TOYOTA NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS)
Martin Truex Jr., Joe Garone – Notes & Quotes
Watkins Glen International – August 5, 2016
Furniture Row Racing driver Martin Truex Jr. and general manager Joe Garone were made available to the media at Watkins Glen International:
MARTIN TRUEX JR., No. 78 Furniture Row Toyota Camry, Furniture Row Racing
Can you tell us a little bit about resigning with Furniture Row Racing?
“Well, I think everybody knows the details, but obviously real excited to continue this relationship. The last year-and-a-half with this team has been amazing. Just looking forward to continuing that momentum and building upon our success. Final four last year was a big deal for us and looking forward to hopefully getting back there this year and do it even better. Just again continue to build on the success we’ve grown into as a group. I think we’ve got the best team in the garage without a doubt in my opinion and just looking forward to keeping that together and hopefully doing bigger and better things as we go forward.”
What is your outlook for this weekend after the first practice session today?
“Definitely pleased with how the day is going so far. We came up here and tested two weeks ago and it was definitely a good thing we did because we weren’t very good, we learned a lot. We learned a lot of what not to do and so it was cool to come back here today. The guys did a good job getting the car prepared and coming up with some new things and some new ideas and it felt really good today. The track is definitely a lot more challenging with the new pavement. It’s really, really fast. Obviously the tires just seem to get faster and faster as we run on them and each time we go in and out of the garage it seems to be a little quicker. Really fast around here and having a lot of fun so far today.”
What has it been like to be part of an organization that has grown and provided you with so much success?
“Yeah, I think when I first went there I was like, ‘Hey, this is a pretty good option. It’s my only option, but it’s a pretty good one.’ We kind of got brought together by fate really and it’s interesting that it worked out that way, but obviously I’m very thankful. Barney (Visser, team owner) has continued to deliver, continued to give us the tools that we need to be successful. And, honestly, it’s just been I feel like a continuing trend of getting better and better and better. Honestly, I think we’re one of the best teams in the garage. I feel that way. Certainly we’ve had the speed consistency this year to be considered one of those guys and honestly I still feel like we’re growing, I still feel like we’re learning each other and getting better and learning new things. So, to think that it all came together the way it did is kind of weird but it’s definitely something I’m really thankful for.”
Can you imagine racing anywhere else with where you are at this point?
“I mean, honestly, no. This is – and as we went through this process in the last three weeks or a month I’ve worked, I’ve been in the series 10 years and it’s taken me that long to get here to where I want to be. I’ve put a lot of effort in, I’ve busted my butt to get in this position where I can win consistently and be a championship contender. Yeah, to throw that away would obviously be silly unless it was something that you just couldn’t do for some crazy reason. But, I think that we were able to work everything out and I couldn’t be happier obviously to be working with these guys. Barney (Visser, team owner) has been a great guy to work for. He’s such an honest guy. He shoots you straight, he tells you the truth, he takes care of his guys like they’re his family and that means a lot to me, and, it makes us all do our jobs better.”
How drastic were the changes you had to make to driving around Watkins Glen with the new surface?
“It’s not as different as you would think setup-wise. I thought when we tested here we were quite a bit different than the things that we had run in the past and we weren’t very good and we kind of – we changed a lot of stuff but we changed a lot of little things. It wasn’t like complete 180 on your theory of this place. It’s still the same race track right? The corners are all the same, you still have the same challenges. The uphill parts, the curves are similar to what they were. It’s not changed a lot but the pavement is the biggest thing and obviously the tires. The tires are the biggest difference to what we used to run here and now they’re really hard, they don’t wear out, which is typical repave whether it’s an oval or a road course. And, so, you don’t really change tires or wear tires out you just keep running on them and they get faster and faster and faster. So, I think it’s really challenging just to figure out where your car is because at some point in the race you have to put tires on so that’s a big challenge but we’ll see where it goes. But, it’s definitely the same race track, you just have to drive it a little different because you’re going faster in each corner than you used to.”
How much did the success you’ve had with Furniture Row Racing affect your desire to stay with them?
“Yeah, I agree. That’s what we’ve talked about, again through the whole process is how we make this thing work and keep it going and just see where it takes us. It’s been such a great, like I said, the last couple years have been so good it’s hard not to see it through to the end of the road and see where we end up. Just proud of everybody that’s stood behind me especially in ’14 when we didn’t run so well and we were able to turn it around and get it going. And, now it’s paying off for all of us. Just try to keep this momentum going and keep improving on our success and hopefully have more big days ahead.”
How important was it for your relationship with Bass Pro Shops to continue as a sponsor?
“Well, that was a huge part of it obviously. Really excited about that. I know Johnny (Morris, Bass Pro Shops) is really looking forward to next year and we’ve had so much fun with him over the years. He’s been such a big part of my career starting out in the Busch Series back in ’05, so I owe a lot to John (Morris). He’s really helped keep my career going at times. He helped start it in the beginning so he’s been a big part of that and I couldn’t be more thankful to have Bass Pro Shops on our car. It’s obviously who I am. I think I’m a good representative of the brand and what they do. That’s the guy I am, so it’s been a good relationship all around, and honestly without John’s commitment this deal wouldn’t have came together. So, I really do owe a lot to him and glad we were able to make it work.”
If you could pick one Olympic sport to be good at what would it be?
“I’ve been asked that. We did a big video thing a while back. I’m not sure. I’m not much of an athlete when it comes to Olympic sports. I played football and baseball back when I was younger but swimming and all of the things they do I’ve never really had an interest. But, there’s one Olympic sport that most people don’t even know exists and I’d probably be pretty good at and that’s archery. So, that would be my Olympic pick.”
JOE GARONE, general manager, Furniture Row Racing
Can you talk about the importance of resigning Martin Truex Jr.?
“Yeah, and that’s what’s great about this is we’ve got history now and switching over to Toyota coming into this year was a big step and now signing him (Martin Truex Jr.) for a couple more years is going to give us a few more years to focus and continue building this program.”
Can you explain the confidence that Martin Truex Jr. would return to race for Furniture Row Racing?
“To start with a few weeks ago when you asked me that when you have a driver look at you and talk to you and tell you that we can win races, win championships with this race team that pretty much says it all. We want to be together, we want to accomplish those goals and you don’t get that opportunity – you can spend a whole career in this series and not be in that environment and you just have got to capitalize on it while you can and that’s what we’re doing.”
Is adding a car the next natural evolution for Furniture Row Racing and what’s the timeline on doing that if so?
“It’s certainly a part of it for the growth of the team. It’s been over this journey we started off and Barney (Visser, team owner), his company has funded our car all along and are still there, but Bass Pro Shops really coming onboard this last year has really opened up a door for other sponsorships. And, it’s kind of settled us to where we feel we’re getting strong enough to support a second effort and it’s no secret we’ve been working on that and we’ll see where that takes us.”
Is 2017 the goal of the plan to add a second team?
“If we can get it all pulled together it will be ’17. Yep.”
Is there a lot less pressure to have a second team with the success you’ve had recently?
“You know, that’s a good point and we’ve considered that but with the support that we have right now from Toyota and with (Joe) Gibbs (Racing), the team is just really strong. You want to go into something like that when you’re on the high spot and you have all your strength and things hitting on all eight cylinders and we just feel like that’s right now would be a really good time for that. I think if we can get it pulled together we’ll be very successful at it.”