MARK MARTIN - No. 6 Viagra Taurus "I really hate it. This car was capable of contending for the win, but we just struggled all night long. Everytime we turned around. We had problems on pit road and just about crashed on pit road. Everytime...
MARK MARTIN - No. 6 Viagra Taurus
"I really hate it. This car was capable of contending for the win, but we just struggled all night long. Everytime we turned around. We had problems on pit road and just about crashed on pit road. Everytime we turned around we'd just about get there in position where we could go race for it and then we'd have a major setback - not a major setback but go back to 10th or 12th. These guys have given me a golden opportunity here. I hate we didn't do more with it, but it's good to get a top five. That's what you need to do and maybe we can win some more of them."
SOME GUYS SAID THEY RAN 85-90 PERCENT. HOW ABOUT YOU? "We did what we needed to do. We made it to the end, but we finally figured out you couldn't go more than 20 laps without a caution anyway. I don't think everybody was running eight-tenths at the end there."
LAST WEEK YOU DIDN'T THINK YOU HAD A CHANCE AT THE TITLE, BUT YOU'RE ONLY 50-60 POINTS OUT HALFWAY THROUGH. "Well, it's a step at a time. You don't go from 113 back to having a shot at it. We got a little closer. I wish we could have done more. I swear we had a car that could contend for that win, but it was good enough to come back from 10th or 12th several times. It was tough passing out there, so it was a good run for us. I really want to thank Pat and all our guys for giving me this opportunity."
WHAT A BIZARRE RACE. "Yes it was. We had a great run. I guess fifth is a great finish, but it's a little bit disappointing with the car that we had. It was a contender and everytime we'd get in position where we might be able to go up and challenge we'd have a setback. We had a number of problems and had to come back from 10th or 12th everytime we turned around. It was a great car and a great effort, so I'm really proud of this race team. They're giving me a shot at it."
KURT BUSCH - No. 97 IRWIN/Sharpie Taurus
"It feels good. We didn't have anything really out of the ordinary happen to us. It was a nice, solid day. We lost some spots. When everybody decided to use the high groove I was like, 'Where are they going?' So they went to the front and we learned that. After that we just played our strategy to only race hard when we had to and that was towards the end to gain that track position. Then two tires or four, I wasn't sure, but Jimmy Fennig, I stick with my crew chief all the time and it was a great run for our Irwin Industrial Tools Ford. We race the 48 like that here. It's his home track. He runs hard. Chad Knaus has had problems getting through tech lately we'll see if he gets through today."
CARL EDWARDS - No. 99 Scotts Taurus
"To make it into the top 10 was OK, but we had a better car than that. We were just too tight and just destroying the tires. Even though we were tight, the right rear was just gone every run. I don't know what we can do differently. This was just a survival race. I'm glad we made it out of it."
DID YOU JUST THROTTLE BACK AND DRIVE DEFENSIVELY ALL NIGHT? "Extremely. I don't think I ran one lap as hard as I could. That's just the way we had to race."
HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT YOUR POSITION? YOU GAINED QUITE A FEW POINTS ON FIRST PLACE TONIGHT. "That's awesome. We needed Tony to have that one bad night like that, so it's gonna be a heck of a tight battle. If we can come out of Martinsville with another top 10 that will be another one in the back, but it's OK."
YOU LIKE TO OFTEN SAY RACING IS A BLAST, BUT WAS THAT A BLAST TONIGHT? "This was not a lot of fun to be honest with you. It just isn't. You're risking your best car and a good headache. You're just trying to make it for 330 laps."
KEVIN LEPAGE - No. 66 Peak Fitness Taurus
"Coming from four laps down this was just a great day for the Peak Fitness guys. Greg and all the guys did a great job just working on this race car. We had a couple of tire issues early and just got us down a couple of laps. We kept working on it and got the lucky dog and just rode around. To come out 21st, I think this is the best finish of the year for this team. We were hoping for a top 20, but we were just a little too tight there at the end. We had to tighten the car up because the right-rear was showing loose and burning the tire up. We had little vibrations that we didn't know what was going on, so we just came in. I hate it that I'm not going to Martinsville. We're going for a pole at Atlanta, but I'm disappointed we're not going to be there next week. But these guys are awesome. Four great races. Four great qualifying efforts and finally a decent finish after our qualifying efforts."
RICKY RUDD - No. 21 Motorcraft Genuine Parts Taurus
"We just had a real tight race car when we started. We had to come from a long way back. Our tire strategy was to put on four all night, whereas a lot of guys got temporary track position by putting on two. We did that right at the end. I think we came in like seventh or 10th and came out with the lead. We were sitting pretty decent on the restart and I guess Nemechek got up on the outside of me, but then I didn't know that the 48 car ran into us. I just thought I blew a left-rear tire and I pulled out of the way and was coming into the pits. Then Dave said, 'Hey, the 48 got into you.' When he said that I was already down here in three limping on the apron, so then I had to take off and go again. I thought for sure I blew a tire. I had no idea he got into me. But it was a good, solid run. I'm a little disappointed."
ELLIOTT SADLER - No. 38 M&M's Taurus
"It was a wild night. This was by far the best car I've had in seven years of racing in the NEXTEL Cup Series. Again, Doug Yates and the engine shop gave us some great horsepower and the car was just unbelievable. I was just trying to run around seventy percent all night, take care of my tires, not abuse them by running too hard. It's unfortunate, you try to race other cars like you want to be raced and to get taken out by a lapped car is disappointing."
WHAT ARE THEY GOING TO HAVE TO DO ABOUT THE TIRES? "I think they are just going to have to bring back a harder tire, maybe like the tire we run at Texas. We're just going too fast around here. The speeds are too much for this tire. In the start of the race, I wanted to run hard through one and two to get my five bonus points by leading a lap but it just abused the tire too much to run a hundred percent. Our tires looked pretty good all night but we just had to be really careful with them."