Furniture Row Racing driver Martin Truex Jr. was made available to the media at Dover International Speedway:
MARTIN TRUEX JR., No. 78 Furniture Row/Denver Mattress, Furniture Row Racing
What does it mean to race at Dover International Speedway in front of a home crowd with a win in the Chase already?
“Yeah, it’s always exciting to come back here. It’s a special track for me for a lot of reasons, but most of all I really enjoy it. It’s a great race track, it’s put on some great races over the years and it’s a place that we’ve had a lot of success. So, always look forward to coming back here and hopefully we’ll have a great weekend.”
Can you tell a difference between how relaxed your team is versus the 10 other drivers who haven’t advanced yet?
“Yeah, I don’t know. I think that we’ve been pretty relaxed throughout preparing for the Chase and starting it off. Obviously winning Chicago was a big deal for us, but I think that we really haven’t paid much attention to everybody else. We’ve really just focused on what we’re doing and obviously happy to be locked in that next round already. But, all in all, I think our teams had a good focus, a good outlook, a good mindset even before the Chase started. We’ve just had a lot of confidence and a lot of momentum obviously. So, things are going well and I think for us it’s just important to keep that mindset, not get too many highs or lows and just keep that even keel and be smart and race hard.”
How much do you look forward to returning to Chase race tracks where you’ve already had success at this year?
“I look forward to it a lot. I think that really is our game plan is just to play off of that confidence that we have and know that we can go to these race tracks coming up and run strong. At the same time you know it’s Chase time and everybody’s going to step it up so we need to do the same. We had a great run at Charlotte obviously earlier in the season and look forward to working off of that baseline to hopefully find some things to be even better this time around — and, the same with Kansas. I think those are two great tracks for us, but that doesn’t guarantee anything so we’ve got to make sure we’re ready to go and we do all the right things.”
Are you bringing the race car back to Charlotte Motor Speedway next weekend that you won with earlier this year?
“Well, we can’t lead as many as we did last time being that it’s only going to be 500 miles this race, but I’m not sure on the race car to be honest. I don’t even ask anymore. The cars that are built today, it’s not like it was back in the day where you would get this one car that just felt so great and always seemed to be the fastest car you had. It seems like these days we can take a new car to the track and it really doesn’t feel any different than the cars you had been running. With that being said, I think that obviously we will take our best piece, whatever Cole (Pearn, crew chief) and the guys think is the best we have and that’s what you’ve got to do this time of year. You’ve got to bring your best every single week.”
What specifically does being locked into the next round of the Chase allow you to do that other teams can’t do?
“I don’t think there’s any more to it than just knowing that if something bad happens it’s not going to affect the outcome of your season. I think there’s a lot of potential in the Chase to have one bad race. You know, no matter how good you ran or no matter how good of a season you’ve had we’ve seen in the past that something out of your control can take you out of the opportunity to win a championship. So, for us, it’s just one more weekend where we don’t have to worry about that stuff happening.”
Has anything surprised you so far in the Chase?
“Not really, I don’t think anything has been that surprising. I think that the racing has been really good. We expected the intensity to ramp up when the Chase started. I feel like that’s happened. Chicago and New Hampshire both were I felt like really good races where a lot of things were playing out, but nothing really sticks out as a surprise to me. I think the cars we expected to be strong have shown – been able to continue showing that and we’ve been one of those guys and hopefully we can continue to do that. That’s our main focus.”
Does your consistency this year give you an appreciation for what Kevin Harvick has done the last three seasons?
“Yeah, for sure. I mean it definitely makes you appreciate it, but I think for us it’s – especially for me personally, I’ve been doing this quite a long time and had a lot of bad seasons where you watch these guys race and lead a bunch of laps and dominate every weekend and you’re like, ‘Man, that’s got to be so awesome,’ you know? And just to be on the other side of it – to be in that position – has been so much fun. It’s been so rewarding. Obviously, it’s been such a big part of what we’ve been doing the last two years. Obviously, I have to give my team a lot of credit for that, but it’s just so much fun. I’m just enjoying the moment really and I really appreciate it because I’ve been on the other side more likely most of the time than not, so it’s just – I’m just thankful to have a great race team and just really taking it one race at a time and enjoying the moment because it’s – I know what it’s like to be on the other side of that.”
Did you continue using your helmet, firesuit and equipment following your Coca-Cola 600 win?
“I actually – I just kept using all the same stuff. I mean, I don’t get too superstitious, so we just kept rolling with it, but I actually do have to give that helmet away because – or actually it’s the firseuit I have to give away – because I promised somebody a while ago that next time I won and this was year’s ago that – because I went a long time win – and so a couple years ago it was like he wanted my firesuit from my next win and I was like, ‘Okay, that’s cool,’ and then I won Pocono and he’s like, ‘Well, it’s been a long time, so you keep this one. I’ll get the next one,’ so I do have to give the firesuit away from Charlotte.”