NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES
AAA TEXAS 500
TEXAS MOTOR SPEEDWAY
TEAM CHEVY DRIVER PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT
NOVEMBER 1, 2013
JOE GARONE, GENERAL MANAGER OF FURNITURE ROW RACING AND MARTIN TRUEX, JR., NO. 78 FURNITURE ROW/DENVER MATTRESS CHEVROLET SS, met with members of the media at Texas Motor Speedway and announced that Martin Truex, Jr. will be the driver of the No. 78 Chevrolet SS in 2014 and beyond. Full Transcript:
JOE GARONE – “Let’s not waste any time this has been a long time coming. It’s been intense I’m really happy to be able to do this right now. We are announcing Martin Truex, Jr. coming on board driving the No. 78 Furniture Row Chevrolet in 2014 and beyond. Martin, welcome aboard.”
MARTIN TRUEX, JR. – “Thank you. Appreciate it. We are definitely excited to be here today. I know this has been a big secret and everybody is really shocked (laughs). No, in all seriousness this is a big deal for me. I’m very excited about the opportunity to drive the Furniture Row No. 78 for Joe (Garone) and Barney (Visser, Team Owner). I’ve really been impressed with their organization obviously I think everybody here has been impressed with what they have accomplished this year being a single car team based out of Denver (Colorado). I think that anybody in this garage area will tell you it’s been really amazing to watch them progress. Everybody has been impressed with their competition program, the way their cars have ran this year, the speed that they have had. I’m looking forward obviously to being a part of that equation. I think the biggest thing for me is a driver is a few weeks ago when dominos started to fall I wasn’t sure where I would end up. To have an opportunity like this, this late in the season I just feel really blessed. I feel really lucky and definitely excited and looking forward to the future with this team.”
WHAT WAS THE DECIDING FACTOR? AT WHAT POINT DID YOU KIND OF REALIZE THAT YOU NEEDED TO DO SOMETHING ELSE?
TRUEX – “Well, that is a tough question to answer. There are a lot of different things I had to think about. Just the opportunity to do something to try to be better, I think was the deciding factor. The opportunity to go to a winning race car, start fresh and hopefully do the thing I want to do. I just got excited about the opportunity. This is only the second time I’ve changed teams. It’s very difficult. I’ve had a great four years at Michael Waltrip Racing. I really enjoyed my time there. I wouldn’t change anything that ever happened there. I mean it was great. Just after all the stuff went down I just felt like it was time for change. I think this will be a good one.”
STORIES HAVE BEEN FLYING ABOUT THAT THE HOLD UP ON THIS DEAL WAS THAT MARTIN YOU MIGHT WAN THE FLEXIBILITY OF A ONE YEAR DEAL AND FURNITURE ROW MIGHT WANT THE SECURITY OF A MULTI-YEAR DEAL CAN EITHER OF YOU ADDRESS THAT?
TRUEX – “Yeah, I can tell you it’s not true. Did you read that on the internet? (Laughs) It’s a multi-year deal. That was not the hold up. It was just typical stuff. Got to get through it all and make sure everybody is going to be happy. You don’t want to go down the road and say ‘well I wish this was this way or I wish that was that way’. We wanted to make sure both parties involved are excited looking forward to it. Put all the other stuff aside and go race cars. It just takes a few weeks to get that done. We were able to get that done. We are looking forward to the next couple of years together for sure.”
WHAT CAN MARTIN DO FOR YOUR TEAM? MARTIN WHAT DID YOU SEE IN THIS TEAM?
GARONE – “Martin can win races, certainly so. He is a Chase level driver. He is going to fit into the program. It’s not just Martin, it is Martin and the family, the Truex family. It’s a fit it really is. We are excited about all the opportunities that come along with Martin being on board. From how he represents our sponsors to what he can get done behind the wheel. We are going to have some work ahead of us. We are going to work really hard. Todd (Berrier) and the guys they are excited about moving forward and getting him the cars he needs to be able to win. That is what we are looking forward to.”
TRUEX – “For me obviously the race cars they have had this year, the speed they have had, the things they have been able to do are the things that you look at first and foremost. Outside of that I have been really impressed with Barney (Visser, Team Owner) talking with him, the things he has been able to do. The commitment to the program that he has made over the years and continues to make for the future and I think those are the two big things. I can tell you from being at MWR (Michael Waltrip Racing) the turn around that was made there a couple of years ago it all starts at the top. Barney Visser is the kind of guy that can make things happen. Obviously, he has already made things happen. I’ve been impressed in talking to him the way he handles himself, the businesses he has and obviously the race team at the end of the day is the big thing for me. He’s been able to build a great one. Hopefully we can continue to make that better and make that stronger. It’s going to be a different challenge for me and I’m excited and looking forward to doing the best job I can with it.”
CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THE UNUSUAL SITUATION THIS HAS BEEN FOR YOU?
TRUEX – “It was unfortunate the way everything happened obviously. We never saw it coming. It is one of those things that was definitely unprecedented in the sport we’ve never seen before. I hate that I had to be a part of it. But again I think that shipped has sailed, things happen. I’m just very fortunate to have the opportunity to drive for a team of this caliber this late in the season to be able to have that opportunity. It’s something that I didn’t think would exist. Really I mean as unlucky as I got at Richmond a month or two ago I got just as lucky when this deal turned up. What can you say? I guess all things happen for a reason, hopefully all this happened for a reason and we will be able to do some great things together.”
SURELY THIS HAD TO ALMOST SEEM SURREAL GOING FROM VICTORY LANE AT SONOMA TO RICHMOND TO NOW. HOW HAS THAT BEEN FOR YOU PERSONALLY? HOW HAVE YOU GOTTEN THROUGH THAT?
TRUEX – “It’s been tough. It’s been a roller coaster of emotions to say the least. I think that at the end of the day the things that helped me get through it were just the people I surround myself with. My family, my girlfriend, even folks at Napa that I talked to that really helped me through the situation. It was definitely difficult. It’s something that I never thought that could ever happen. I guess it was the unimaginable. But really I tried to stay positive through it all. I knew it would work out, I had hoped that it would work out and it has. I think I dealt with it pretty good as far as not getting down trying to focus on racing four days a week then what I am going to do next year the other couple of days of the week. I think it was tough, but I’ve got my health. I’ve got great people around me that keep me grounded and keep me focused; at the end of the day that I didn’t lose too much sleep over it. It all worked out good. You think about people like Marcy Scott losing her this morning. You know life is not fair. As big of a deal as this is to a lot of us sometimes it’s not the end of the world. That is kind of the way I tried to look at it.
That helped me get through.”
YOU JUST MENTIONED YOU SPOKE TO NAPA. HAVE THEY LEFT THE DOOR OPEN TO ANY FUTURE DISCUSSIONS OF POSSIBLY COMING BACK WITH YOU IN YEARS TO COME?
TRUEX – “I think that really at this point anything is possible. We have got a lot of great partners that we have worked with over the years. That I’ve worked with personally that have shown interest in the program that we are going to put together. Yeah, I can’t really say much right now about it, I’m not sure, but they have been great supporters of mine the last four years. Hopefully we will be able to do something together. We have got a lot of great partners that are interested in the program and hopefully moving forward we will be able to put some things together with them.”
GOING FROM MICHAEL WALTRIP RACING THAT WAS TWO OR THREE CAR TEAM TO A SINGLE CAR TEAM WHAT ARE THE ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES?
TRUEX – “Well, I’m not real sure to be honest. I think I will find that out as I get into it. I think advantages are the alliance they have with RCR (Richard Childress Racing) right now obviously makes them strong. One of my best friends Ryan Newman is over there. We will kind of be teammates next year which is really cool. I’m looking forward to working with him and hopefully helping each other. I think the advantages of the single car operation from what I gather talking to Barney (Visser) and Joe (Garone) the way they kind of do things. When they want to build a part and put it on the race car they do it. There is no five, six weeks of it going through a system to get it on the race car. I think that from a technology stand point I think it’s a great thing. There are a lot less channels for things to go through. I think the guys in the shop Todd Berrier has a lot more kind of leeway to go build some race cars and do things it takes to get ahead of the competition. Certainly look forward to seeing how that all works, plays out, but from what I understand that is kind of the way it’s been. They have been in the forefront of technology this year as a race team. You look at the things they have done, you look at the race cars throughout the weekends for a lot of the season everybody was chasing them. I think being a single car team, being able to do things like that is something that is going to be exciting and be fun to be a part of. Looking forward to seeing how all that works. We will just have to see how it goes.”
DID YOU HAVE ANY OTHER OFFERS?
TRUEX – “There were other offers. I talked to other teams a bit.”
WAS THERE ANYTHING CONCRETE WITH SPONSORS?
TRUEX – “No, There was a lot of hypotheticals.”
TAKE US BACK TO THE MOMENT WHEN YOU LEARNED NAPA WAS GONE AND YOU WERE GOING TO LOSE YOUR RIDE:
TRUEX – “I can’t say what I said then. (LAUGHS) I was terrified. My first thought was ‘What am I going to do next year?’ Here it is September. Everybody’s got their deals done for next year. I pretty much said ‘Oh Crap’. It was like getting punched in the face. You didn’t see it coming. It came out of nowhere. Obviously, I kind of saw it coming after what all went down. Right away, it was ‘Ut oh, this is bad. This could be real bad’. Again, I think, that ship has sailed. I don’t even really like talking about it anymore. I just really want to focus on looking forward, and the opportunity to work with the No. 78 team. I just feel really blessed to have that come along. Again. nine out of 10 years in NASCAR Sprint Cup Racing, if somebody would have lost their ride at the time of year I did, the changes of getting a ride of this caliber are slim to none at best. I feel lucky that I was able to put this thing together. All you can do is look forward. You can’t turn back time. You can’t go back and fix things you might have done different. You just have to look forward and try to push forward, and that is what we are doing.”
IS THE RCR ALLIANCE A MULTI-YEAR THING OR AN INDIVIDUAL YEAR-BY-YEAR? THE TEAM ITSELF, YOU MADE SOME CHANGES AROUND DOVER, CREW MEMBERS, ETC. WHAT KINDS OF THINGS ARE YOU DOING TO STRENGTHEN THE TEAM FOR NEXT YEAR?
GARONE – “It is a continual process. Our RCR deal is that we do them year-to-year, and that has been a strong program. Richard (Childress) made a commitment to make sure that that program ran as a complete open-book type of relationship, and they have stood by that. It is certainly something that we utilize. But, as Martin said earlier, one of the big advantages that we have as a single-car team with that type of alliance, is our ability to move quick. We are real agile, and focus out in Colorado is 100% is about what we are doing in that shop with a staff of about 60 people, and that makes it really strong. The RCR deal is real important. As far as personnel goes, we’ve had some struggles, it’s not a secret, on pit road. We have been working hard to overcome that. Our pit crew didn’t grow as fast as the performance of the car did last year. We’ve been able to secure Martin’s pit crew; actually bring them on-board in full-time positions for 2014. I think that is going to really help that part of our program.”
HOW LONG DID IT TAKE FURNITURE ROW TO SAY THAT MARTIN WAS THE ANSWER FOR THE TEAM? MARTIN, DID YOU COME TO THEM, OR DID THEY COME TO YOU FIRST?
GARONE – “You know, sometimes you have to have faith, and have patience. We were looking at every driver that was available, and some that you would bring up out of the other series that are ready to come up, or maybe even not quite ready yet. We were looking at all of those, and we were really trying to take our time. It is a balance. We are also trying to compete – make the Chase; complete in the Chase. We don’t want to upset that. It was really a struggle to keep ourselves patient and just pray for the right opportunity to come along. And then, the right opportunity comes along. Probably an opportunity that you just couldn’t even dream about having. That’s kind of how it went. It was tough to be patient.”
TRUEX – “I’m not even sure who. Obviously once it happened, that was my first happened. How do we get a hold of these guys and see if we can do this. I think along those lines, they thought the same thing as far as I remember back. But honestly, it all happened really fast. I think that once we both knew we could work together and put a deal together, it was like okay, let’s talk about this and see what it would look like and if we feel like we could be successful together. I think that was the first thing we talked about. It happened fast, but again, it is one of those deal, as Joe said, you never really saw it coming, it just all of a sudden happened. Obviously we are both thankful that it did, and looking forward to taking the next steps, and hopefully being successful together.”
WHEN DID YOU ACTUALLY SIGN THE CONTRACT?
TRUEX – “Last night.”
I KNOW YOU SPENT A COUPLE OF SESSIONS WITH COLE PEARN AND TODD BERRIER.
TRUEX – “Boy you know a lot. I mean, I get my news from Twitter anymore. I’m just going to tell you. I follow a lot of you guys in here (media center) and if ever want to know something, I just go on Twitter, and it is there. So, that’s how I get my NASCAR news.”
CAN YOU TALK ABOUT YOUR INITIAL RESPONSE? HAVE YOU BEEN TO DENVER?
TRUEX – “To answer your question, I have not been to Denver yet. We just haven’t been able to get the logistics down. It’s been kind of a crazy time of year, so I have not made it there yet. But, I think the biggest thing in talking to Cole and Todd, and to Barney and Joe, and just everybody is that their focus is on race cars. Barney says if it makes the car go faster, we get it. Those types of thing as a race car driver that you look for. As much as it sounds crazy, but fan experiences, and shop tours
and all those kinds of things don’t make cars faster. These guys are 100% focused on making race cars faster. Whether it is Todd and Cole at the race track, or at the shop building stuff. Or Barney’s commitment to the team, it is all about racing cars. As a driver, it is refreshing. In this day and age, it is something you don’t see a lot of. A lot of this sport is about the fans, the experience and putting on a show. These guys are in Denver, and they build race cars…fast race cars, and I can’t wait to drive them. Just talking to Todd and trying to get a game plan together on how we are going to approach this; how we are going to get prepared; get to know one another – those are the kinds of things we need to make happen quickly so we have a good game plan going into the off season, and getting ready for testing and things like that.”