NASCAR Media Conference
Martin Truex, Jr.
September 5, 2013
THE MODERATOR: Saturday night, you are going to go for your second straight Chase berth. Talk a little bit about your mindset, what you think you got to do Saturday night to get through it and get into that Chase.
MARTIN TRUEX, JR.: Well, I think certainly we're capable. A lot of things throughout the season have put us in this position. It's a position that nobody really wants to be in. A lot of pressure. A lot of things can happen at a short track like Richmond.
Our team is ready to go. For us it's important to focus on doing our jobs, trying to go out front, do the best job we can, not let what others dictate how we call the race.
We have a good plan going in. Feel good about our chances and hopefully it will happen.
Q. Is there part of you that says, All I have to do is beat Ryan?
MARTIN TRUEX, JR.: No, because that's not a guarantee either. Somebody could fall out of the top 10, be ahead of us, take that spot. We need to go out there and do what we can. The best way to go out would be to go out and win the thing.
We got close last weekend. I'd be a lot more comfortable today if we won in Atlanta. We came up short. Just trying to do what we can do. No different from any other race. We go out there, you try to win. If you can't win, what's the best you can do. How can you get the most out of the car, what you got that evening. Hopefully we'll put together a good night and that will be enough.
Q. Will you ask where Ryan is during the race?
MARTIN TRUEX, JR.: Probably not. If it comes down to the end, maybe. Do we need a spot, a spot or two, I'm sure somebody will be telling me. I don't want to know where everybody is at. We just have to focus on our job and do it the best we can do it.
Q. What is your level of confidence?
MARTIN TRUEX, JR.: Yeah, I don't feel that way about it. I don't feel coming here is a big problem. I think we can get through it. We had a great run in the spring. Got spun out late. We were going for the lead or leading. We just ran out of time.
The biggest challenge about having this kind of pressure, the need to get the job done on a short track like this is there are so many unknowns. Look at Bristol. We ran top 5 all night long. Came out 14th, there's a wreck on the restart. Those are the things you can't control. Those are the things that worry me the most about coming to a short track, the unknowns, tire problems, do your brakes wear out.
Based on performance and speed, we can get the job done. A lot of times it's not that easy.
Q. If you get in, how competitive do you think you can be?
MARTIN TRUEX, JR.: Really this season, I look at a lot of tracks that we ran well at Charlotte, a mile‑and‑a‑half, but it's one we've not been good at. We ran strong at Martinsville, which has been one of my worst tracks throughout my career. We got wrecked there, but were running top 5. There's tracks in the schedule that we've gotten better at, especially from last year, that I feel we can contend.
We've had a tough season, but we've had competitive racecars. We've had a lot of bad things happen to us to put us in this position. We can be competitive, get up there. If we can get through places like Talladega and Martinsville, we can definitely be there come Homestead.
Q. Do you feel like you'll be behind some of those guys who are locked in early if you get in?
MARTIN TRUEX, JR.: I don't think so. I think this year it's been different than in the past because the Gen‑6 car. It's not like last year where guys said, We're going to experiment. I think this whole season has been experimenting. You have had to try to up your program each and every week, whether it's going back to another track for a second time, going to a place you haven't been yet that's similar to a track you've been to.
The setups in these cars, the things that guys have been doing to them all year, have changed so much.
Q. Any changes to the cast for this week?
MARTIN TRUEX, JR.: Yeah, got a new one. A little bit stronger. I molded it a little bit better. Hopefully I won't squish it, break it (laughter). I'm sure it's still going to hurt like hell, but we'll just have to deal with it.
Q. Is there one race in the first 25 races that you would like to have back?
MARTIN TRUEX, JR.: Probably Texas. We were dominant all night. Lost the lead on a pit stop late to Kyle. Weren't able to get back around him. That's the one I thought about this week. Damn, if we could just have Texas back, if we could have won that race, it wasn't that difficult, should have just done it.
That's the way it is in this sport. It's so difficult, so tough. You're always thinking back. I can count up hundreds of points in my head that we've given away this year, very easily could have gone a different way.
That's just racing. That's the way it goes. Sometimes you get what you want, sometimes you get hit in the head with something.
Racing luck is hard to explain, but it does have a lot to do with putting together a 26‑race stretch. We've certainly had our share of bad luck this year.
MARTIN TRUEX, JR.: None of us would be here if we didn't think we could win every week. I race to win, I don't race for top 10s. That's what we all do. That's what got us there. That's why we're here. All the teams that are challenging to get in the Chase right now have the potential if they get hot, get on a streak, get that momentum that we all the time talk about. Where does it come from? How do you get it? Nobody can explain it.
A team can go on a roll, win a championship. It's 10 races. You got to be perfect. Somebody's going to do it.
Q. You mentioned Texas earlier. Seems like a lot of races are decided on the last pit stop. Is that frustrating as a driver?
MARTIN TRUEX, JR.: If you're the guy that loses it, it is. If you're the guy that gets beat off pit road. If you win off of pit road, gets the good restart, you love it.
I haven't been on the good side of it very often. That's for sure. Hopefully that's going to change. Hopefully it will change Saturday night.
Q. How does this track play into what you do well?
MARTIN TRUEX, JR.: I don't know. I like short tracks. I enjoy them. I think Richmond is a place where you have to be aggressive on restarts, especially with the tires, the way they fall off here, you have to be good on the short run, but still be able to hang on on the long run.
I think what suits my style here is getting spots on the restarts when tires are fresh, you can get something out of the car.
Q. How does the new cast affect you as far as your comfort level?
MARTIN TRUEX, JR.: I'm probably 70% right‑hand dominant when I race. My right hand does a lot of the work. That's what made me so nervous about Atlanta. I've never raced injured. I never broke my hand or wrist. I didn't know what to expect.
It was worse than I expected. At the same time I was able to drive the car better than I expected. It hurt but I could deal with it, I could still drive the car, get everything out of it even if it wasn't broken. It was just not comfortable at all.
Q. What would happen if there's a situation on Saturday night where it's the last lap or two, the only way you're going to get in, you basically have to take out the guy in front of you?
MARTIN TRUEX, JR.: Depends on who that guy is (laughter). I got a list of IOUs, and I plan on using them if I need them.
Q. It's situational?
MARTIN TRUEX, JR.: Doesn't have anything to do with whether I like them or not. It has to do with would they do it to me and have they done it to me in the past.
Q. That's where the list comes in?
MARTIN TRUEX, JR.: I've got a long one. I haven't used any of them in the last couple of years.
Q. This is the third car we've had since 2007. Restart rules have changed. Do they need to mix up the tracks? Would you like to see two or three new tracks in the Chase?
MARTIN TRUEX, JR.: I think it's a great idea. I mean, I do think we should switch it up. I think every year it should be different because we talk about guys, everybody has their tracks. I have a list of tracks, I'm like, Okay, I can go there and win, no matter what, whether things aren't going good with your team or whatever, there's guys that have those list of tracks.
I think we should change it up every single year. I think that would be the best thing for everybody.
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