Martin, Jim's question was kind of like this, but at this level anybody who goes as long as you had without winning, whether fair or unfair, rumors start about whether his job is on the line, especially as you say with a sponsor as big as NAPA that's been with you all this time, been with Michael Waltrip all this time. I think Michael kind of answered that there was no problem there, but is it good to kind of end those rumors that start when a guy goes that long without a win about is his job safe, is he still going to be there or are they going to replace him?
Martin Truex Jr.:
I don't know, I never heard that. Did you?
No, I guess the "I told you so" is always a nice kind of feeling to have, but that wasn't - again, that's not why I do I what I do. I love racing cars. I love driving for Michael Waltrip Racing because of the reasons I talked about. I knew we were going to win. I knew it the day I went there, and I told people the day I went there, we're going to win again. I'm not done winning. And yes, it's taken a lot longer than I thought it would, but there's been days where we were good enough to win, it just didn't happen. And those days you can't say, well, he's never going to win; he's not good enough.
It's absurd. If you're good enough to run up front each and every week, if you're consistent enough to lead a lot of laps, if you can dominate races, even though you don't put it all together, it doesn't all come together and go your way, it doesn't mean you're not capable, and that's what we look at each and every week. Chad preaches it to me. Michael does the same.
But at the end of the day this sport is all about winning, and it feels damned good to get this thing out of the way and get to victory lane.
Martin, this might be redundant, you may have just answered it, but what variables helped you manage all those emotions and frustrations when you leave the racetrack and you finish second again and you wonder if it's ever going to happen again?
Martin Truex Jr.:
My support group, Sherry, my team, my family (tearing up), all the people that are special to me. It's difficult. There's been days when I was like, this sucks. This isn't any fun anymore. But again, the past couple years have just been great, and I just owe so many people thanks. Just proud to be able to do - proud to be able to work with this group of people and thankful for the opportunity.
We're all very lucky to do what we do, to do this and to get to do what we do, and to get the opportunity to win races at this level, I've already accomplished more than I ever thought I would. It's just a lot of fun to be able to run good and try to win races. And I think that for us, we're just really starting to come into our own. There's no limit to what we can do. We've got the talent, we've got the people, and we've got the people behind us that we need to keep pushing us forward.
Hopefully we can do this a whole bunch more times.
I got a text from Bobby Kennedy, and he said, I'll definitely be late.
Martin Truex Jr.:
I ain't coming in tomorrow, either. I got news for you. (Laughter.)
For Michael, on a serious note, Dale Earnhardt stuck with you for a long, long time while other people might have scoffed. How does that influence you to stay with Martin or anybody else?
I built my team with Dale in mind. He lives with me. He's part of who I am because I just appreciated who he was and how he went about things. People worked on his cars at Dale Earnhardt Incorporated before I got there. When Dale would walk by you could just tell people were thinking, these are Dale Earnhardt's cars. He don't have to have a team, he could be off hunting or fishing but he loves cars and he has a team.
I always wanted a team because of a few people. My brother, he had a team when he was racing for Junior Johnson that he had behind us in Charlotte that was just a little Nationwide team, and I was the same way, and Dale was a lot of - he was the inspiration for who we are today. We tried to build a cool shop like he built. I try to motivate and inspire people by showing them how much I love this sport and love this organization.