|Martin Truex Jr.|
THE MODERATOR: Good afternoon, everyone. Welcome to today's teleconference. We are joined by Martin Truex Jr. Truex has one win and 19 topâ€'10 finishes in 2015. He currently sits eighth in points and is on the bubble heading into Sunday's Elimination race at Talladega Superspeedway, the final event in the Contender Round of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.
Martin, you're still searching for your first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victory at Talladega, however you have had success at the Superspeedway in the NASCAR XFINITY Series with three wins. Does that give you any extra confidence heading into Sunday's race?
MARTIN TRUEX JR.: Well, it doesn't hurt, for sure. Talladega has not been a place that's been very good to me over the past few years. It's just one of them races where you go in there and you hope for the best. There's no guarantees obviously. It's definitely the wild card of all the Chase races. I don't know, looking forward to the weekend, just seeing what happens. Hopefully it's good and we can move on to the next round where we've got some strong tracks.
THE MODERATOR: We'll now go to the media for questions.
Q: Martin, it's funny, when the racing doesn't have dramatic storylines, people are like, Why isn't there? When there is, some people are talking about rules of etiquette, bumpâ€'drafting. When it's racing, how many rules are there for drivers as we progress on to Talladega? Obviously that's a different racetrack because the speeds are high. The etiquette rules sort of thing.
MARTIN TRUEX JR.: Yeah, I think everybody has their own view on it. I think for the most part guys race each other the way that they get raced by their fellow competitors.
I think for the most part guys are really fair on the racetrack. Obviously everybody's out there trying to do the best they can do for their team, they're kind of selfish. That's part of it.
There's some unwritten rules that guys go by it seems like. Honestly, we've got a really good group of drivers. When it comes down to the Chase, when it comes down to having a chance to win the championship, it seems like guys are willing to cross the line and do things that they probably normally wouldn't do. That's all just because there's so much on the line, everybody's trying to get all they can.
I think that what I've seen on the track this season so far in the Chase has been really, really hard racing, but fair racing. I'm not sure what happened Sunday. I didn't really see it, to be honest. As far as I could tell, everybody was racing hard, racing fair. I think the competition on the racetrack has been incredible.
Q: How do you look at blocking in your own code?
MARTIN TRUEX JR.: You get one or two blocks, then you're going for a spin (laughter). Again, not referencing Sunday at all. But guys get frustrated when they get blocked, especially when it's coming down to the end. If there's points on the line or a chance to win, you're not going to stand being blocked.
Q: Martin, you clinch a spot in the next round if you finish second. There's some other guys like Carl can clinch if he finishes seventh, Kurt eighth, Denny 14th. How much of a difference do you think it is for you than if you were in those guys' position? Can you race Talladega any differently knowing you can be second with one lap to go?
MARTIN TRUEX JR.: I don't really honestly think there's any difference in saying you have to finish second or 14th. If you just look at it, I think we're plus six. The next few guys are plus seven. We could easily be a few spots ahead here and really be in no different position going into Talladega.
Like you said, you can be leading the race, taking the white flag, get knocked out on the last lap.
It's going to be tense, for sure. It's going to be a crazy deal at the end. We're going to race hard and not worry about where we're at throughout the day because we know how it can be there.
Honestly just hope we can stay out of trouble and go race for it at the end. I think that's all we can really hope for. Just looking forward to that and wait and see what happens, I guess.
Q: Does that make it any easier than Dover? People scoreboard watching. Here you can scoreboard watch, but there's so many more variables that can happen in the last few laps.
MARTIN TRUEX JR.: To be honest with you, I never asked about it at Dover. I wasn't worried about it. I felt like we were kind of controlling our own destiny. Here it's a bit different. You're not really in control of everything. I honestly don't think you'll want to know where anyone's at unless maybe a couple of them crash out or something. That's maybe the only time you'll even bother worrying where the guys are.
It's all going to come down to putting yourself in the position on the last lap to get the finish you need. Maybe on that last lap you might want to know where the other guys are. If you got to pass one coming to the checkered, it's going to matter. Aside from that, I don't know that worrying about it's going to do you any good.
Q: NASCAR has talked about the possibility of reducing number of greenâ€'whiteâ€'checkereds to one this weekend at Talladega. As a Chase competitor whose hopes of advancing might rest on a greenâ€'whiteâ€'checkered, how might you feel if the number of greenâ€'whiteâ€'checkereds were reduced from three to one this weekend?
MARTIN TRUEX JR.: I think it's a good idea just based on past history of what would you have seen on greenâ€'whiteâ€'checkereds as far as really just destroying racecars.
I think the chances when you go to Talladega of bringing a car home are slim. If you have greenâ€'whiteâ€'checkereds there, the chance of not bringing a car home goes up pretty dramatically. I think for the owners or everybody involved, I would be okay limiting it to one. Hopefully it doesn't even come down to one, but you never know. I think it's a good idea to think about it.
Q: You talked about the last lap, a little bit about that. Obviously in May you were sixth with two to go, got as high as third, fell back to fifth. What was the last lap, lap and a half like? Is that something, because so much happens at once, that you can look back when you watch the tape and say, Oh, I made the right move here, I didn't make the right move here, this will help me for next time?
MARTIN TRUEX JR.: Yeah, I think if I remember right, I haven't watched it yet, but if I remember right, I made a move to try to gain position and it ended up costing me. Those are things you can always look at.
At the same time it's like when you make a move, you're not in complete control. It depends on the moves the other guys around you make as well whether you're going to make progress or lose position.
Those are chances you have to be willing to take sometimes. Obviously there's a few guys that seem to be always able to make the right decision. A lot of it depends on what the guys around you do. You have to kind of go with your intuition on that and think, What is this guy going to do, what is that guy going to do?
Honestly, it's different with different drivers. I think you kind of have a track record or past history of the guys we race with every week, try to kind of foresee how they're thinking and what move they're making. Really it's about all trying to position yourself the best you can to move forward. Obviously sometimes it doesn't work out.
Q: In this case does it also make it where you would need to know where everybody is potentially or what people's situations are in advancing to the Chase or not? If I'm in front of you and I need to maintain my position to make the Chase, I'm not going to drop out of line. Is that a case you'd have to look at me and say, That guy is not going to go, who else is going to go because I have to go?
MARTIN TRUEX JR.: Yeah, for sure. I mean, there's going to be a lot to think about, honestly. There's going to be a lot going on. My kind of outlook is let's not get ahead of ourselves here. Let's see what we have to do to get to the end first. There's no telling how many guys are going to even get to the end. I think we're going to play it by ear. We're going to have kind of a game plan of the team trying to let me know what we need to do at the end. Until we get to the end there's no sense even worrying about it. You're just going to give yourself gray hair.
Q: I assume you're happy with the Eagles.
MARTIN TRUEX JR.: Oh, yeah.
Q: I talked to Cole before Dover. I asked him if he's noticed any change in your approach or attitude. He said, No, not really. I'm wondering, drivers in the Chase say they try to do the same thing, business as usual. Do you try to set the tone for the team with the way you approach the job and so forth?
MARTIN TRUEX JR.: Honestly, I think that we've really just tried to focus on not letting outside distractions get to us and really honestly business as usual. Just do what got us here, do what we've done all year long.
Obviously we've tried to step up our program each and every week. A lot of that is parts and pieces and equipment, building better cars and things. I think the way we go about our business as a group has been really solid all year long. Obviously there's always room to grow and to build on things. We really haven't done anything different. Just feel like everything is going so smooth this year, we really understand each other.
I don't have to pump my team up. They're always working hard and pushing for the next level. I think they feel the same way about me. So it's been a great relationship, a good season for us to show what we're made of.
THE MODERATOR: Martin, thank you for joining us today. We wish you best of luck this weekend.
MARTIN TRUEX JR.: Thank you.