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Martin Truex Jr., Michael Waltrip Racing - Q&A

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.

Q:
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.

Michael Waltrip:
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.)

Q:
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?

Michael Waltrip:
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.




Related Pictures

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Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #56 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway on June 23, 2013 in Sonoma, California. (Photo by Todd Warshaw/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #56 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota, celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway on June 23, 2013 in Sonoma, California. (Photo by Jerry Markland/Getty Images)
Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #56 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota, races during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway on June 23, 2013 in Sonoma, California. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #56 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota, leads Kurt Busch, driver of the #78 Furniture Row Racing Chevrolet, during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway on June 23, 2013 in Sonoma, California. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe’s Chevrolet SS, holds his daughter, Lydia Sunday, November 22, 2015 before final race of the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Johnson and other Jeff Gordon teammates at Hendrick Motorsports wore tribute hats to honor the retiring Chevy driver prior to the start of the race. (Photo by Alan Marler/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet SS, races to a sixth place finish Sunday, November 22, 2015 in the final race of the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Gordon finishes third in the Chase for the Cup Championship. This was Gordon`s last race as a NASCAR Sprint Cup driver. He has made 796 consecutive Cup Series starts, earned 93 wins, and 81 poles - all behind the wheel of Chevrolets. (Photo by Andrew Coppley/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Defending Sprint Cup Champion Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS, races to a second place finish, Sunday, November 22, 2015 in the final race of the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Harvick finishes as the runner-up in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship. (Photo by Andrew Coppley/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Defending Sprint Cup Champion Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS, races to a second place finish, Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet SS finishes in sixth place, and Martin Truex, Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Visser Precision finishes in twelfth place Sunday, November 22, 2015 in the final race of the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. This Chevrolet drivers finished 2nd, 3rd and 4th (respectively) in the Chase of the Cup Championship. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Ryan Blaney and the Motorcraft/Quick Lane Racing Team battled back from a bad re-start after the first caution of the race to finish 17th in the season-ending Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. (Photo Credit: Campbell Marketing)
Series championship contenders Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 AXALTA Chevrolet, Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Denver Mattress Chevrolet, and Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Crispy Toyota, take part in pre-race ceremonies for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 22, 2015 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Former racing driver Mario Andretti, Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 AXALTA Chevrolet, and Formula One World Champion Lewis Hamilton pose during pre-race ceremonies for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 22, 2015 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, and Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Crispy Toyota, race during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 22, 2015 in Homestead, Florida (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 AXALTA Chevrolet, pits during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 22, 2015 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
A general view as cars pit during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 22, 2015 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Robert Laberge/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Crispy Toyota, Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 AXALTA Chevrolet, and Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Denver Mattress Chevrolet, race during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 22, 2015 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Crispy Toyota, crosses the finish line to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 22, 2015 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Jonathan Ferrey/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Crispy Toyota, celebrates winning the series championship and the race with a burnout after the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 22, 2015 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Crispy Toyota, celebrates winning the series championship and the race in Victory Lane after the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 22, 2015 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images)

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