Q. Martin Truex Jr., a well-deserved seat on pit wall here. Man, it looked like early on you had a car that could contend. How much different was the game once the speeding penalty happened?
MARTIN TRUEX JR.: It’s completely different. If we couldn’t find a way to flip track position pit stop-wise, we were never going to get there. Our car was good. The field is so tight, so close. Your car drives so much worse in traffic.
I felt like we did really good to get back to where we did. You just burn the tires off so much worse back there in the hot, dirty track, dirty air. You’re in more rubber. It’s just a dogfight.
I don’t know. We gave it a hell of an effort. I felt like we had a really strong car. I don’t think we could have beat the 12. He was really, really strong. We were definitely close.
Something to work on for next time. Really disappointed. I mean, I thought I was well under speed leaving that box. Clearly we were speeding, so… Obviously we have something to look at there. It’s devastating. That’s racing.
Q. Before the Playoffs started, you said it feels like 2017 all over again, we can win any week. How do you start to put your arms around what happened to you guys after winning the regular-season title?
MARTIN TRUEX JR.: Man, I think it just shows how tough this sport is. Anybody that races here and guys that have raced here that do the broadcasts, they’ll tell you. It’s this close, man. You find this little bit, and suddenly you look like a hero. Some other guys find some stuff, suddenly you’re not.
We’ve been fast at times, but execution hasn’t been solid, hasn’t been consistent. We’ve had some bad luck. We’ve had a little bit of everything. Like I said, some years it feels like it’s your year, some years it feels like it’s not. I just feel we couldn’t do anything right.
If it was ever a 50/50 call, it always went against us. A blown engine, a flat tire, you name it. Problem after problem.
Just kept setting us back, and we couldn’t get no momentum. I think we did a great job today. It was a tiny little error, .2 miles an hour can ruin your whole year unfortunately.