Furniture Row Racing driver Martin Truex Jr. was made available to the media at Charlotte Motor Speedway:
MARTIN TRUEX JR., No. 78 Furniture Row/Denver Mattress, Furniture Row Racing
How does it feel to have Maaco join your team?
“Obviously, we’re really excited. This has been such a big season for everybody at Furniture Row Racing bringing on new partners and this is just another step in that direction, so again a great nationwide and even in Canada – a huge company (Maaco). It’s definitely an honor to be associated with such great people and again it’s – when companies like this partner with our team, it’s great for the sport, it’s obviously great for our team and I think other people take notice and hopefully it’s something that we continue to build on and have a great partnership down the road and it’s an honor to have such a great company on board with our program.”
What kind of roll is your team on right now?
“Well, yeah, it’s been pretty incredible the last five weeks just to be part of such a historic run for our race team, so it’s been a lot of fun. We’ve been working hard. It’s always fun when you’re winning races and running up front each and every week and we’re here at Charlotte to hopefully continue that, so excited about the weekend. Obviously, this is a big way to start the weekend for us announcing another partner on the 78. It’s really cool to have a Charlotte-based company (Maaco) that’s nationwide and in Canada be a part of our race team and hopefully we’ll give these guys something to be excited about this weekend.”
Does it feel different to no longer be the underdog?
“It feels a little bit different, but really our mindset hasn’t changed and it’s really been the same as it was last year. I think that ultimately we feel like we’re in a lot better position this year to go win the championship. Last year, I think our goal was, ‘Okay, how do we get to Homestead and what do we do to put ourselves in our best position to have a shot at it?’ I think this year it’s more, ‘Okay, how do we not screw this up and make sure we get there so we can have a chance to show everybody what we’re made of?’ So it’s a little bit different mindset, but our approach and our mentality is really the same and that’s take it one week at a time, try to do the best we can each week and hopefully at the end of the day we’ll be where we want to be.”
How do you describe the feeling of having two wins to now being even in points after a reset?
“Yeah, it’s a good question and I think it – it would be nice to be in this position and have those two wins kind of mean something, but at the same time you understand going in that’s the way it works and you know I think for us this is just a repeat of Chicagoland weekend, you know? We’re here, we know everybody is at zero and we’ve got to perform, so I think we’re prepared. Charlotte is a great place for us. It’s been a great track for us the past couple years. Kansas next week is the same way and we’re hoping to capitalize on these two race tracks that we know we can perform at because everybody knows Talladega is looming week three of this round, so I don’t think anyone wants to go in there and have to worry about do I have to finish 10th or 12th or whatever. You never know what can happen there, so our mindset is really the same as it’s been – just coming out here and perform like we know we can and hopefully we’ll be able to do that.”
Is this the same Camry you won with here in May and how does this track change from May to this weekend?
“Yeah, it’s a good question. First off, yes, it’s the same car we had here in the 600 – also the car I believe we won Chicago with – so it’s definitely got some good history, but I’ll be honest – I can’t tell the difference between that car and say the car we raced last week. I mean, the way they build these things now, they’re all exactly the same and you can’t tell anything about the cars being different like you used to back in the day. This car would have a certain feel. That car would have a certain feel. Now it’s like they can just completely reproduce them, so with that said with the track record this car has had we’re obviously optimistic, but Charlotte I think one of the biggest challenges is coming here today, on Friday, practicing at 1:30 in the afternoon, the sun is coming out now even though we race Saturday night. We’re going to have some rain most likely at some point between now and then, so Charlotte being temperature sensitive, being sensitive to the sun being out, you have to understand what you need in your car today in practice, what it needs to feel like and the things you need to look for to be able to race well Saturday night and that’s not easy. It’s pretty difficult, so we’ll see what we can do, but we’ve got good notes from last time we can go off of and we’ll definitely lean on that for sure.”
Should the regular season winner receive a reward entering the Chase?
“I think they should get something. I mean, it’s so difficult to be the points leader at the end of the first 26. I think that there’s definitely something there. Now what that should be, I’m not sure. I’ve heard a lot of opinions and read a lot of things, but I think there should definitely be something. I also think if you win more than one race in the first round, you should get a bye in the next round.”
What has it been like to have the attention focused on you?
“To be honest with you, I think it’s really exciting for our team. It’s a lot of fun to be a part of this right now, but at the same time you have to keep your focus on the next race. You can’t dwell on the fact that we won two races in the first round because as of today it doesn’t really matter, so we have to focus on Charlotte. All those things are great. They’re great for our team – helping us bring on new partners like Maaco. These are the kind of things that we’ve been working towards all year long, so now it’s time to get it done again. Everything is reset like I said and all that stuff doesn’t matter, so it’s nice, but at the end of the day we need to perform now and we need to perform this weekend.”
Does it feel different to be at the top of the sport compared to the years it took you to get here?
“In a lot of ways, yes, it feels a lot different. It’s almost like, ‘Okay, finally, we’re here. Now how do we make sure we can keep it going,’ because you understand how easy it is to be on the other side of it and how hard you worked to get here, so I think really your focus is just, ‘What can I do to continue this roll, continue this momentum?’ I think a lot of it obviously is being part of a great team. Everybody knows in this sport it is a team sport and I’m just honestly thankful I’m getting to show my talent, my capabilities behind the wheel and focus on continuing this roll that we’re on and what it’s going to take to do that, so I don’t take it for granted. I know that in two weeks it could be gone. You just never know in this sport, so I’m just really living in the moment and enjoying myself. I love working with my race team and just trying to enjoy it because like I said you never know when it could come to an end.”
Does confidence from your May Charlotte Motor Speedway win give you a leg up on the competition this weekend?
“I don’t know that you ever have a leg up on this competition in the Sprint Cup Series, but for sure it gives us confidence. I think we feel like we can use a lot of what we learned here last time around to be competitive, but at the same time that was a long time ago. There was a lot of races between then and now and everybody has worked on their stuff to get better – we certainly have – so for us the focus is how do we take what we learned there, apply the things we’ve learned since and try to be better overall.”
Are you practicing for qualifying or the race given the weather forecast?
“I’m not sure. We’re definitely going to do a little bit of race trim today, which is uncharacteristic for our group and I really don’t know. I feel like we’re – based on weather forecasts, I feel like we’re going to race Saturday night, but you never know with the weather, so I mean it’s really hard to say. I think that one thing we feel good about is last time here we practiced really well in the daytime and we were able to still race obviously really well at night, so our car seemed like it was, you know, worked well in all weather conditions, which was good. That’s something that should certainly benefit us, especially if we do have to race on Sunday.”
How does it feel to be attracting the attention of new sponsors?
“Well, I think again I’ll go back to earlier that for us I mean this has been a huge year bringing on new partners, making our race team stronger each and every week and we’re just excited that we’re in this position. Barney (Visser, team owner) and Joe (Garone, general manager) have worked 11 years in this sport with Furniture Row only on the car and to be bringing in new partners is such a big deal for us and for Barney. To bring on a Charlotte-based company that has such a great history and a great track record and is really number one in their field is something that we’re really proud of. I can’t speak for him, but this is – I can’t tell you how big of a deal this is for us. All of the partners we’ve brought on this year have been such a big part of our program and making us stronger and helping us get to where we are today. If we continue to do this, we can continue to be around for a long time, be competitive and do the things we want to do and hopefully we’re bringing a lot of value back to our partners and so far it seems like everybody has really enjoyed the partnership.”
What is your favorite memory from your Charlotte win?
“Just to win at Charlotte is huge. I mean, a crown jewel event – Coke 600 – those are the type of races you want to win as a driver your entire career, so I mean it’s just been a fairytale season to win here, to win the Southern 500, to win at Dover, which I consider my home track last week. So many things stick out about that weekend, but it was just a great week and those are wins you never forget. That trophy’s still sitting in my house and it’s something every time you walk by you it you understand what it took to get here and what it took to win that race and how many times I’ve tried before I finally got it, so definitely it’s a special one.”