Dover: Winning team interview

MARTIN TRUEX, JR. AND KEVINM "BONO" MANION, DRIVER AND CREW CHIEF OF NO. 1 BASS PRO SHOPS/TRACKER IMPALA SS FIELDED BY DALE EARNHARDT, INC." ON THE WIN: MANION: "It's a great day. I've got to thank Bass Pro and Tracker Boats and Chevrolet and...

MARTIN TRUEX, JR. AND KEVINM "BONO" MANION, DRIVER AND CREW CHIEF OF NO. 1 BASS PRO SHOPS/TRACKER IMPALA SS FIELDED BY DALE EARNHARDT, INC."

ON THE WIN:

MANION: "It's a great day. I've got to thank Bass Pro and Tracker Boats and Chevrolet and all the people who helped us and all the guys back at the shop that worked so hard. They've had a lot to read about and have had a lot of things to think about the past couple of weeks. It feels real good to give them something to look forward to."

AT WHAT POINT DID YOU FEEL LIKE YOU HAD THE RACE WON?

MANION: "Well, you never feel like you have them until you actually have them. I was sitting there with 70 or 80 laps to go thinking all right, what's going to happen? Because we've been in position before when we had a shot. And it seems like even when we run good, and we're running in the top 10 or top five, it seems like something along the line happens to give us some trouble. So I wasn't counting my chickens by any means. I was just hoping and praying that we wouldn't have a bunch of cautions so that it would come down to pit strategy and tires and all that. We were fortunate that it kept going green. Once the white came out, I felt good. I knew we weren't going to have a green, white, checkered. Then I knew."

DOES IT NICE TO GIVE DEI SOMETHING DIFFERENT TO TALK ABOUT NOW? DOES THIS MEAN DEI IS NOT DEAD AFTERALL?

TRUEX JR.: "I still don't understand where everyone was coming from when they thought that DEI was going to go away just because Dale Junior went away. It started before he started driving. He's a great asset. He's been a great teammate for me. He's been a great mentor for me. But we can go on. We can win races, just as we've shown today. We've had cars capable of winning a few times this year and we don't seem to get any of the credit we deserve. Bono and all his guys don't ever get any credit. So, it's nice to give them that today and put them in the spotlight a little bit and show everybody just how good they are. And all the guys at the shop have been working real hard and they've been reading about how they're not doing the right things and they're not doing a good job and all of a sudden they're not going to have a job. So, it feels good to hush up all that and solidify the fact that we're here for real and we're going to win races and contend for championships in the future."

IN AN ODD TWIST, TWO OF THE LAST THREE TIMES THE NO. 1 CAR HAS WON HAS BEEN ON MONDAYS AFTER RAINOUTS. ANY REASON WHY THIS IS A RAINOUT CAR?

TRUEX JR: "Well, we've had two rainouts a couple of weeks ago and we didn't win then. So, I don't know."

ON THE PROGRESS OF THE NEW GENERATION RACE CAR, WHAT'S IMPROVED? YOU, OR THE TEAM?

TRUEX JR: "Well, our luck has gotten better. We've run pretty decent with it each time we've been out. At Martinsville, we had a really fast car but lost the brakes. At Phoenix we ran well, but I can't even remember what happened to us there. At Darlington, we ran very well. We finished 11th but we ran better than that all day. We've been running fairly decent with it. We haven't obviously been able to do what we did today. But we've learned a lot about it and applied things that worked good for us. We tried some new stuff this weekend on it and it seemed to work really well for us. We didn't hit on it until happy hour and that's when our car came to life. From here on out, who knows? Maybe it'll work everywhere, maybe it won't. We'll just have to see. But we're going to keep working hard and hopefully win some more races, that's for sure."

WITH DALE JUNIOR LEAVING DEI, ARE YOU READY TO ASSUME MORE OF A LEADERSHIP ROLE?

TRUEX JR.: "Well, I kind of have to, you know. Somebody's got to do it. A lot of people there look up to Dale Junior and what he thinks about the race cars and the people and the job they're doing. I'll have to be a little more vocal and put a little more interest in the things I'm saying and the things I think about how things are going. I'm real easy to get along with. I don't pick on people when they make mistakes and that's a big part of it, I think. I'll just tell everybody they're doing a good job and I plan on doing that because they are."

RYAN NEWMAN GOT YOU ON A COUPLE OF RESTARTS, BUT YOU CLEARLY HAD THE BETTER CAR ON THE LONG RUNS. IF IT WOULD HAVE COME DOWN TO A FOUR, FIVE, OR SIX-CAR SPRINT TO THE FINISH, DO YOU THINK YOU STILL WOULD HAVE HAD THE CAR TO WIN?

TRUEX JR.: "With older tires, yes. If we would have had to pit and he beat me out of the pits, then no. We wouldn't have been able to - unless we made the proper adjustments. I was just too loose for six or seven or eight laps to get going on new tires. And then after that, I was really good. If it came down to it, we would have had to change a little bit. But if it came down to us being in the lead, I think I could have held him off. But on new tires, I was a little bit slower."

ON HOW BIG OF A THREAT HE CONSIDERED JOHNSON WHO SEEMED TO BE CLOSING:

TRUEX JR.: "I think the guys on the pit box considered it a lot more of a threat that I was. I had a straightaway lead. They got a little nervous when he got to second but then they realized that I was running two to three tenths faster lap times than he was. I wasn't too worried about it. Anytime you get close to the end and have a driver like Jimmie Johnson coming out of no-where, you think about what might happen if a caution came out and we have to pit again. Most nervous I got all day was that last caution when I guess there was about 45 or 46 laps to go and we weren't sure whether to pit or not pit. We said well we will stay out; our car is really good on old tires. Everyone else stayed out too. That was really the time all day when I thought that our win could possibly be in jeopardy."

ON WHAT IT FEELS LIKE TO CALL HIS FIRST CUP WIN:

MANION: "No, I haven't other than the All-Star Open a few weeks ago. This is the first points race and it is incredible. It is really no different than calling a Busch race and actually, to be honest with you, it is a heck of a lot easier. Back when we won a couple of Busch championships, calling those Busch races with the tire rule they have is really difficult. You have to schedule how to use the tires. Here in Cup, it is when the caution comes out, you pit, that is all there is to it. You have enough tires, there is no rule, so it is fairly easy to call. It makes it harder when you are leading to call whether you are going to pit or not. Like Martin said, that is the only time. I told him, ok, you can make it on gas from here, the only thing that is going to be a question is if the caution comes out. We had jotted down a few numbers on the top of the pit box that if the caution came out before this lap, we would pit, if it came out after that lap, we would stay out. We only had 17 green flag laps on our tires so it was almost a no-brainer to stay out. It feels really good to have a car that good. At Homestead last year we really thought that we had a car that was capable of winning and calling that race was very difficult. I made calls that just didn't turn out like to day."

ON WHAT DALE EARNHARDT, JR. SAID TO HIM IN VICTORY LANE:

TRUEX JR.: "He just said he knew I could do it and he would see me tonight. (LAUGHS) I am sure we will have a big time."

ON HOW THIS FEELS COMPARED TO WINNING THE ALL-STAR OPEN:

TRUEX JR.: "This is way bigger than the Open. The Open was just to get in to the All-Star race. This is a first-win man. This is awesome. Doesn't get any better than this. You know. This has been probably one of the biggest accomplishments for everybody on my whole team. The biggest accomplishment of their racing careers. Mine is no different. Championships in the Busch Series were great, but if you win at this level, you have beat the best of the best. Today was our day and if feels great."

ON IMPACT OF THIS WIN ON ENTIRE TEAM:

MANION: "For the team, this is a huge win. Most of us with the team have been there since the beginning, since the inception of Chance 2. Mostly all the same guys, I have only lost a few. We have added on some great talent over the winter to make our team stronger. I think we are at the point now, where we feel we can run in the top-10 every week. We feel like we can go to the track every week and make adjustments to the car that will make it a race-winning car. The team, I haven't gotten to spend a whole lot of time with them yet today, I am sure tonight we will probably hang out and BS a little bit, bench race and have a good time."

ON THINKING ABOUT HOW GOOD THE CHASE IS LOOKING RIGHT NOW:

TRUEX JR.: "Yes it is but we have got a lot of racing left to do. Like I said earlier, we have had great race cars all year, we have just had a lot of bad luck. After California we were 42nd in the points I think. It has been an uphill battle for us this year. But we have run well and that is the main thing. Last year we were getting bad finishes but we weren't running that well either. We can take a few bad finishes here and there. We have been in a good, steady climb in the points. The Chase is definitely not out of the question for us especially with the momentum we have. We have had some great runs as of late. I think the Open helped with confidence and helped get everybody on the same page. Who knows, we will just have to wait and see, but I think we have got what it takes to make the Chase. We still have a ways to go to have a shot at a Championship obviously. We aren't a top-five car every week like the No. 48, the No. 24, No. 20 and guys like that. We still have stuff to work on but we are working our way there, we are getting closer each week and looking good."

ON WHAT IT MEANT TO HIS DAD TO BE HERE FOR THE FIRST WIN:

TRUEX JR.: "I am just glad he was here for it. He doesn't miss many. He has obviously been the biggest part of my racing career and the biggest reason for me getting to where I am at. He ran me in my first go-kart, my first modified. He owned my Busch North cars and has been kind of my roll model and my teacher until I got until I got to the Busch Series and now he kind of stands back and watches. He helps me with business decisions and with advice and things like that. He has been a huge part of my career, it was awesome to have him here and I am sure he was just about as happy as I was, if not happier than I was about this win. It seems like it has been a long time coming and he is a huge supporter of mine and I am glad he was here for it."

ON FIRST TIME HE EVER CAME TO DOVER:

TRUEX JR.: "The first time I came here was to drive a race car. I didn't go to many races when I was younger. I was always doing my own stuff, racing somewhere. I can't remember if it was 2001 or 2002, we build a Busch car at my Dad's shop and came here and ran it. We qualified like 17th for our first time ever, we had a good run going that day and I think we got tore up pretty early in the race and didn't do so well. I have always felt comfortable at this race track since the first time I got on it. I have always enjoyed it. It has always been one of those ones that I can't wait for it to come up again. I am excited about September already."

ON WHAT ADJUSTMENTS HE MADE FROM FIRST PRACTICE TO FINAL PRACTICE TO GET SUCH A GOOD CAR:

MANION: "There were quite a few adjustments actually, I will try to make the answer short. Pretty much everything. We have run this car twice, at Bristol and at Darlington, and we have had two different packages. We ran very well at both races. We decided to bring our Darlington package with us. In talking with Tony Gibson and Tony Eury, Jr., they were bringing their basic Bristol package with them. We are running really close to the same stuff and are working really well together. We unloaded and spent most of the practice in race trim. Dale, Jr. out-qualified us by quite a bit landing on the front row. Saturday morning the schedule allowed two hours between practices so we did our deal on Saturday morning and they did their deal and were extremely happy. We were middle of the road, bouncing on the fence about which way to go. We talked to those guys and basically decided to change our stuff over to be similar to theirs. Similar to what we ran at Bristol and as soon as happy hour started, we were right on so it was a good change."

-credit: gm racing

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Series NASCAR Sprint Cup