Martin Takes A Quick Pause To Thank Everyone For Support
Veteran touched by outpouring of support from fans, friends and colleagues
"I've been truly touched by all the support that everyone has given us over
the past couple of months -- the fans, the media and even the drivers around
me have all expressed a great deal of support for us and that means the
world to me."
CONCORD, N.C. (Sept. 14, 2004) -- Saturday night's fifth-place finish at Richmond only put an exclamation point on what was one of the greatest runs in Mark Martin's long and storied career in Racing. The finish culminated what had been a mad and frantic dash for Martin and the Viagra* Race Team to make their way into the Nextel Cup top-10 before the all-important cutoff date. In the end the team managed to reel off four top-five finishes in its last five races, making the cut with two places to spare, despite having to battle through several failures, the last of which coming on a cut tire on the last lap at Indianapolis just a month ago that dropped Martin back to 15th place -- 123 points outside of 10th.
Martin took a few moments on Sunday after the race to reflect on the past couple of months and the run that put him in position to race for the Nextel Cup Championship.
"It was probably the hardest thing that I've ever done," said Martin. "We spotted really good teams a lot of points and it took about everything we had to get ourselves back in position to be in this thing. I know that we still have our work cut out for us and it's by no means over, but there is no way the next 10 races will be any more difficult than the last 10 were.
"The first thing that I'd like to do is to thank Pat Tryson, Wally Brown and the entire Viagra* Racing Team. These guys really stepped up to the plate when it counted. I mean it has been so up and down and there were so many times when these guys could have given up. They could have given up after Daytona and they didn't. They could have given up at Martinsville, Charlotte, Pocono, Michigan you name it. It would have been really easy to give up when we lost the engine with two to go at Chicago, but they didn't. We came back and ran strong at Pocono and then Indy. And it is amazing that they didn't lose faith after what happened at Indianapolis on the last lap.
"But again they came back strong and gave me cars that were able to finish in the top-five four or five races down the stretch. I just can't say enough about these guys and that effort. They are loyal to me and this race team, and they never give up. We may forget where we finished this season or what all happened, but I promise to never forget the effort that these guys gave down the stretch.
"We've been under intense pressure," added Martin. "We tested like crazy and haven't been home hardly at all. We've performed at the top of our game with near zero margin for error and I know that it has taken a lot from them. However, now we can go out and just run our race and hopefully win this championship."
Martin also said that the outpouring of support from the garage during the past couple of weeks has touched him.
"It really means a lot to you when the guys in the garage give you that kind of respect," said Martin. "We had to bust our tails to get to where we are and it makes it that much more special when those around you take notice of that.
"There were a lot of drivers that came up to me on Saturday night to offer their congratulations on what we've done," said Martin. "Now these are guys that we compete hard against every week and people that we are going to do everything we can to beat over the next 10 races, and they still show that kind of respect for you and it just means a lot to get that from your peers.
"I've even had several members of the media who have came up and told me that 'although they have to be objective' that they sure were hoping that we made the chase as well.
"I've always tried to do things the right way," added Martin. "We've always tried to race everyone as clean as possible and treat people the way that we like being treated, so it's just rewarding when people get behind you and respect you for that."
As always Martin also took a moment to thank the fans out there that have continued to support him through both the good and the bad times.
"I also have to thank all of the fans out the. The Six Pfamily has supported me no matter what," said Martin. "And I just can't say enough about those guys and what that support means to us. I know it wasn't easy last year when we were running 25th every week to keep watching and cheering -- heck it wasn't easy in the car either.
"And I know it wasn't easy when we said we thought we could win the Daytona 500 and we only lasted eight laps, but you guys always stick with us. The fans have been there through all of the heartache over the years and even this year, and I sure do hope they have had a good time over the past month or so. I sure hope that they enjoyed Saturday night as much as we did. I also know that no matter if we finish 10th in this run for the championship or if we win it, it won't matter, because those guys will be 100 percent behind us the entire way and that kind of support really makes it all worth while to me."
Martin says that he and his team will now shift their focus to Loudon, the first race of 10 that stands between him and the inaugural Nextel Cup Championship.
"We're getting ready to go to Loudon," said Martin. "That's the next race and that's the biggest race this week, so we are going to go and try to win the thing. We know that we've come a long way, but it's a whole new season now. We can't rest on anything and we sure can't let up. We're in the thing, but we are up against the best of the best. You can rest assured that we'll give it our best shot, and no matter what happens we'll know that we never gave up on this thing."
Roush Racing is a subsidiary of Livonia, Mich., based Roush Industries that operates nine motorsports teams; five in NASCAR Nextel Cup with drivers Mark Martin, Matt Kenseth, Kurt Busch, Greg Biffle and Carl Edwards; two in the Busch Series with Martin, Kenseth and Biffle, and two in the Craftsman Truck Series with drivers Jon Wood and Edwards.