Winner’s Weekend: Martin Truex Jr. – Auto Club

Video Details

Martin Truex Jr. and crew chief Cole Pearn recap the strategy that brought them to victory lane in Auto Club 400.

- Beautiful day here at Auto Club Speedway.

- The final race of the West Coast swing.

- This is the track I'm really looking at to see who's really strong. Let's see who the real players are. Can this 78 car and Martin Truex really get going like he did last year?

- Best part of the race for me. I love it when that green flag goes in the air. And boogity boogity boogity! Let's go racing boys!

MARTIN TRUEX JR: California is just-- it's an awesome track. The old surface is great. The ability to search around and run between the seams and all the things you can do here is awesome. And we've seen guys running all over the track today.

- I think it's interesting, they're running the bottom in three and four. But I think when you got fresh tires on, you're going to see these guys run the high line in one and two. But when you get down to three and four, they'll be right down on that apron.

MARTIN TRUEX JR: Pretty much made all my money this afternoon on the bottom of three and four, which is something a lot of guys weren't able to do. And that was a huge advantage. Especially in traffic, and being able to pass cars was-- to be able run on that apron in three and four longer than anyone else, and still make good lap time was a big advantage for me.

- Martin Truex Jr out in front now by 1 and 1/2 seconds, and beginning to pull away a little bit from Kyle Busch.

COLE PEARN: First run, we were definitely too free. And you know, we kind of shied it that way a bit, just because we've been struggling and being tight on, you know, on these bigger race tracks. And you know, we were able to get tighten up the first stop. And you know, really after that, we didn't have to adjust on it.

MARTIN TRUEX JR: You know, the first pit stop, we made an adjustment. And then the thing took off like a rocket after that. And I don't know that we touched it the rest of the day. So, just pretty amazing, you know, what they were able to change on it and get dialed in. And I knew we were good, but I knew if we could just make it a little bit better, we'd be really strong. And you know, obviously, that was the case today.

- Martin Truex Jr is about to do something he did 19 times last year, win a stage. He led the league in stage wins en route to the championship.

- Oh, buddy, for the first time this year, stage winner.

- MTJ right here [INAUDIBLE].

MARTIN TRUEX JR: Yeah, I knew it was killing my spotter Clayton to go a couple races without being able to say MTJ, stage winner. He gets pretty excited about that. So it was good to hear him say that again. And hopefully, we can do some more of that coming up soon.

- Martin Truex's spotter loves to call it. Hear they approach the GEICO Restart Zone. Truex on the inside.

- All right, Kyle Busch. Show us what you got.

MARTIN TRUEX JR: I wouldn't say I was worried. I would just say that, I mean, obviously, I was cognizant of what he was doing, where he was at, where he was running.

- I think this a crucial moment the race for Kyle Busch. He knows that his car's not quite as good as the 78. |

- Well this could be the race right here.

- It might be a race off a pit road.

- I was pretty sure he was going to beat us off pit road there. I mean, honestly.

- You know, those guys have been really rolling. Our guys were probably had the best day that we've had. But you know, they just seemed to be a little bit step better.

- Well the 18 and the 78 are pitted in the boxes adjacent to one another. We'll see who gets out first this time.

- [INAUDIBLE], Mark Truex Jr.

- Those were identical pit stops. But that 18, man, did he shoot out of that box.

- I was having a terrible time getting out of my pit box. It was like ice. I mean, I literally just sit there and spin the tires and didn't go anywhere.

COLE PEARN: I think that's kind of a little bit problem with stall one. You know, you don't get quite as good a launch out because you're going a shorter distance. Sometimes, it can be a little bit of a disadvantage in a way.

MARTIN TRUEX JR: I knew it was really fast, not only on the short run, but especially on the long run. And if we come out close together, it was going to be a race. And it was going to be a fun battle either way.

- Their pit stops were pretty much identical. They're pretty close to each other lap time on the racetrack. This is going to be a dogfight.

- We felt really good about our car in the long run. You know, those guys, obviously, when tires are gripped up, it's a little harder to get around people.

- We saw Kyle Bush almost lose the back end. And ever since then, Martin Truex Jr's been pouncing.

- As the run kind of wore on the curb fell away a little bit, it's really I felt like we were able to come to life.

- Gains a little momentum right here.

- Whoa! Boy, it doesn't take much. Just that bobble. Just that little wee bit.

- It was a fun battle. It didn't last very long. I think his car went away there that last run. I don't know if they made a bad adjustment.

- Well, in the 18 of Kyle Busch, they had a quick pit stop getting out ahead of the 78. But when they made a chassis adjustment during that stop, they went the wrong direction.

- He was definitely off the pace that last run. And we were able to just sail away.

- The headlines will read, Jersey boy goes California dreaming. Martin Truex Jr wins the Auto Club 400.

COLE PEARN: Yeah, when you look at it on paper, for sure, it was a perfect weekend. It's never easy. I know that. And a lot of things have to go right.

- We didn't win every practice. There was room for improvement. But, yeah. I mean, it's crazy to think.

- There's Barney Visser. He's the car owner. Barney's here this week. Good to see him. Feeling good.

MARTIN TRUEX JR: He missed a few of our races last year that we won. And he missed being at Homestead for the championship. So it's great to have him here and I know he's proud.