MARK MARTIN - No. 6 AAA Ford Fusion (Finished 3rd) "Pat and the AAA team have struggled this weekend with the handling on our car. They made some changes for the race today and made a little bit of progress, but we were still a little bit off...
MARK MARTIN - No. 6 AAA Ford Fusion (Finished 3rd)
"Pat and the AAA team have struggled this weekend with the handling on our car. They made some changes for the race today and made a little bit of progress, but we were still a little bit off so on the last run, we switched into a different mode - into a fuel-saving mode and ran a little bit easier. We put a little bit of gas in the bank and it was great strategy by Pat Tryson and our AAA team based on not having the sheer speed to get up there and race with the leaders."
HAVE YOU EVER SEEN THAT KIND OF FINISH?
"Remember, I've been around a long time and seen some pretty crazy stuff. The only thing was usually when that many run out, there weren't that many on the lead lap. In the old days there were fewer cars, so it wasn't quite that dramatic, but, yeah, everybody tried to make it and a lot of them didn't. I want to really praise Jack Roush and Doug Yates for the carburetor on my car and for giving me the opportunity to put a little bit of gas in the bank there on that last run."
THE GROOVE WAS HIGHER THAN EVER HERE. HAS THIS SPEEDWAY ARRIVED?
"We won last year. I certainly thought it arrived last year (laughing). It was really good last year. Personally, I did not care for the tire this year. It was a lot more fun to race last year. This was quite a struggle for the teams this year. This tire seemed to be way hard and have a big swing from a full load of gas to empty gas, and it was much more of a handful. But, yeah, the track is awesome. It's good."
DID YOU RUN OUT OF GAS ON THE FINAL LAP?
"No, I had plenty. We saved enough. I actually ran hard the last lap because I was just racing to get to the white flag because then if we ran out we were at least the first car one lap down or whatever."
IT SEEMED A LOT OF GUYS SPUN OUT IN THREE AND FOUR. ANYTHING GOING ON THERE?
"The tire, in my opinion, was too hard and you had to loosen your car up. It had a real huge swing from being full of gas to empty gas, so you had to start the car out ridiculous loose, and then the tar strips, I almost crashed early in the race up there because the tar strips were slick. Later in the race, I don't think they were as slick, but I never ran across them again. I need to finish, so I just stayed away from them."
YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE POINTS.
"Well, the race is on and that's what the fans deserve and that's what the competitors get. We needed a race like this today for us and we'll just see what happens. Based on my past experience, my expectation would be to wreck next week at Talladega (laughter), but so far I haven't had a disaster, so let's go see what happens. If we come through Talladega, we might have a chance. But, honestly, this was what we needed today. We had hoped to come here and run to third, but we had to switch our strategy at the end because we weren't real fast, so we just slowed down and saved gas instead. As luck had it, it played out where gas mileage came into play."
CAN YOU TALK ABOUT WHEN THE FUEL SAVING MODE WAS MADE?
"I'll be honest with you, the decision wasn't made soon enough by my crew chief. He waited until 20 to go and really until about 15. He told me we were gonna be about a half-a-lap short and then he started nagging me about 15 to go to save gas and I thought, 'Man, I should have been working on it a little bit before now,' but he thought we were a half-a-lap short based on what he saw and I was in a position where I didn't have to race real hard, so I was able to probably bank a lap or two there. We didn't start saving from the get-go. We didn't start saving gas very much until about 20 to go."
IS FUEL MILEAGE SOMETHING WE'RE GOING TO SEE MORE OF THE REST OF THE YEAR?
"Well, to be real honest with you, I don't expect to see it a lot because typically we get a debris caution that doesn't come into play. I don't expect to see that a whole lot the rest of the year - once in a while maybe - but it seems like parts fall off these cars more than ever before."
-credit: ford racing