Martin Truex Jr. chronicles his dominant 2017 season as he begins his title defense

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Martin Truex Jr. looks back at his dominant championship season with Regan Smith as gets ready to defend his title starting with the Daytona 500.

[MUSIC PLAYING] (SINGING) Champion, Champion.

INTERVIEWER: From the start of the year, it was clear, right from Atlanta. Did you know, as soon as you started that year, that this is our year, we're going to get this done?

MARTIN TRUEX JR.: I honestly didn't. I don't think any of us ever really thought about that till later in the year. We just stayed focused on what we were doing and tried to do the best we could every week. You know, getting the win early in the season at Vegas, the first time we'd won a race early in the year. That was a good confidence booster. It was a lot of momentum for us. We knew we could just focus on the stage points and winning races from there on out.

I don't know that we ever said we can win this championship till the playoffs started, then we kind of started going through all that. Playoffs, man. It's so unpredictable. And the feelings you get, you're like, every time you reset and you go to round one, you're like, we got to win. We don't have to worry about two weeks from now. We'd go out and we'd be aggressive. We're like, we got to win this. Worked out OK, I guess.

INTERVIEWER: I think it worked out better than OK for you there. Now he goes into 2018 with a championship under his belt, and a bullseye on his back. What do you do to follow it up? You guys, you got the eight wins last year. I've been on the record saying I think this team can win more.

MARTIN TRUEX JR.: Yeah, I definitely felt like we could have won more races last year. But I think everybody has that situation. It's so hard to close these things out. To be in position to win that many races is a feat in itself, and a hell of an accomplishment. So if we can just back that up, if we can go out and lead laps and put ourselves in position to win five to 10 races, we're going to be in that hunt. And in that championship battle where we want to be.

INTERVIEWER: I'd be scared if I was the competition right now with you guys. Man, I appreciate it, that was an awesome year.

MARTIN TRUEX JR.: Thanks for having me over.