Toyota Racing – Martin Truex Jr.
Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS)
Dover International Speedway – June 2, 2017
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 Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
How does it feel to be back at Dover International Speedway where you’ve won and you now have the points lead?
“Yeah that all sounds good coming here, so excited about the weekend obviously. It’s definitely a special race track for me. I love coming up here and hopefully we’ll have a successful weekend. Got a good season going, you know? I think leading points after last week is really cool. I think – my trip to the media center in Charlotte, I left there not knowing that, so I was surprised that nobody talked about that, but definitely excited about it and hopefully we can hang on to that for the rest of the season.”
Does it help your team to see the Joe Gibbs Racing cars run well?
“It certainly doesn’t hurt. Any time guys you’re sharing info with and doing things together fast, it helps you. Fortunately for us, we’ve been pretty consistent this year, but if we do show up somewhere and we’re off that certainly gives you that confidence to look at what they’re doing and use more of that, but I think all in all it’s just they’ve kind of just started doing a little bit more of what we’re doing I guess. I don’t know.”
How big is winning at Dover for you?
“Well, winning is huge anywhere, but just here for me it’s extra special. I think I generally have more friends and family at this race than any race I go to just because of the close proximity to where I grew up and for me personally just I’ve got a lot of really good memories here, you know? Coming here to race in the Busch North Series back in the day and made my first XFINITY start here and just have a lot of good memories honestly, so it’s special for me here to win. It’s hard anywhere and its special anywhere, but here’s definitely a little bit sweeter.
Has anything surprised you about the playoff points?
“Yeah, I think we’ve generally done a good job of being able to collect some of those points, but we’ve been consistent. We’ve been running up front and we’ve led the most laps and that’s a big part of getting those stage wins and those bonus points is just being up front consistently. I mean, that’s really what that shows you, so I don’t think anything really surprises me about the stages. I do think that we’ve seen guys that haven’t been able to run up front, if the cautions fall right they really are willing to take a big gamble to get some of those stage points. We’ve seen that consistently week in and week out. Last weekend, we lost an opportunity to possibly get another stage win just by losing I think three spots on pit road with five or six laps to go in one of those stages, so it’s – everybody is pushing hard to get them and they’re going to be really important. We were actually talking about them today in the hauler – how important they’re going to be come playoff time and the guys that don’t have them are going to be scratching their heads saying, ‘Why didn’t we get more of these playoff points throughout the season.’ It’s going to be big. We’re just happy we’ve been able to collect a bunch of them so far.”
What caused your team to be discussing playoff points on the hauler?
“We were just talking about how big we think it’s going to be, you know? We saw last year especially for us how we went out at Talladega and we had a couple bad races and the one really bad race and nothing to fall back on, so this is definitely going to be a little bit different this time around for us.”
How does your Dover gameplay change from the fall to the spring with weather differences?
“Yeah, I mean I think it’s same strategy really. Just try to – hopefully we’ll qualify well today. We had a really good practice this morning and just hope to qualify well and get a good pit stall – that’s really important here to have a good race, so we’ll try to do that today and then just really work on our car tomorrow in practice just like we do every time. I think the biggest change here now is just the rules. The cars are so much different than they were a year ago. Trying to figure all that out, how that applies to this race track now and so far the car has felt good, so I think we’re off to a good start, but you never know what tomorrow could bring.”
What does Erik Jones and his team need to do to get their first win?
“Well, I can’t really speak on their thoughts or exactly what they’re thinking as far as pressure, things like that. I feel like they’re not far away. I feel like they need to put some consistency together, but all of it has just been tough luck. I’ve had seasons like that before, so I know what it feels like. They just got to keep their head down and keep working hard. They’ve had speed like you said and I feel like any weekend they could put it all together, so they’re doing a good job. Some growing pains here and there and mostly just bad luck. I mean, last weekend they hit a piece of debris pretty much cost them a shot at a top-five and they still ran seventh, so they’re doing a good job and it will come around. Just need to keep plugging away at it.”
What are your thoughts on upcoming races at Pocono Raceway and Michigan International Speedway?
“Looking forward to it, you know? I mean, I think Pocono for whatever reason the last couple years has been a super track for us. Last year, we had some tough luck there with some blown tires and things, but I think we qualified up front and was leading both of those races, so our car has been really fast there. We won in 2015 and looking forward to going back there. Got some good fishing holes up there as well I got to hit and got to have those important things like that lined up. Michigan is a fun place as well. Get to spend some time up there vacationing each year before the race, so next couple weeks are always a lot of fun and hopefully we’ll have success on the race track to go along the fun off.”