Mark Martin Daytona 400 Post-Qualifying Interview

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By Team Chevy

MARK MARTIN, NO. 5 CARQUEST AUTO PARTS/GODADDY.COM CHEVROLET – POLE WINNER

TALK ABOUT 50 POLES OVER YOUR CAREER: "I've had the pleasure of driving a lot of fast race cars and working with a lot of great teams through the years and I'm really grateful for that. This is really special because I know how much work goes into the four restrictor plate races each year by Hendrick Motorsports and with the competition the way it is today, it's kind of amazing that they manage to sweep the restrictor plate poles. It is just an engineering feat by all. The engine department, chassis department, aero and by the No. 5 guys themselves to squeeze a little bit more out of that one particular than our teammates. It's really pretty cool to be a part of that team. I was the lucky guy that really had nothing to do with it other than to be the lucky guy that got to strap in it today."

YOU ARE CLOSE TO JEFF (GORDON) CAN YOU GUYS RUN TOGETHER FOR THREE-QUARTERS OF THE RACE AND SETUP FOR THE END? It is possible. We could have mechanical problems or accidents that would prevent that. You have to watch the race to find out what is going to happen. At Talladega it worked for 100% of the race but, there's no guarantees in these things. There is no way to know. Certainly expect the unexpected come tomorrow night. We will just have to watch and see. We'll see."

TALK ABOUT YOUR LAP HERE: "I really didn't expect to get the pole. When I ran it could have been first or 21st. I had no idea. They didn't tell me what my first lap way, that it was actually the quickest of the first laps so I had no idea. You just go out and do your thing. At Talladega we went out and we thought we had a shot at the pole and we didn't. So, I assumed this being the same car, we wouldn't necessarily have a shot at the pole here. But these things are really finicky and they should have, and expected, a shot at the pole in Talladega and didn't. Evidently they tweaked things just right this time just to get that last little bit of speed out of it, more than anyone else."

DO YOU BELIEVE THERE IS A COMING INTO THE POINTS FROM UNDER THE RADAR GIVEN YOUR POSITION RIGHT NOW? "I'm racing because I love racing. I'm competitive and tried to best every single day that we roll out on the race track. It would be really really nice to make the Chase, but I'm not counting the points. I'm not counting the points that closely. Right now, I am focused on trying to elevate the performance of our team. It is not as much about scoring points. We need to turn up the wick some. So that is where I have been focusing and if we could get on a roll, we could work our way into the Chase, but we can't do that without stepping up the performance so that is where the focus really is. I honestly love racing and I think the race is very important. Sometimes, that in the race gets lost in points tallies. We're truly...I love racing. That is really what is really truly important to me. That is where my focus is.

“My focus is the performance. Trying to get more out of our efforts because we are all working really hard. We need to step it up some to have better performance. If we do that, we will score enough points to get in. If we don't, what's the point of counting the points."

JEFF (GORDON) SAID YESTERDAY HE DIDN'T KNOW IF THE TRACK WOULD BEHAVE DIFFERENTLY IN THE SUMMER THAN IN FEBRUARY? "It seemed the same as February what little time we ran, eight laps or something. Maybe ten. It seemed the same."

YOU HAVE SAID YOU HAVE ACCOMPLISHED WAY MORE THAN YOU EVER THOUGHT AND YOU WOULD HAVE NO REGRETS. YOU’VE BEEN HERE NOW 53 TIMES AND YOU DON’T HAVE ONE (WIN) HERE YET. WOULD THAT BE A REGRET TO HAVE NEVER WON AT DAYTONA? “No. (laughter). You know what? I’m pretty darn lucky to have gotten to race at Daytona, period; much less 53 times. That’s the way I look at it. I’m pretty darn lucky.”

YOUR FIRST REAL ACHIEVEMENT HERE WAS IN 1989 WHEN YOU WON THE POLE FOR DAYTONA. YOU TOOK A LOT OF TIME TALKING WITH THE MEDIA. YOU WERE HAPPY. CAN YOU RELATE THAT DAY TO THIS MOMENT? “Well, unfortunately I don’t recall doing that. But I certainly recall a couple of the July races here that we should have won and didn’t. So, I do remember that; running out of gas with 12 laps to go. We didn’t quite even get close. And some things like that. But hey, I’ve been really fortunate. I’ve had a chance to race 53 times here. I’ve survived some really hard crashes here and I’ve had some good times here. I’ve got a lot to be thankful for. The place doesn’t owe me a thing. Matter of fact, I owe the place and the sport a great deal for just letting me be a part of it.”

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Series NASCAR-CUP
Tags daytona international speedway, ford, mark martin, nascar, nscs, roush racing, sprint cup