Roush Racing - No. 6 Viagra Taurus
PAT TRYSON, Crew Chief
"Once we got out front in clean air he never gave up the lead, except for during pit stops and he just did an awesome job. The car was handling good and he was able to stay up front."
CAN YOU TALK ABOUT YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH MARK? "Obviously, he's been a veteran that has proven he can win and our team is pretty much the same team that he had when he finished second in points with the exception of one or two people. He's won so many races and it was nice to go to Victory Lane with him in Charlotte and again here and at Dover. Really, he's carried us more than we've carried him, but there's just a lot of mutual respect between him and our whole team and that's probably what makes it work really well."
WAS IT EASY FOR THE GUYS TO STAY ONE MORE YEAR? "Yeah, it wasn't really hard to get them convinced. They were all pretty much lined up to begin with to stay with Mark for his last year, so now we have to do the same thing for this year and try to get them all to stay again. It might be a little harder this year, but I'm sure we'll get at least most of them to stay."
THOUGHTS ON BIFFLE CLOSING THE GAP LATE? "It was pretty stressful. Greg was pretty fast all day. He was pretty fast on long runs and most of the long runs early in the race he was coming and catching us there. We were a little worried, but catching Mark and passing him are two different things. He would have been pretty hard to pass for the win, and, like I said, fortunately Greg's car got a little loose one time and gave us just enough cushion where we could hold him off there to the end. Mark never made a mistake and Greg tried as hard as he could."
WHY IS IT MARK HAS SO MUCH RESPECT WITH OTHER COMPETITORS? "He's just really, really a classy individual. You don't ever hear him about wrecking somebody. Nine times out of 10 he gives everybody racing room and treats them with courtesy out there. If you're faster than him, he lets you go and then he'll race you back later when he catches you. He just treats everybody with respect and he's just been a class individual throughout his entire career."
YOU TOOK TWO TIRES ON THE LAST STOP? "On the last stop we did four. The stop that originally put us in the front we did two, and then we did four the last two times. It was my decision to do two when we did two that time. We did the one under green was four and then the last one was four under caution. The one that got us the lead the first time was two tires."
CAN HE STILL WIN THE TITLE? "Anything is possible. I just look at it as we've got to try to make up 20 points a race and I think we made up 20 today, so we just have to do it again next week."
"It was a great race. We had a great car on Friday. We knew that we had a good car. I was very pleased with it. A lot of times when Sunday rolls around and you lay all that rubber down on the race track things change, but this car just kept getting better as the race went. We made very few adjustments. The adjustements we made were really right. Pat made some great calls on pit road. We got the lead before halfway and we led the whole race. That's the formula for heartbreak in my world because more often than not something goes wrong to spoil that, so I was relieved after the race. It wasn't the most exciting win of my career. It was one that is well deserved by my team and as long as I live I will remember it for the feeling that it feels like to give to my team. They deserve to win so much. They're the ones that I went to a year ago and said, 'Guys, please, let's keep this team together so that I can have one last shot at this thing.' So no matter what happens from here on out, we've had a great year, we've had a great race. We've won here. We won the all-star race. We made the chase and those guys are my heroes."
JACK ROUSH - Team Owner
"I don't feel like we had a sweep because we didn't have all five in the top five, but certainly we had a good spread. The different race tracks wind up having a characteristic that suits maybe the package that one set of engineers put together or one set of drivers like. We really like the tire that Goodyear has given us this year. We like the fact that NASCAR cut an inch off the spoiler last year. If you get the car setup so you have to turn it with the front end, there are problems coming for it as a number of the teams have and we've had on some occasions. But the formula for what the car is has a lot of speed in it for mile-and-a-half race tracks if you've got the courage and if you've got the feel for where the speed is. Happily, Mark and all of our guys have got that. We haven't been great at road racing. Obviously, we haven't won a road race for a while. We certainly haven't been the heat at restrictor plate races, even though we've got the same engines that are doing a great job there. So we're not great every place we go, but we have been fairly deliberate about putting our emphasis on race tracks that are the most fun and race tracks that have the greatest opportunity for a driver to make a big difference as opposed to Daytona or Talladega, where it's almost like Russian Roulette to go to those places. If Roush Racing, if Mark Martin can't do his business at Kansas City or at Charlotte or at Atlanta, well then we're in desperate trouble and we're definitely not on our game. But what happened here today is reflected in that the cars were well driven, they were well prepared by hard working teams and the judgments that the crew chiefs made were just excellent. The crew chief stands as captain of the ship. He's the supreme commander as he stands on top of his pit box. I don't interfere with him and nobody else does. He makes his decisions - two tires, no tires, gas only, whatever - and Pat was the man of the hour today. He got two tires on the car early, had the car good enough and understood what he needed to do so that it would be meaningful and would get him ready for later. There were two times when Mark got a little bit in trouble with track position based on not having a car exactly the way he wanted it and not overdriving it, and Pat was able to put him in contention with two tires and had it where it would work. So the tires did a great job. Pat did a super job and all the guys stood in their spot and did what they needed to do. That's what we've got to do for the trust that our sponsors put in us, for the business arrangements we've got with Ford and NASCAR and for all the trust and support we get from our fans."
WAS THIS PRACTICE FOR WHEN NASCAR ALLOWS YOU TO ONLY HAVE THREE CARS? "This is the third time this week you've tried to get my goat. My goat is pretty much gone where you're concerned (laughing). We actually had four in the top five and I'm as proud of the fourth one as I am the front three, except for Mark. I'm really proud of him and what they were able to do. Mike Helton said at the banquet this year, and I thought it was a compliment at the time, that Roush Racing looked like it might be headed toward a dynasty. There have clearly been dynasties before. Hendrick had one for a period of time. Petty's had one forever. The Wood Brothers had one for what they did. Junior Johnson, and so forth. I thought it was a compliment, but I'm not sure what NASCAR will do. I was specific as I want to be in my comments with regard to the meeting that I wasn't invited to, that I still haven't received any official notification of nor any indication of an intention or plan to change policy, but we'll be in this business as long as we can make business sense out of it as long as either myself or somebody around me that is strong enough cares to lead the darn thing. Whether it's three teams, two teams or one team or five teams count us in."
DOES A WIN LIKE THIS MAKE THE THOUGHT OF RUNNING NEXT YEAR MORE INTERESTING FOR YOU? "You know that I use strange psychology on myself. It really doesn't because I know how hard it is to be Greg Biffle. I know how hard it is to be Kurt Busch or Carl Edwards or Matt Kenseth when he's having his day. So to be real honest with you, it doesn't do anything because I know how hard it is. This is what I want for my team and for us to go out again in '06 and for me to think that we can do this again is something that I won't go there. That's way, way too hard. I can't tell you how hard my team and I have had to work to do this. One of the ways I was able to find enough to do it here this year is because I thought it was the last, and I don't know where I'll find that. I don't know if I can find that much again next year. We'll just have to wait and see and worry about next year when this one is over with, but right now we have an opportunity to win a number of races and you never know. All we can do is keep racing our tails off."
HOW MUCH DO YOU ENJOY THESE WINS LATE IN YOUR CAREER? "The all-star win was overwhelming for some reason. I'm not sure why. The thrill, the excitement of it. The invert, how difficult it was. I guess maybe the accomplishment. I felt like I really contributed to that win that night. I drove a heck of a race. Today, is great. It's more of a relief. For over half the race I was sitting there wondering what was gonna get in between me and winning that thing. But every time, especially, I don't care who you are, every time you win could be your last but especially for guys like DJ and myself. Certainly, this one puts it closer to the end of my career in Cup and I'm happy for that, although this one came in dominating fashion I would say. It came in a strong enough way to say that you could see that happen again this year with that race car. That is the car I ran Dover and, man, we ran good there. We ran so good that we took two tires and still finished fourth when everybody took four at the end. It was a good car there. All I want to think about is these last six races. That's what my focus is on. I've got the blinders on and I can't see anything else."
HOW DO YOU FEEL WITH FOUR MORE 1.5-MILE TRACKS COMING UP? "Charlotte is next. Woohoo! (laughter). I love Charlotte. I look forward to going there and I look forward to going to Atlanta. Texas has been a slight thorn in my side. It shouldn't be after this weekend. We're planning on borrowing Kurt's car again for Phoenix, so I feel good about that. We finished seventh at Loudon and that was the first top 10 I've had there in forever, so Phoenix should go OK. I'm excited about going to Homestead. I get to drive my truck. I was down there testing it Monday and Tuesday and is it gonna be a ball. That was a Ford F-150 Roush truck."
THOUGHTS ON LAP TRAFFIC LATE IN THE RACE? "I wasn't freaked out about lapped traffic because they were fairly aware that there were 10 laps to go. They were pretty good, solid guys. Kevin Lepage and guys that were solid. They knew what was going on. There wasn't a huge concern. Besides, I spent 20 laps with Biffle breathing down my neck and I actually had some space. He gained and gained and gained and then I started pulling out inside the last 10 laps and getting some breathing room. So once I was able to put some distance back between us, I knew that I had a cushion and new it was gonna be hard for him to get by me. Obviously, getting detained by a lapped car could have cost us, but I wasn't real concerned about it based on the guys we were catching."
DO YOU FEEL YOU STILL HAVE A CHANCE AT THE TITLE? "I just would have like to have gotten beat this year - beat. We still have a chance at the championship, but we have an 80 percent as good a chance as we had before. Before it was gonna be real hard because it's real competitive. If you look at the finish of however many races we've run - four in the chase -- every race seven of the chasers finish in the top 10. How are you gonna make up 140 points like that? Be realistic. I'm just realistic, that's all. It could happen. Everybody else in the chase can turn upside-down or whatever - have a disaster - but realistically it's just gonna be a whole lot harder. You could conceivably win every single race the rest of the year and if whoever is leading the points finishes second in every race it won't happen. That's real."
ROUSH THOUGHTS ON LETTING TEAMMATES LEAD A LAP WHEN YOU MIGHT LOSE THE TITLE BY FOUR POINTS. "That's what I'm thinking. I heard Mike, the spotter for Kenseth, saying he wouldn't give five points or four points to his mother. Of course, knowing Mike that fit just perfect. I don't expect them, in fact I'll be real disappointed if they pull over and let one another have an advantage. The thing I stand on pit wall watching and cheering for is I look forward to the day when they roll one another up in a ball coming off turn four for the checkered flag because when that happens, and it hopefully will happen, I'll gain and they'll gain and we'll all gain a little credibility for the fact that it is about winning the race. We all work hard. I see to it that they all work hard to help one another, but at the end of the day we owe it to our sponsors. There's not a pecking order with our sponsors. There's not a pecking order with our teams. Mark has got to go earn his stripes against Carl Edwards or Todd Kluever or whoever else is sitting there. That's just the way it is. That's the trust that we have that we carry and giving somebody points that might wind up determining the championship against one or the other or another competitor is certainly not kosher and that's not where we're coming from."
IT'S TWO STRAIGHT WEEKS FOR VETERAN DRIVERS TO WIN. HOW MUCH HARDER IS IT NOW? "All I can tell you is it's a lot more difficult now than it was 20 years ago. It's nice. It was really great to see DJ win at Talladega and this was good for me, but it gets more difficult as you go."