MARK MARTIN, NO. 01 PRINCIPAL FINANCIAL MONTE CARLO SS: ON RETURNING TO DAYTONA AGAIN AFTER ALL THE HIGHS AND LOWS DURING SPEEDWEEKS "First of all, let me tell you what I think. I think I had a 15th place car in the Daytona 500. I think I had an...
MARK MARTIN, NO. 01 PRINCIPAL FINANCIAL MONTE CARLO SS:
ON RETURNING TO DAYTONA AGAIN AFTER ALL THE HIGHS AND LOWS DURING SPEEDWEEKS "First of all, let me tell you what I think. I think I had a 15th place car in the Daytona 500. I think I had an incredible team with a huge heart and great desire. And I wanted to win this race in the worst way. And I was willing to take more risks than I had ever in my career to do that. Through terrific pit strategy and a car that led the race better than any car I'd ever had before, Ryan and the team got me the lead with 27 laps to go, or 25, really. And we led the last 26 and three-quarters laps.
"Do I think that I could replicate that magic? I think it's hard to replicate that magic. But we're definitely going to try. We're trying to make the car better. We have the same race car with some improvements. We'll do our best to make the car better and do our best to not only replicate that effort, but top it. And that's all I can say. For anyone to expect me to win this race because we led 26 and three-quarters laps of the last 27 laps last time, probably doesn't appreciate the monumental effort and incredible job that we did to be in position to win that race. I think that's easily forgotten by people around me, because they just think it's just like falling off a log and we're just going to come back and close the deal this time.
"I was so proud. I didn't get passed on the restarts. I don't know how many we had. It usually happens; even the last one. I didn't get blown off on the restart. There were so many chances for me to screw that deal up. And I was proud. I was proud to be in front going into Turn 3 and I thought at that point that we were going to be able to close the deal. But when Kyle Busch spun out, my chances went way down. He was the fastest car in the race at that time and he was hemmed in behind me, so I was sitting really pretty until he spun."
HOW MUCH WOULD A WIN HERE MEAN FOR YOU ON SATURDAY? "It would be second only to the Daytona 500. Now that that 500 is behind us, and we didn't close that deal, the next most important race is this one and winning the 400 and when we get through that one, we'll focus on the Brickyard and then when we get through the Brickyard we'll start talking about the Daytona 500. The No.01 team is going to give me another shot at it in '08. So we'll try to close the deal this time."
-credit: gm racing