Martin Truex Jr., Chase Elliott Championship Series Cup media center press conference transcript
THE MODERATOR: We are now joined by Martin Truex Jr. and Chase Elliott, two more of our Championship 4 riders.
- Denny was just talking about the obvious Larson pit stop and pit stall selection that allowed him to take the lead in the final stop and gain control. Did he feel like this was a pivotal moment in the entire race?
MARTIN TRUEX JR. : In our case it wasn’t a pit stop, we just had a slow stop.
CHASE ELLIOTT: Ditto for us.
- We’ve been talking so much all week that qualifying may not have been important, but he has that first pitstop because he qualifies first.
MARTIN TRUEX JR. : Didn’t make a difference.
- Could each of you kind of talk about your race, starting with Martin?
MARTIN TRUEX JR. : Yeah, I mean, for us, we just had a good day. We stayed where we needed to be, we had a very good car, especially on the long stints at the start of the race. The position on the track was difficult. It looked like whoever was in front could ride 30, 40 laps and then you kind of run from there until the end of the race.
It looked like we were pretty good.
I felt like we were all really equal, honestly. We were all very good, very fast. The one that came out in front seemed to be good in the short term and then in the long term it was kind of back and forth between everyone all day it seemed.
So we did everything we needed to do. We lucked out there with caution when we pulled up and took the lead, and headed for sunset. I don’t know what the warning was for, but just a warning for us and I lost two places on the pit lane and it was racing. 20 to go, you’re not going to overtake one of the fastest cars. We just haven’t had the short running speed all day, and so certainly with 20 to go it’s going to be tough to pass someone in front in the clean air.
I think if we had had the head, we could have held it back. But looking back, it’s 20/20, and we didn’t have the lead, so here we are. Really proud of our team and our season. Come back here as an underdog and give it a try, so it was fun.
- This break with the refueling under the green just before the yellow and the lead, did you feel like maybe this would be my day or did you not really feel confident?
MARTIN TRUEX JR. : It was too early. You know that at some point you are probably going to get a warning. The lap car, the rear marker will probably crash into the wall for no reason or something stupid as it always happens. So I’m not sure what happened, but it’s probably what happened.
- Chase, your race, you had contact with Kyle at one point. Maybe that helped his car a bit in terms of downforce.
CHASE ELLIOTT: Yeah maybe. I kind of thought I had run a bit and I didn’t think there was enough room, and I thought he was going to come up against the wall, so I was like, well, I I’m going to try to get to the bottom very quickly, and then he ended up not moving, and then I came back down. It was just a really weird set of circumstances, which ended up hitting him in the right back and it just blew it up. It was good.
MARTIN TRUEX JR. : It looked really good.
CHASE ELLIOTT: Yeah, that was cool. If you want to do that –
MARTIN TRUEX JR. : Why don’t you hit me like that.
CHASE ELLIOTT: If you want to do this to me next year, we’ll work on it.
MARTIN TRUEX JR. : This stuff was sexy.
CHASE ELLIOTT: It made. It looked good. Glad I was able to help.
But yes, honestly, really proud of our efforts. I thought we had a really good car. Honestly, I thought the four guys, from Martin’s point of view, were good. I felt like we all had our really moments throughout the day. You get a warning with 20 laps to go, it’s going to be very difficult to go down and pass the guy who jumps in front on the restart. But yes, proud of our team. I felt like we had a good game plan for the week. I felt like our car was doing a lot of the things we wanted it to do. No major mistakes, you just had to be a little better in those first sequences of restarts and pit stops at the end.
- Denny said yesterday he felt like the top 4 practically ran into the top 4 all day, and he said it was going to come down to one little thing, the last pit stop or where the warning falls. Did you expect this? Is this just the way these championship races seem to go or all the races seem to go?
CHASE ELLIOTT: Yeah, I mean, with the way this deal is, for sure. One race – I mean, yeah, it’s going to be tough – most of the time your four consistent guys throughout the season will probably be here. You could have a guy who might not be or win a race or something and come in, but for the most part those will be good cars. So when you get to the last race they’re all going to be doing well. It’s like that. Everyone wants to win.
Yes, I don’t expect that to change. I mean, at least not until they leave it like that.
- Chase, your first few years in the Cup Series trying to get those wins, getting so close to that and then you get out of it, to look back and see that journey and how frustrating it can be, but this that you learned, is that preparing you for a Championship 4 weekend where maybe you will win, maybe not?
CHASE ELLIOTT: Yeah. I mean, yeah. Some of those really tough days, I think, prepared us to be able to come here and have a chance to win last year. These difficult losses teach you good lessons. I felt like our team came into the last two years here with a really good frame of mind and were mentally strong enough to compete for the win. This is really all you can ask for.
I felt like I had a good group.