Charlotte: Winning team press conference

MARK MARTIN --6-- Viagra Taurus (finished 1st): WHAT ABOUT THE LAST COUPLE LAPS? "The last couple of laps really boiled down to one thing. If I gave Matt the opportunity to get beside me, we were gonna lose. That wasn't gonna happen that way.

MARK MARTIN --6-- Viagra Taurus (finished 1st):

WHAT ABOUT THE LAST COUPLE LAPS?

"The last couple of laps really boiled down to one thing. If I gave Matt the opportunity to get beside me, we were gonna lose. That wasn't gonna happen that way. Now, if he was fast enough to pass me, then we were gonna run second and we were gonna hold our heads high. But, based on lapped cars, it wasn't going down that way. I couldn't waste any time. I had to keep the momentum up and I had to put the car somewhere and I had to plan ahead of time because the car doesn't change directions as fast as people think watching -- especially when the tires get hot and slick like that. So, direction changes aren't made on the spur of the moment, you have to plan them. It put a lot of pressure on me. That last 40 laps, we wanted to win bad. It's been a long time since we've won. I probably wanted to win for my team worse than I even wanted to win for myself or for Matt and my family. It was really, really important to win this race. There are so many guys on this team that either hadn't been to victory lane or hadn't been in the capacity that they're working in and they wanted it really bad. When we got invited into the No Bull Five after the Vegas run for Charlotte, everybody knew that I run good at Charlotte. Everybody knew that I loved this place and they wanted to do it all and they did it. This is their win, it's not mine and I told them if they could win this race for me, they would share in my portion of the million dollars that we win and that seemed to be an extra-special motivator for them. They built a new car. They practiced pit stops. They came up with the idea to come and test here, which I hadn't planned to do -- just a lot of things. I like to see people motivated to the max. We could have held our heads up if Matt would have beat us, but it wasn't gonna go down easy. Matt is a friend of mine, but he was gonna have to race me like an enemy there at the end. He was fast, but my team had put me out front on four new tires and we were fast too and we were able to pull it off."

WHAT MADE YOU MORE DETERMINED THIS TIME IN THE NO BULL FIVE?

"These guys. I mean, I can't do it by myself. I can't win anything in a slow car. They seemed to be especially motivated to go after this thing and I like that. Hey, as long as I get to take this trophy him, I don't care and that seemed to be special motivation. I wanted it for them and, obviously, it's done my career good too, but we made a fan a millionaire tonight for about the 12th time. Thank you Winston. I salute Winston for that. I think at the same time we should throw in and say that I feel we should keep The Winston at Lowe's Motor Speedway. There is no better race track to have that race at than this place and there are no better race fans than what we get at this speedway. This is what it's all about. You need to get your share once in a while. These guys have worked really hard and they deserve this win. I would have hurt for them more than I would have hurt for me if Matt would have beat us."

BEN LESLIE, Crew Chief --6-- Viagra Taurus:

WHAT WENT THROUGH YOUR MIND THE LAST FEW LAPS?

"The last few laps was a pretty nailbiting situation. I know how good Matt is. He's real motivated. He gets up on the wheel really hard. He won the Coca-Cola 600 here in his rookie year and I was fortunate enough to be a part of that deal. It was a gut-wrenching situation because, like I say, Matt is nobody to be fooled with."

HAS HE SAID HOW HE'LL SPLIT THE MONEY?

"No. I haven't even asked. I don't care about it."

MARTIN:

TALK ABOUT YOUR POST-RACE CELEBRATION.

"I'm more tired than I've ever been. I will tell you that I've never won a race and drove that hard. There have been a few times I drove that hard, but I got beat. Those last 40 laps and even about 40 before that we were coming big time. I think even without that caution we could have won the race. We were reeling the 48 in just a ton per lap. We had a great set of tires on the car, but look, let's all remember I said in 2000 that this may be the last one and I'll say it again. This may be the last time I ever stand down there. I don't know. I feel pretty good about it now. I think we've got a good shot at next Sunday at Dover to be honest with you, but, still, yeah, this is special. I don't know, there may not be 32 or 33 of these things waiting for me in my career. You've got to be honest when you look at it and it is special. It is special to see these guys go for the first time and they've really dedicated themselves to me."

WHAT DOES THIS WIN DO FOR YOU?

"I don't really know. I've had a lot of great accomplishments and I've had a chance to reflect on the major accomplishments in my career and in my life and I've had more success than I deserve, in my opinion -- not less than I deserve, but more. I've been very fortunate. This is a big win. This is big for these guys. This is a good year for us. We're top-five in points and if we can start racing like this, week in and week out -- we just have one more little step and we're probably not there yet -- but if we can keep picking it up and keep having good luck, we could even contend for the championship this year. I don't know. I can't tell you. It hasn't made my career, but I'm the happiest man on Earth right now and so is that fan."

WHAT ABOUT WHEN THE 4 CAR SPUN?

"I didn't let off. It was real intense, man, I tell you. Matt had a strong car. We stretched it out and kept it out on him for a long time, but with about 15 to go he closed in pretty good there. How do you drive faster than you can go and not make a mistake. This is a very tough situation. I wasn't fast enough and if I went any faster I was gonna make a mistake, so there was a lot of stress and strain but we kept the pedal down and kept hunting and searching for things. Certainly lapped traffic, I couldn't let that deter my chances, so I put a lot of pressure on myself to be lined up with something and not delay."

SO YOU THINK YOU COULD HAVE CAUGHT THE 48?

"Well, I can't see. I only see what I see out my windshield. When Ben was calling the lap times to me and we were never worse than two-tenths a lap faster. They called leader at the line one time and before I got to turn three they called leader at the line. I was sitting there looking at him and the way I gauge it, with 40 to go, it was gonna be a no-brainer to catch him based on the speed our car was running and the speed his was running. I can't see much, but that's what I could see. Now, that doesn't mean he wasn't riding around on a Sunday drive and maybe set up when he saw me coming, but I think his car was backing up and I don't think he had a very good run going there. It was my opinion that we were gonna catch him. Ben can answer that. He should know. I didn't ask him if we were gonna catch him, I was pretty sure we were gonna catch him based on the first lap time they told me where the leader was and then the second time, and we still had 40 to go. I was convinced we would get him."

LESLIE:

"He was like a tenth-and-a-half to two-tenths of a lap faster when I started calling lap times and we finally cleared and got into third place. We were about six-and-a-half second back and then before the caution came out we were about 2.7, so he was closing a great deal and with 40 laps to go it was a no-brainer."

MARTIN:

"Forty laps is a long time. I mean, I could see him now and he had been way ahead, so, I don't know what would have happened, but, in our little world, that's what we saw."

COULD YOU HAVE WON THIS RACE IF YOU RAN 500 MILES AT INDY EARLIER?

"I don't know how those guys do it and I also had a lot of people ask me how I ran a Busch race -- 300 on Saturday and 600 on Sunday. I just kind of shrugged it off and said it's no big deal. I believe that you spend what you have. If you've got a dollar, you spend it. If you only spend 75 cents of that dollar, you weren't trying hard enough. If I'm not tired after a race, I haven't raced hard enough in my opinion and I sure used everything I had tonight."

WAS IT IMPORTANT TO SEE YOUR SON, MATT, SEE YOU WIN AT THIS STAGE OF HIS LIFE?

"He wasn't even there at Martinsville. He and Arlene weren't able to be there. He was there for many, many, many wins -- many wins -- Winston Cup and Busch wins and it was just part of the routine and we haven't seen as much of that. His racing career is going real well. He's won a lot of races and I want him to be able to be proud and he should be able to be proud of what happened tonight, so, yeah, it means a lot. Between what it means to my family and what it means to Ben Leslie and his team, my team, these guys, I enjoy going to the race track with and to quote Matt Kenseth, I'm in a better mood, but I have been in a better mood just for getting to work with these guys."

WHAT DID JACK ROUSH HAVE TO SAY ON THE PHONE?

"I really couldn't hear what he was saying, but I know Jack Roush real well. I've been with him since the middle of '87, so I know how happy he is. I know that brought tears to his eyes, that he couldn't be hear. We're all so blessed. I think he was a little bit crushed. He takes breaking engines personally and he was crushed last week in The Winston because we were running so well. I think he's real pleased with the result. He and I have a special relationship. He loves all the people that work for him and all his drivers, but he and I have a lot of history and I'm sure that he's very happy about it."

WHAT WERE YOU FEELING AT THE END THAT YOU DID DONUTS?

"I wasn't gonna do any donuts on the asphalt because those kids know how to do it and I don't. We didn't do that back when I won 32 of these things, so I wasn't gonna make a fool of myself, but I felt like it might make good pictures -- tearing up Humpy's painted grass. It might make for some good exposure for the folks that are making us millionaires tonight. I again salute Winston for making a fan a millionaire and doing all these special things. I'm not a donut kind of guy, but I can't be guaranteed that I'll ever win another race and I don't think there's anything wrong with that. I just don't know, but I also think we can win Sunday at Dover. But, you know, I wanted to celebrate this one. I've thought about it for a while and if we get another one next week, I might be a little more subdued, but this has been a long time coming and it was real special for these guys and it was real special for me. I'd like to touch on one other thing to about Ben. I've had the good fortune of working around Ben for probably 10 years. It's been a long, long time he's worked at Roush Racing. He's worked on Ted Musgrave's car and Matt Kenseth's and he's been around. He's a tremendous racer. There was no chance of making this team switch fail. The only thing I was worried about was I was afraid that Kurt might be mad at me because I got what I thought was gonna be best for me in these guys. Kurt got what turned out to be best for him too and what a fantastic season they're having. It's worked well and I'm real lucky. I've known Ben for a long, long time and we didn't take any chances when we made that switch."

WHAT DOES THIS DO EMOTIONALLY FOR YOUR TEAM?

"For the 6 car it's real special because Matt's won twice and Kurt's won once. We've been very consistent, but we really haven't been in a position to go win one of these things -- I don't think. Maybe close at Richmond, but I can't think of another race where I really thought we were in shape to do that. So it's good for all of us. It gives us that trophy and a little bit of confidence. Our guys are charged up because that gives a lot of them their first win and a lot of times the next ones come easier than that first one and I'm hoping that.

"I think we have a great race team and these guys proved to me the last two weeks that we can go out and race like I used to race in the mid-nineties and drive really spectacular cars and beat people on pit road and beat people on the race track. It's good for all of us. We were doing pretty good before tonight, but we needed that shot in the arm. This is why you work so hard. These guys all make big sacrifices in their lives to do this, big, big, and you need to taste it once in a while. It's the reward for all the blood sweat and tears."

-ford racing-

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About this article
Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers Matt Kenseth , Ted Musgrave , Jack Roush