An Interview With: KEVIN HARVICK, MARTIN TRUEX JR.
THE MODERATOR: We’re going to get started with our post?race media availabilities. We are joined by Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Busch Light Ford, one of our Championship 4 drivers.
You tried something different. Was that really the way the 19 and the 18 were, was that really you guys’ only play early in the run?
KEVIN HARVICK: Well, we just needed to do something different. Those guys, they were so much better than us on the long run. Really our best chance was to have a caution there at the end and never got one. We just did something different hoping for a caution, and that’s what you’re supposed to do in those late situations like that. Just do the opposite of the cars you’re trying to race, and it just didn’t work out.
Did you think you ever had anything for them at any point in this race?
KEVIN HARVICK: On the restarts I could do what I wanted to do, and I could hold them off for 15 or 20 laps right there, and you know, this race has come down to that every year, so you kind of play towards that, and they were quite a bit better than us on the long run, but we had a really good car for those first 15 or 20 laps on the restarts and had a lot of speed. Just never got to try to race for it there with a caution.
What happened on the restart where the 19 seemed to get ?? he seemed to run ??
KEVIN HARVICK: I just spun the tires, and he ran into the back of me and just got jumbled.
Is it fair to say you were outnumbered from the get?go, or was it individual battles? Did you think you were going up against three guys?
KEVIN HARVICK: Not really. I mean, you race against ?? it really turns into individual battles. I’d even say those guys are all racing for each other and trying to win a championship. Never really looked at it quite that way.
THE MODERATOR: We’re also joined by Martin Truex Jr., driver of the No. 19 Bass Pro Shops Toyota.
Martin, you obviously had the little bit fresher tires than Kyle did coming down the stretch. I know traffic wasn’t helpful, but did you feel like staying out and trying to use the fresher tires was going to be your way to get the win and the championship?
MARTIN TRUEX JR.: I didn’t know at that point. I just did whatever Cole said. He does the strategy, I just drive. Obviously it didn’t work out. We were quite a bit quicker at the end, but we were just too far back. No chance.
Martin, for you, how tough is this to swallow knowing that you had the fastest car throughout the day, and a mistake, but you overcame that and ran right there at second?
MARTIN TRUEX JR.: Yeah, ultimately it was the loss of track position that bit us. We restarted the third stage in third, and really wish I could have been either second or fourth. I got blitzed on the outside by the 20 and the 22 and a couple of those guys, and then I had to just run the crap out of my right front to get by back them, and I got tight on that run, and it took me forever to just get by a few cars.
I lost a bunch of ground on that run because of getting tight in traffic and then just was too far back to make anything happen the last run. Ultimately it came down to track position, and I felt like if I could have been up front and controlled the race, I could have drove away from them.
At the end we were quite a bit quicker, but it’s just ?? it was too much of a gap. Yeah, it’s part of the deal. You’ve got to be perfect, you know, and one mistake probably cost us a shot at it.
MARTIN TRUEX JR.: Yeah, these things don’t come around every day. Second two years in a row definitely stings a little, but the fact that we have one is still really a big deal. It’s hard to win these things.
Congrats to Kyle and the 18 guys. It’s a huge accomplishment just to get here I feel like. Yes, sometimes you win, sometimes you don’t. It just wasn’t our day.
Kevin and Martin, were you at all surprised by the pace of the race tonight? There were huge gaps in between and even between first and second and second and third and how many cars were on the lead lap. Did the pace surprise you at all?
KEVIN HARVICK: I mean, my car didn’t drive very well, and it looked like mine drove a lot better than most of them, and there was no ?? you didn’t see very many tire marks against the wall or anything like that. So I don’t know ?? just no cautions and nothing happening. Just when that happens, you know, you just get spread out.
MARTIN TRUEX JR.: Yeah, I think the deal is with these cars, you start fighting handling problems and having to lift, and you just lose so much time to a guy that can stay in the throttle.
It’s all momentum. It’s not surprising that it got spread out as it did.
Martin, I just was wondering if switching the tires had ever happened to you before or at any level? Is that something that’s exceedingly rare?
MARTIN TRUEX JR.: Yeah, I’ve never had that happen. No. No. I don’t even know what to say. No. It doesn’t drive good with the left front on the right front, though, I can tell you that. It’s very tight.
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