MARTIN TRUEX JR., No. 19 Siemens Toyota Camry TRD, Joe Gibbs Racing
Did your success this season help you to make the decision to return next year?
“I don’t think it was quite that simple, but that certainly helps. Just honestly like last year just take the time to make sure I was committed to doing all the things it takes to run up front, be competitive and try to win championships. I answered those questions and decided to do it again.”
How do you attack going into Daytona and trying to win there knowing how chaotic that race can be?
“For us, just hoping to come out of here this weekend with a really good position in points. Hopefully, there’s a chance we could clinch the regular season this weekend and that would be great. I think we’re in a pretty good spot, we just need to be smart and need to do just what we know how to do. Daytona is always a crap shoot, so you never know. But hopefully we can have a good weekend here and be pretty low pressure, low key next weekend.”
Do you have a similar feeling this year to your past championship season?
“Yeah, I feel like we’re there. You never know what can happen in the Playoffs. The elimination format, it could be crazy. You never know. I feel like every single weekend we’re right there. We’re in the mix, we have really good speed and a shot to win it seems like on a regular basis. That’s kind of where you want to be. I feel like in our years where we won our championship or finished second and were right there it was kind of the same feeling. Every week was okay, we’re right there and if we do everything right, we’re going to be in the hunt for the win. Yeah, that feels good and hopefully we can keep that up for the next 12 races.”
What does it say about you and your team if you clinch the regular season title a race before the regular season is over?
“I don’t know. We’ve been consistent and we’ve had a good year. I’d like to get it out of the way, but it doesn’t really matter this week or next. Yeah, I guess in 2017 we didn’t clinch it early so maybe we’re in better shape than we were then.”
How high on your priority list is clinching the regular season championship this weekend?
“It’s high. I mean, obviously those 15 points are huge. Playoff time starts and you want to have all of the bonus points that you can. Hopefully we can do that. That’s really the main goal. Obviously, we want to win the race. More points come with that. We’ve just got to do our jobs and be smart about it and I’ve just got to be smart about not taking a lot of big risks or anything like that. Just really do what we’ve done all year. That’s the name of the game right now. Do what we know how to do and don’t screw up.”
How much of a focus is on the owner championship standings?
“I really don’t know. I just look at the Playoff bonus points and all that. That’s the only thing that matters to me right now.”
What’s made you so good at Watkins Glen?
“I don’t know that I’m so good (here). I think there’s been periods of time we had things work for us and I was able to kind of use those and just finetune things. It’s been spotty here and there. I like the track. That’s always a positive when you go somewhere you enjoy racing at. It always seems to come a little bit easier. Last year was a bit of a struggle here so I’m optimistic that today will be better and tomorrow will be better. Just kind of looking forward to getting out there and seeing what we have. This car has been – I feel like it was quite a bit different than what I had done in year’s past with the previous generation car. We’ll see if the things we’ve worked on and all the planning we’ve done will work out in just a little bit.”