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NASCAR MEDIA CONFERENCE

October 30, 2012
Richmond High School



James Buescher

Ricky Stenhouse, Jr.

Martin Truex, Jr.


ASHLEY JONES:  Good afternoon, everyone, and welcome to the first of three NASCAR teleconferences today.  We'll kick it off with Martin Truex Jr., driver of the No.56 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota for Michael Waltrip Racing.  At 3:30 p.m. we will be joined by James Buescher, driver of the No. 31 Great Clips Chevrolet for Turner Motorsports, and then at 3:45 we will be joined by Ricky Stenhouse Jr., driver of the No.6 Ford for Roush Fenway Racing.
We'll start with Martin.  He currently sits seventh in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series points standings, 63 points behind leader Jimmie Johnson.  He has seven top?10 finishes and two poles at Texas Motor Speedway, site of this Sunday's AAA Texas 500, the eighth race in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.
Martin, talk about your season so far and what it has meant to have two Michael Waltrip Racing cars in the Chase for the first time.
MARTIN TRUEX JR.:  Yeah, it's obviously been a great season for everybody at Michael Waltrip Racing, and being part of the team, this being my third year, it's obviously a huge step up in the performance of what we've been?? of what everyone has been used to seeing with Michael Waltrip Racing.  So certainly been a pleasure to drive their cars this season.  Everybody has done an awesome job.

Q.  You've come close this year with the win, but just can't seem to seal the deal.  What are some things as a driver you do to adjust to have a better chance at winning races?
MARTIN TRUEX JR.:  Well, that's a good question.  To be honest with you, we look at everything, everything that I could do different as a driver, everything we could do different as a team, and just try to be better prepared for the next time we're in a situation, you know, to try to hopefully make better decisions.
Now, obviously some of it comes down to just pure rotten luck, cautions, the way they fall and things like that can kind of dictate how those things go, and I feel like for us this year we've probably gave away a race or two by not making the right decision.  But there is times also when you make a decision and the circumstances just don't play out the way they need to for you.
I think that we'll just keep trying hard, and our cars have been fast enough all year to win races, and we just need to get a little bit of luck on our side and keep doing what we've been doing and hopefully close the deal soon.

Q.  As far as your team goes, you mentioned your team, obviously Clint Bowyer is a little bit closer to getting the big prize, being 26 points behind, but neither one of you guys are rookies to the Chase.  Could you kind of talk about what it's like to have some experience, and then you've got a different partner going into the Chase this time than perhaps you've ever had?
MARTIN TRUEX JR.:  Yeah, I think that definitely with this being my second one, I feel like I've got a little bit?? I have a little bit better idea of what to expect going in.  But it's been quite a few years since the first time I was in the Chase, and things have changed a lot, certainly the competition level now is even higher than it was then.  As we see, the guys that are leading the championship right now, you really have to be almost perfect, and you can't afford to have a bad race.
We've had two bad races, probably two of our worst races of the whole year have come in the Chase.  So that's been kind of disappointing with the season we've had.
But it's one of those things where momentum is a big thing, and you need to be able to be good on all different types of racetracks.  Obviously two of our worst tracks this year have been two that are in the Chase, so that's certainly not what we wanted.  But I think we've learned a lot as a team this year about how to be better prepared for next year going in, if we can be fortunate enough to get in the Chase, and have a little bit better idea of what we need to do to make sure we don't have those bad races again.

Q.  Talking about Texas Motor Speedway, when you look at your history at this track, you've got the two poles, you've had a lot of top 10 finishes, in fact, except for a couple of wrecks every finish you've had at Texas with MWR has been in the top 10.  What do you like or dislike and where does this rank for you on the schedule?
MARTIN TRUEX JR.:  Well, it definitely ranks right up near the top.  Texas is a great racetrack.  It's a place I really enjoy going to.  A lot of things about the racetrack that I like.  First I think it's just the all?out speed.  I love tracks where you can really get in the gas and stay in it through the corner.  But the place has got some character.  It's not only just a fast mile?and?a?half with a lot of banking, it's got a lot of character.  The asphalt is wore out, it's got a lot of bumps in it, so a lot of really cool things about that racetrack.  The way the track flattens out off of Turn 2 and you lose the banking, comes out on the straightaway, very difficult to get your car handling good there.
So the speed and the track surface and all the bumps, there's so many things that are challenging to the racetrack there, and along with the speed, it's a place that's very enjoyable to drive on for me.

Q.  I see you've been tweeting about your foundation helping with relief efforts for the hurricane.  How much has your hometown been on your mind this week and how is your family doing back home?
MARTIN TRUEX JR.:  Yeah, well, absolutely thanks for the question.  It's definitely been a tough few days for all the folks in that area.  Fortunately my family, everybody is safe, everybody is doing well, still without power, and obviously I think they're all huddled up over at my sister's house right now playing some word games by candlelight.  But everybody is doing good, and we're thankful for that.
There's been a lot of devastation in the area, a lot of trees down, no power.  Obviously we don't know how bad everything is yet until the rest of the storm passes and they can go see how it's all going, but we know there's a lot of houses that have been flooded and a lot of bad things have happened.
It's one of those things where we're glad to be able to help.  We're putting together efforts today to try to help with some relief, and folks can go to our website at Martintruexjrfoundation.org, and there's a "donate now" button on there where they can donate to help some relief efforts.  We're very proud to be able to do that, and hopefully the NASCAR fans always step up and help when there's people in need, and I'm sure this time it will be no different.  I want to thank all the folks for that and hopefully we can do our part just to try to get things back to normal.

Q.  Is it still mindboggling to you that you have two cars in the Chase and teams such as RCR and Joe Gibbs and Stewart?Haas only have one?
MARTIN TRUEX JR.:  Well, I don't think it's mindboggling at all.  I think that this is something that we had planned all season.  Obviously every team goes into the season planning on doing this.  But I felt very strongly after last year how we ended the season with the cars that we were building, with the job that my team was doing and the other teams in our organization, and with bringing in all the guys we did this off?season, I really felt good about the opportunity to be able to do that.
You know, I think it's a great accomplishment for us when you do say there's one Gibbs car, there's one Childress car and there's two MWR cars, that means a lot.  All the people at the shop, they see that and it makes them proud.  Just a lot of hard work, and we couldn't be more proud of what we've been able to do.
Now we've got Clint still in the hunt to?? he's still got a chance to win this thing.  Definitely been a good season for us and something we're very, very proud of.

Q.  Did you discover anything specific about yourself or the team that gives you more confidence going forward?
MARTIN TRUEX JR.:  Well, I think, yeah, absolutely.  And I think that that all stems back to last year and the things that we were able to do to turn our season around last year and get prepared for a season like we've had this year.  I think it was the Texas race in the spring of last year when Michael Waltrip came to me and said, Martin, I know you're trying, I know you're doing the best you can, and I know our cars aren't where they need to be right now, but I promise you I am going to fix it.  And that was really kind of a turning point for the whole company was Michael doing that.
Then he started making some changes in the team and the way we were doing things and building race cars, and we leaned a lot more heavily on Toyota Racing Development to kind of help lead us in the right direction, and for me that's what gave me confidence, to know that Michael and the team believed in me 100 percent and they were going to make things work.  Ever since we started bringing out the new cars and all the new things that we were doing, things just started to click, started clicking with my crew chief Chad Johnston and I, started clicking with everybody in the organization, and since then we've just been full steam ahead.  It definitely goes back to last year.

Q.  To sort of follow up on that, you guys started the season with a handful of new drivers, new crew chiefs, a new competition director.  There was a lot of things that changed at MWR in the last 12 months.  What is it about all of those things?  How did all of those things come together, at least the way you see it, to make the team successful?
MARTIN TRUEX JR.:  Yeah, I think that obviously you could never bring in that many new different people and expect the results we got.  But I think that the guys did a great job, obviously, of choosing the right people, putting them in the right places, and I think, again, it goes back to starting with a solid foundation.  What Rob and Michael have built at MWR and lured those guys to come over there and see the potential in the race team, that's what got it all started.
They did all the tough work and made all this possible for all of us, and so it's just been fun to be a part of it.  But who would have ever thought 11, 12 months ago we'd be sitting here today talking about what a great season we've had.
Definitely kudos to all the team and all the hard work that's gone into it, and it definitely starts at the top, and those guys have done a phenomenal job.
ASHLEY JONES:  Good afternoon, everyone, and thanks for standing by.  We welcome you to our second portion of today's NASCAR teleconference.  We are going to begin with James Buescher, driver of the No.31 Great Clips Chevrolet for Turner Motorsports.
James is currently the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series points leader, 21 points ahead of Ty Dillon with three races to go.  The Texas native has four wins in 2012, the most of any truck driver this season, and he has four wins on all one?and?a?half?mile tracks and heads to Texas Motor Speedway with the same chassis that has captured all four victories.
Talk about what it would mean to win at your home track this weekend and your team's approach and strategy for this weekend.
JAMES BUESCHER:  It would definitely mean a lot to me to be able to win in front of my hometown crowd.  It's a racetrack that I've been going to since it opened, and it means a lot to me.  It's where I got started in racing.  I've spent a lot of time there and all my family and friends will be there, also.
I'm looking forward to this weekend.  I thought we had a shot to win the summer race there earlier this year and just got taken out with 30 laps to go leading the race.  It's a place that we always have a lot of speed at, and our team tends to do pretty well at the mile?and?a?halfs, and I'd say that's why we have four wins already on mile?and?a?halfs this year.
That definitely adds to the confidence level going into this weekend, and I'm looking forward to it.

Q.  Your cousin Chris won the ARCA championship this year.  How special would it be to you if you win the 2012 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series championship?
JAMES BUESCHER:  It would definitely be pretty cool to have two Bueschers with two championships in the same year.  Chris and I started racing at the same time, and we were together the first couple years and drove for the same team and then just kind of went down separate paths in our racing careers and have both, I think, done pretty well, and congratulations to him on his championship.  Hopefully I can pull this one off and have a second title in the 2012 season for a Buescher.
I was joking with somebody a few weeks ago that it would be pretty ironic that last year the Dillons won the ARCA and Truck championship in the same year, and it would be pretty cool to back that up with the Bueschers taking the ARCA and Truck Series titles in the same year.  I think that would be pretty cool.
ASHLEY JONES:  James, thank you for joining us today, and best of luck this weekend in Texas.

ASHLEY JONES:  Good afternoon, everyone, and thanks for standing by.  We welcome you to our second portion of today's NASCAR teleconference.  We are going to begin with James Buescher, driver of the No.31 Great Clips Chevrolet for Turner Motorsports.
James is currently the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series points leader, 21 points ahead of Ty Dillon with three races to go.  The Texas native has four wins in 2012, the most of any truck driver this season, and he has four wins on all one?and?a?half?mile tracks and heads to Texas Motor Speedway with the same chassis that has captured all four victories.
Talk about what it would mean to win at your home track this weekend and your team's approach and strategy for this weekend.
JAMES BUESCHER:  It would definitely mean a lot to me to be able to win in front of my hometown crowd.  It's a racetrack that I've been going to since it opened, and it means a lot to me.  It's where I got started in racing.  I've spent a lot of time there and all my family and friends will be there, also.
I'm looking forward to this weekend.  I thought we had a shot to win the summer race there earlier this year and just got taken out with 30 laps to go leading the race.  It's a place that we always have a lot of speed at, and our team tends to do pretty well at the mile?and?a?halfs, and I'd say that's why we have four wins already on mile?and?a?halfs this year.
That definitely adds to the confidence level going into this weekend, and I'm looking forward to it.

Q.  Your cousin Chris won the ARCA championship this year.  How special would it be to you if you win the 2012 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series championship?
JAMES BUESCHER:  It would definitely be pretty cool to have two Bueschers with two championships in the same year.  Chris and I started racing at the same time, and we were together the first couple years and drove for the same team and then just kind of went down separate paths in our racing careers and have both, I think, done pretty well, and congratulations to him on his championship.  Hopefully I can pull this one off and have a second title in the 2012 season for a Buescher.
I was joking with somebody a few weeks ago that it would be pretty ironic that last year the Dillons won the ARCA and Truck championship in the same year, and it would be pretty cool to back that up with the Bueschers taking the ARCA and Truck Series titles in the same year.  I think that would be pretty cool.
ASHLEY JONES:  James, thank you for joining us today, and best of luck this weekend in Texas.  We are now joined by Ricky Stenhouse Jr., driver of the No.6 NOS Ford for Roush?Fenway Racing.  Ricky is currently second in the NASCAR Nationwide Series points standings, only six points behind leader Elliott Sadler.  Fresh off his sixth victory of the season in Kansas, Ricky could become the sixth driver in history to win consecutive series titles.  The last driver to win back?to?back championships was Martin Truex Jr. in 2004 and 2005.
Talk a little bit about your team strategy and preparation heading into Texas this weekend and even for the remaining three races of the season.
RICKY STENHOUSE JR.:  Yeah, we're taking our Chicago car that we won with back to Texas.  We're going to take our setup that we won with at Texas earlier in the year on that race car.  So we feel like we'll have a good showing at Texas.
Phoenix, we finished third, I think, earlier in the year, and not too far behind Elliott, who won.  I think we've got some great racetracks for us.  The 2 car also has great racetracks for them.  But we're just going to stay focused on what we're doing and what we've done to win and get to this point.
With the racetracks we have left, we feel like we're in a great position right now.
ASHLEY JONES:  Talk a little bit about what it would mean to capture a second consecutive Nationwide Series title.
RICKY STENHOUSE JR.:  I think it would be huge.  Last year it was cool getting our first one, and then to be able to back it up, I think that would be a big accomplishment.  I think it's been tough.  I think?? I feel like we've performed better this year than we have last year, but we found ourselves still behind.
It would be a huge accomplishment for our team and some good momentum.

Q.  Being second in the points and the pressure of three races to go, how hard is that on you as a driver, knowing that one little mistake could cost you big?
RICKY STENHOUSE JR.:  Yeah, I mean, there's definitely a lot of pressure.  There has been all year.  I think it doesn't really come from outside pressure.  I put a lot of pressure on myself and on our race team.  But I think we made a mistake last week, or I did?? or two weeks ago at Kansas I made a mistake, but my guys never gave up, they kept working hard, and we came back to win the race.
I think if you make a mistake, it had better be early in the race so you can bounce back from it.  But there's definitely a lot of pressure on everybody running for a championship, and it doesn't really matter if it's a Nationwide Series championship or your local dirt track series championship.  It's tough to win championships no matter what.  So yeah, that pressure is there.

Q.  You mentioned the championships and bringing your experience.  You've done this one time.  Can you kind of compare maybe the first one to a potential second championship and how much it's helped you along the way and then you even mentioned how difficult it is to get that second one.
RICKY STENHOUSE JR.:  Yeah, I mean, I think last year, I think I made less mistakes actually.  I think this year we're in more contention to win races, and so I think sometimes I lose track of that we've got a championship to win, and I go out to win races.  I think last year?? we've kind of got to get back to last year where we don't make any mistakes the last three races.  But I don't think it's any easier.  I think it's actually a little tougher to get your second one in a row.  But I think we're up for the challenge.
ASHLEY JONES:  We appreciate your time today.  Best of luck in Texas, and maybe you can bring home a second cowboy hat in a row.
RICKY STENHOUSE JR.:  Yeah, that's what we're looking forward to is another cowboy hat.  There's two tracks I really want to win at again, and that was Texas and Homestead.  If we can get that accomplished, I think we'll have another championship, and that's what we're shooting for.  Thanks for having us on, and we'll see you all at Texas.


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