Las Vegas: Martin post-race interview

MARK MARTIN, NO. 01 U.S. ARMY MONTE CARLO SS - Finished 5th; NNCS Points Leader "I was just telling Ryan Pemberton that he is one of the best I have ever worked with -- what a strong crew chief. The U.S. Army Chevy was fantastic. We were ...

MARK MARTIN, NO. 01 U.S. ARMY MONTE CARLO SS - Finished 5th; NNCS Points Leader

"I was just telling Ryan  Pemberton that he is one of the best I have ever
worked with  --  what a strong crew chief. The U.S. Army Chevy was fantastic. We
were  looking like a third place car but then on the (final) restart the car
picked up  a real bad push. It was a great run -- I am so proud of this team
-- I  am having the time of my life driving this car. It's going to be hard to
get out  of it."
AS  LONG AS YOU KEEP COLLECTING THESE POINTS WE'RE GOING TO ASK YOU ABOUT
BRISTOL --  ANY CHANGE OF MIND?

"You keep asking -- no change yet."

DESCRIBE HOW THIS SEASON HAS UNFOLDED FOR YOU SO FAR

"A dream, just a dream. I was telling Ryan he's one of the strongest crew chiefs I ever worked with. So proud of this U. S. Army team. We had a better car than fifth; it was a third. I couldn't run with those first two -- Gordon and Johnson. On the (final) restart it just picked up a real bad push. I don't know if we had a tire going down or what. I just had to stop going into the corners. I'm thrilled to get a top five when we weren't at our best at the end. It's really a privilege to work with these guys. I am just loving life."

DID YOU EVER IMAGINE IT WOULD BE GOING THIS WELL?

"When we made the announcement in Talladega in October I saw a lot of headlines like Why Mark, Why? I believed this was the place for me and I am really happy I made the move. This is a fantastic organization. It isn't as good as it's going to get. We're going to keep working. I think they want me to hang around for a long time and I like that because I love racing and I love the fans and I'm having the time of my life."

IF YOU'RE STILL THE POINT LEADER GOING INTO BRISTOL WILL YOU STILL STEP ASIDE?

"This  was an awful good car today...I was out there having fun. I don't want
this to  get away as far as having a great team and a great opportunity. We
made this  deal, they made the deal and Bobby Ginn told me a deal was a deal. I
am  still happy with the decision I made. But I will tell you with cars like
I had  at the last three races -- especially today because this was a race I
was dreading with this tire and racetrack -- but it was just a  dream."
HAS  THE THOUGHT AT ALL ENTERED YOUR MIND THAT YOU NEED TO ALTER YOUR PLANS A
LITTLE  BIT AND CHALLENGE FOR THIS CHAMPIONSHIP?
"Let's  just worry about that later. I was happy with the run; I'm happy with
the team  and happy with what I laid out. We don't need to be talking about
that  right now."

WHAT WERE THE CONDITIONS LIKE TODAY?

"Not  as bad as I expected. Maybe I had a better car. I am just tickled with
this U.S. Army  Chevy.  I expected it to be one of the most painful days on
the  racetrack that we've had. All the drivers did a fabulous job. They  were
very careful around each other.  I'm not a good driver on this kind of
tire...it's not my specialty. I love this car, but we can't take it next  week (to
Atlanta). And what Ryan (Pemberton) is saying right now, I'm  believing. Whatever
he says I am taking it to the bank. He's on  it."

-credit: gm racing

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Series NASCAR Sprint Cup