MARK MARTIN - No. 6 Viagra Taurus (Finished 2nd) DID YOU HAVE ANYTHING FOR THE 48? "No, probably not. I knew we had been saving fuel earlier, but those cautions allowed us to run hard. When I got the last restart, obviously, I went after him...
MARK MARTIN - No. 6 Viagra Taurus (Finished 2nd)
DID YOU HAVE ANYTHING FOR THE 48?
"No, probably not. I knew we had been saving fuel earlier, but those cautions allowed us to run hard. When I got the last restart, obviously, I went after him like I thought I could beat him. I'm just so proud and honored to work with Pat Tryson and Wally Brown and the guys that work on that 6 car. I've been doing this stuff a long, long time and all I ever wanted to do was contend to win these things my whole life. I went through a whole year where we didn't have a chance and it's just a real special feeling that I have toward the guys that work on that car that make this all possible. It sure made me feel young today."
WHAT ABOUT THE JUMP IN POINTS? YOU'RE ONLY 89 POINTS OUT OF 10TH.
"That fact is a miracle. With all of the problems we've had this year it's a miracle. Everybody wants to ask, 'Can we make it into the top 10?' We need to go win the Brickyard. You all know I don't say stuff like that very often. If we do that, then you all come and ask me if we can get to the top 10, but let's don't dwell on that right now because really all that matters to me and my team is winning the Brickyard. That would make up for all the heartbreak that we've experienced this year. That would make a season. It's very difficult to single out one race and go get it, but, you know, my guys after a heartbreak at Charlotte said, 'We've just got to go win Dover.' I thought under my breath, 'Yeah, right.' And we did.
"So after Chicago, that's what I told those guys. I said, 'Don't worry about it. No sweat. Let's just go win the Brickyard and that will make our season and let the points be what they may.' We visited the garage, I think, seven times this year during the races and all with disastrous finishes. So, fast race car, fast race team. This makes it all worthwhile and although our heart was broke at Chicago, we're over it now and we're geared up to go get 'em next week."
WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE NEW POINT SYSTEM?
"I think the fans should like it. I think it's entertainment."
WHAT ABOUT AS A DRIVER?
"I don't like it, but, you know what, I stand to benefit from it so I'm not gonna criticize it at this point because I might be the lucky one. This might be the one year that no one ever expected, but that's just the reason why the fans should like it. Everybody looks at things from all different angles. Most people won't give you an honest answer when you ask 'em that question. The competitor doesn't like it so much, but the fans should love it and for every competitors loss is another man's gain. So if it hurts Jimmie, it will help someone else, so check with that guy. He's gonna give you a thumbs up on it, so that's what it is and that's what we're doing. It should be good for the fans."
WERE YOU RAINED OUT AT YOUR WATKINS GLEN TEST?
"I was very disappointed. We wanted to spend two days there because we haven't been on the money quite as well as we wanted to be. We have two flavors of road-race cars and I wanted to see if I would like chocolate or vanilla, but we're gonna try to figure that out somewhere else this week on Tuesday. We'll see if we can figure that out. We've got a great race team. We did need to improve our road-race car just a little from Sears Point. It was not quite as fast as we expect from our cars, so Pat rounded up another one and we're gonna try that out."
WILL YOU WANT TO KNOW WHERE OTHER GUYS ARE AT DURING THE RACE AS THIS PART OF THE SEASON WINDS DOWN?
"I think Pat will let me know what I need to know, which might be, 'It's OK, you can be conservative, or, you've got to get this done no matter what,' kind of situation. They told me at Chicago, 'We're running great. We're running third. We're fixing to pass the 48 for second and we're gonna have a great points day you guys because the guys we're racing have had trouble.' And with two to go we had trouble. I don't care about it today because after Chicago I don't figure it's gonna happen. That's the kind of guy I am, but that doesn't mean I'm not gonna try to win every race. Racing is what we do, so we went out there and did that today and, oh, by the way, the numbers say we should be all excited again. All I've got to say about that is what we need to do and what we might could do with the team, with the engines, with the car that we have lined up to Indy is go win. If we do that, I'll give you a thumbs-up press room next week."
IF WE HAD LAST YEAR'S SYSTEM THIS YEAR WITH THE WAY JIMMIE IS RUNNING WOULD WE HAVE A FEELING LIKE THE CHAMPIONSHIP RACE WAS OVER?
"Yes, but the thing about that is that he could wreck two weeks in a row and then blow an engine and be third in the points and it would be all different. Yeah, everybody would be throwing their hands up and giving it to him at this point, but these points races have a history of changing and turning over and people having a rash of bad luck. With that, it still wouldn't be a runaway as of yet."
WHY SINGLE OUT INDY AFTER CHICAGO?
"Because it was very realistic with the cars that we have today and I never wish for something that is slightly out of reach, but with the car I ran so well with at Chicago, it's a realistic goal number one. Number two, it's the biggest trophy, the biggest check and the biggest thumbs-up from our sponsor that might be disappointed with our bad luck. I definitely want to hand everyone a great effort because we have. It's been a spectacular effort from our team this year. There are certain days that we didn't get the kind of results that I feel like this team had earned. The problems we've had have not been foreseeable. It wasn't things where we shot ourselves in the foot."
DID YOU THINK TODAY WAS THE DAY?
"I was pretty sure the 48 was gonna be there pretty soon. As a matter of fact, I didn't even run as hard as I could because I knew he was gonna get there and, at that time, we needed to save fuel. I could have led several more laps had I tried to stretch it while he was messing back in traffic, but all that would have done is burn gas and it would have just delayed the inevitable. No, I didn't get too charged up. But if you know me, I don't until it's over."
WHERE ARE YOU TESTING TUESDAY?
"I'd rather keep that private. If you all work very hard at it, you'll figure it out." IN VIRGINIA?
"No. I won't go there because I've never been there and everybody wants me to go and I say it'll take me a half-a-day to learn the track and I might wreck my car. I only like to go to places I've been to before and I've never been to VIR and that just eats Jack up. He just can't stand it. He's on me all the time to go to VIR. When you go to a new road course it takes a half-a-day to get completely up to speed. By the way, I saw Jeff Burton and a couple other guys drag back some mashed-up sheet metal and I'm not up for that."
WAS IT AN IGNITION BOX AT CHICAGO?
"No, we broke a piston at Chicago. It was two ignition boxes at Charlotte, not one but two."
CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THE NEW ENGINE?
"We've got great horsepower right now and we've had a couple of reliability issues in my cars. Most of the other guys don't seem to break 'em, but I could break an anvil in a sand bed and they've learned that and they've experienced the same kind of thing in the past. So they're toughening up the valve train and toughening up the pistons and some of that stuff. I don't know why, but they've got that figured out. There's tremendous horsepower and we ran the fool out of it all day here today and it was all good. I'm looking forward to next week."
DO YOU REMEMBER WHEN FORD TECHNOLOGY WAS THIS STRONG?
"In '98 we were really stout. We won seven races and The Winston, but there was less competition then. Boy, it is difficult. It is really difficult because you've got lots of people with the same stuff you've got and lots of smart people on those teams and every race car driver out there is capable of winning. You didn't always have that. The caliber of drivers out there on the race track today, I would take any one of them and expect to be able to win with them."
DID YOU TEST AT INDY TO CONFIRM YOUR FEELINGS?
"We didn't go and dominate testing, but at that particular test we were top three for sure and you can win from there. Now there was more, so if there were another five that weren't there, then we're a top six or seven or eight. I believe we're a top eight car going in there and then it's what you do and all the circumstances that make a winner. So, do I think I can go there and dominate? I know we can't. Do I think we can go there and win? Yeah, we won Dover. We can win Indy because we weren't dominant by any means at Dover, but at the end of the race there wasn't anybody that could run with us. That's how I feel about Indy. We've got a good shot."
WILL IT BE HARD TO CRACK THE TOP 10 AND DO YOU THINK THE GUYS IN 8-9-10 ARE LOOKING BACK?
"Part two is, no, those guys probably aren't because last week they gained on all of us - Newman and Busch and whoever. Everybody is doing the same old thing. They're racing, they're racing for points, they're racing for pride - whatever it is that you race for, everybody is racing for it as hard as they can go. I said once before and I'll say again, we dug ourselves into a deep hole that I'm not ready to get all excited about. I'm just not worried about it. I want to go try to win the Brickyard and if we go there and win or run and finish like we have today, then I might give you an answer to your question. But today is not a good day to answer that question. We were 160 or something out of it going in and one day can't make up for all the others that went bad. We're gonna have to have more than just a great run today to get there. If we do two back-to-back like this, I might give you a comment on it."
WHY ARE YOU SO GOOD AT POCONO?
"A good handling car. I couldn't tell you. It's a little bit like a road course. I love road-course racing and I've always loved racing here. Obviously, the record shows that I've always come up short, but I haven't come up very short. I'm very proud of the record that I have here, and, believe me, I couldn't do it without great race cars since 1988 - great race cars every time I've been here."