot of that anymore. I did years ago, but I feel like I have been this long enough now that if I haven’t figured it out, I probably should find something else to do.”
Is there anything you can do to give advice to some of the drivers at the back of the field?
“I think there’s probably some constructive criticism that could be given that may help the situation. I’ve not tried to do it. I just let them do their thing and I do mine.”
Can you and the team start working ahead for the next round?
“Not really as far as building equipment and working on cars and things like that. I think that for Cole (Pearn, crew chief) and the team to start maybe working on some setup stuff or just think ahead a little bit more because they have a little bit of time. They’re not completely stressed out about the next two weeks where they can say, ‘Alright, we can start looking at Dover a little bit closer and try to gain an advantage there just by thinking about it longer.’ As far as building parts and pieces and equipment, no. It’s already all set, and the teams have a plan for all that.”
How do your philanthropic efforts help give you balance?
“I think it’s just good to keep a good perspective on life and how things really are outside of this little world that we live in that won’t be here forever for us. It’s just a good, constant reminder of things and things people deal with and kind of how fortunate we are to do what we do. We had a great event this week – Karting for Cancer at GoPro Motorplex. Raised a little over $35,000 so it was just a fun night. To be able to go out there with a bunch of friends and race go-karts and everybody had a blast and to raise money on top of that was a good thing. It was fun to see everybody, and we had a lot of support as always, which is always special. Now excited to be here at Richmond and keep things going.”
What is it like for drivers late in the season that don’t know what they will be doing the following year?
“It’s definitely a difficult situation and I’ve been through it a few times. I always just try to focus on that stuff during the week and don’t bring it to the race track. Don’t bring it with you, don’t hold the burden. You know how to do your job. Your job is to drive a race car. The more clearly you can think about just that, the better job you’re going to do. If you start thinking, I have to do this because I need a job, or I need to do that because I need a job then you weren’t trying hard enough in the first place. You can’t just come in and change who you are and how you do things just because of a situation you’re put in. For me and I know some guys that are going through this now and I’m sure they’re doing the same thing. There’s nothing you can do about it on the weekend while you’re driving the car, you just have to go out there and give it your best, do your best and the best job you can and worry about that stuff during the week.”
How can drivers block out that type of pressure when they get asked about it at the racetrack?
“It’s not that hard. It wasn’t for me; it might be for some others. Honestly, I’m just being honest. I just didn’t want to talk about it. It’s fine, it will work itself out and that’s all you do is focus on your job.”
What does a driver do during the week in that situation?
“You work on your options; you talk to people and see what’s out there. What can I do, what do I have to do, what are the options. Then try to set your plans. You have the teams you’re talking to, what teams is there a possibility to talk to – all those type of things.”
Is there a proper etiquette for drivers that are multiple laps down in a race?
“For sure. Depending on the track, they should probably not be in the lane that the leaders want to run. But that gets tricky at a place like Vegas where you can basically run all over it. That’s where the tough part is. It’s a tough deal. Last week, I saw what happened and the closing rate was insanely huge. The guy that was out there was not only slow to begin with, but wrecked. He had a tough night and his car was beat up and it was very slow. I don’t know if we need to look at minimum speed maybe a little closer or just maybe not run right through the middle of the race track. It depends, it’s different every week, every situation, different for every car. There’s no really clear-cut answer on how to make this easier on everybody.”