May 6, 2019
THE MODERATOR: We've now been joined by Cole Pearn, the race‑winning crew chief with driver Martin Truex Jr. of the No.19 Sirius XM Toyota.
Cole, give us a quick recap there. A dominating performance at the end by your team. You get the Gold Monster. More importantly, just another win on the season. Talk about how the race played out for you guys today.
COLE PEARN: Yeah, it was a great day for us. Obviously starting at the back was a challenge. We had a really good car Saturday in practice, made the right adjustments on it for today. It was awesome, yeah.
Fortunate enough the pit crew did a great job, Martin did a great job getting through traffic. I really didn't expect to get there to win a stage, which was awesome. That was exciting. We were able to manage the race from that point on and get the W.
THE MODERATOR: We'll open it up for questions.
Q. Martin mentioned in one of his Victory Lane interviews about you guys deciding to try a new setup at Dover this time. Even though you had something you had been using for a while, what prompts a decision like that? Was it because of a new aero package or trying to find a different way to win?
COLE PEARN: I think we'd kind of been stuck working around the same things for the last four or five years. We were fortunate enough to get a win a few years ago. After that, we've always been third, fourth. Always been good, but just fought kind of the same terminal issues.
We kind of had this one circled on the calendar to take a different approach, get off of what we've been doing. It worked awesome. It was a really good feeling. Just proud of everybody, James, the engineer, J.T., myself, everybody in the shop just did a great job with it.
THE MODERATOR: We are now joined by Coach Gibbs, as well. Coach, your thoughts?
JOE GIBBS: We're thrilled, to be truthful. Cole and Martin coming over, got off to such a slow start, everybody there was working so hard. It's great to see now with some momentum and everything... Obviously the car today was really good. Martin did a great job.
Toyota, it's a big deal for us. Sirius, a big deal. Obviously our sponsors, Johnny Morris, Normal Miller at Interstate. As everybody here knows, on Sunday we had a lot of our sponsors here. We did hospitalities. It's a big deal for us.
To be off to a fast start like this is a big deal for everybody back at our race shop. Thrilled for everybody back there. Wished they could be here to celebrate with us. Everybody in our family working hard. Everybody back at the race shop, big deal for us. So thanks.
THE MODERATOR: We'll continue with questions.
Q. Cole, there was some talk in the garage area about possibly having some tire issues because of the load on these tires with the new package. Did you during the race or weekend see any issues with any of the tire wear as far as excessive wear?
COLE PEARN: No, it was really good. Goodyear was really proactive in the approach. I don't think they had a tire change or tire test here planned in mind. I think when the rules package set in, they decided they needed to do something. Brought a really durable tire.
Yeah, it was no issue. It was typical Dover for how much load, which I really can't express the crazy difference in how much load there was this weekend. They knocked it out of the park as far as that goes.
Q. Coach, what does it mean to have three drivers with multiple wins only 11 races in?
JOE GIBBS: We're thrilled for this kind of a start. It's a big deal for us. As everybody knows, in pro sports these things can go and come very quick. The hardest thing to do is to stay up there. That will be our goal for the rest of the year.
We got off to a good start. New racing package. A lot of new things. Going to tracks, sometimes not really knowing going in what the package is going to be like. Our guys have done a great job adjusting to it.
We also know so many good teams. We know what the competition is like. We're going to enjoy each one of these. But the goal for us now is to try to stay up there. That's extremely hard to do in NASCAR.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you for coming in. We'll let you off early today. Safe travels home.
COLE PEARN: Thanks for who stuck around on a Monday (smiling).
THE MODERATOR: We've been joined by our race winner, Martin Truex Jr., who is no stranger to Victory Lane at Dover, now having three wins at the Monster Mile. But today is your first time to take home the Gold Monster. Congratulations on that win. Talk to us a little bit about the win and taking home the gold trophy.
MARTIN TRUEX JR.: Yeah, it's definitely a pretty special day. Definitely seeing the trophy in the driver meeting yesterday, That thing is pretty awesome.
I have some other Monster trophies from the Xfinity Series and a couple Cup wins here. But that gold one is special. Pretty awesome to win on the 50th anniversary of Dover International.
Just a big day for our team honestly. To have to start at the rear of the field at a track that's really difficult to pass at, be able to work our way up to the front all day long, then at the end just kind of dominate, it was pretty awesome.
Really happy for everybody on our team, for Sirius XM coming on for two races. Taking it to Victory Lane is cool. Just everybody is doing a great job. Hopefully we can keep this up.
THE MODERATOR: We'll open it up for questions.
Q. We heard your teammate Kyle Busch talking about how he thought maybe Joe Gibbs Racing was off a little bit as a whole this week. Did you have any concern going into the race or did you know you were going to be pretty good?
MARTIN TRUEX JR.: Honestly, I felt pretty good after practice, that we had a good car. If we could make the right adjustments for the race, we could be a contender.
Then once the race started, it was like, okay, we got something here. From there, How do we keep up with the racetrack, get towards the front? How do we get that track position?
We fought hard all day long. Guys in the pits did a good job. Just kept chipping away at it. Once we got up front, the car was just pretty bad ass, to be honest with you. A lot of fun out there today. Team did an awesome job.
Q. What is up with you and Dover on Mondays?
MARTIN TRUEX JR.: Two for two, I guess. Maybe I need to figure out how to get Sunday races canceled, I don't know (laughter).
Actually won an Xfinity race here on a Monday, too. I don't know. I'm going to lobby for all Dover races to be on Mondays.
Q. Seems like the last couple weeks you have really hit your stride as a team, transferring over to JGR. Do you feel like you're at your peak right now, hitting your stride in the season?
MARTIN TRUEX JR.: I think we're getting there. I don't think you ever want to really peak. You always want to be finding things to be better.
For us, I think it's just been little details we're doing better. Pit road has been a big deal. We had some trouble earlier in the year. We were still able to get some second‑place finishes.
Speed‑wise, we've been there all year long, we just haven't been able to show it because of some little things here and there. We ran second at Atlanta. I felt like we had the best car there. Second in Phoenix. We probably were not the best car there. We were pretty good.
We've had some really strong racecars at a lot of racetracks for. A lot of reasons we haven't been able to show it, been having issues that set us back. It's been tough.
The last couple weeks I just feel it's execution. We're doing all the little things right. The pit crew is doing an amazing job getting us track position, keeping it when we have it. Our cars are fast.
Yeah, hopefully we can just continue to do this. It's a lot of fun to come out here and win races. This was a really fun weekend, a challenging weekend for sure. Those are the kind you like to come out on top of.
Q. Kyle Busch after the race had some comments about the rules package, how the racing was this weekend. You came from the back to the front. There were some drivers complaining it was hard to pass. What is your assessment about how the rules package stood up this weekend?
MARTIN TRUEX JR.: It was definitely really hard to pass. There's no question about that. I got stuck behind lap cars multiple times. If you're running the bottom, they're running a lane up, you're good. If they decide to just cut to the bottom in front of you, shut your air off, you're about driving the fence off in the corner. It's tough.
But at the end of the day we all had to deal with the same thing. Obviously we dealt with it better than everybody else. Coming into the weekend that was our goal. We know it's going to be tough. Starting at the back is going to suck. But that's what we got to deal with. How do we deal with it the best we can?
That was how we set up for the race. That's how we approached it coming into today. How do we make our car try to be good in traffic? We worked on that in practice, some more after practice, before the race.
I'm not going to lie to you, it was hard as hell. The 1 car came out in front of me on new tires, two lap fresher tires than I have after the last green flag stop. I had to follow him for 25 laps. I was just stuck. I was faster than him, but I wasn't fast enough to pass him. It's difficult, for sure.
But with that said, at the end of the day it's all about the fans and what do they think. Was the race good? I don't know. I thought it looked pretty good. What do the fans think, NASCAR, the owners. They're the three people that make all the decisions. We just drive 'em. We'll see where it goes from here.
Like I said, I'm proud we did a better job than everybody else.
Q. I know Dover is considered one of your home tracks. Is it extra special to win on tracks you feel the personal connection with?
MARTIN TRUEX JR.: It is, yeah. I think it definitely is. This track is a big part of the reason I got to where I'm at. Without tracks like this and Loudon, Watkins Glen, I would never have been noticed. I would have never had the opportunity to put myself in position in the spotlight with some of the higher‑up drivers back in the day. Yeah, for sure. I mean, it's definitely special.
I've been coming here a long time. Ran the Busch North Series here, the Busch Series. The Busch North Series especially is really the reason that I got where I'm at. Racing on tracks like this in those cars is what prepared me to move up to the next level. That's what makes it special for me. It's just remembering where I came from. It's a reminder of that, honestly. For that reason, it makes it really special to win at tracks like this.
THE MODERATOR: You mentioned how tough today was as far as from starting at the rear. You're with a new team this year. Talk a little bit about the mental toughness your team showed. The 78 team had a lot of mental toughness. How important is that as we hit the summer stretch?
MARTIN TRUEX JR.: I think it's really important. I think it's a credit to our leadership. It starts at the top. It's all about people. Coach is a great leader. Cole is a great leader. I try to kind of play off of them.
I think Cole and I both do a good job of setting the tone for our team. We have an awesome group of guys that are fired up and excited to be where they're at, working together, working on this racecar. They know what we're all capable of together. That's what it takes. Hopefully we can continue to deliver.
THE MODERATOR: Congratulations on this win. We appreciate you spending some time with us.
MARTIN TRUEX JR.: Thanks, guys.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports