MARK MARTIN -- No. 6 AAA Ford Fusion (Finished 2nd) YOU ALMOST HAD HIM WITH 12 LAPS TO GO. "Yeah, I really had the best case scenario at the end -- enough gas to make it and a green flag fuel stop run. My car was great on the long run and we...
MARK MARTIN -- No. 6 AAA Ford Fusion (Finished 2nd)
YOU ALMOST HAD HIM WITH 12 LAPS TO GO.
"Yeah, I really had the best case scenario at the end -- enough gas to make it and a green flag fuel stop run. My car was great on the long run and we ran him down. He got a handful of steering wheel and found some more speed. I really thought we could get him there with 15 to go. We caught him in traffic and got up beside of him, but he got up on the wheel and go it done. It was a great effort by our AAA team. Our car was fantastic on the long runs and I've got to work on it on the short runs to get it a little bit better. If I hadn't lost so much ground to start with we would have been alright, but we just lost a lot of ground on the start."
WERE YOU SURPRISED WHEN YOU GOT ALONGSIDE THAT HE WAS ABLE TO PULL AHEAD AND WIN BY 2 SECONDS?
"Once he got back out in front I made a couple of other dives at it, but once he got back out in front he stepped it up a notch. It got to the point where I wasn't gonna be able to beat him. That two seconds isn't any indication. That two seconds means I tried to keep the air in the tires and the gas in the carburetor, but we gave it everything we had. I really had the best case scenario for my car and I really thought we would have enough, but it was just a whisker short of getting it done."
DID YOU RUN DIFFERENT ON THE LAST RUN AS FAR AS TAKING CARE OF TIRES?
"I didn't save anything. My car was just slow on the start. I flogged it to death and I had enough eventually to get to him. If I could have got in front of him I might have been able to take his line away and got it done, but it was so strong. When we got there my tires were gone and his were too, but he was in front. I certainly didn't save anything. I'm proud as I can be of the effort that we made. We probably had the fans standing on their feet there for a little bit and that's what it's all about."
DO YOU CONSCIOUSLY MAKE A DECISION THAT YOU'RE NOT GOING TO PASS KASEY AND JUST TRY TO SAVE YOUR CAR?
"I definitely thought I was gonna get it done when I got beside him. I thought I was gonna get by him and be able to motor out a little ways and pull the thing off. When I didn't make that pass, I thought, 'Well, that's OK I'll get it again.' But then we certainly had some tough traffic breaks and when we caught them that didn't favor me after that. He got enough distance on me and then I thought, 'I can catch him with six to go or five to go,' and then he got enough distance on me that that wasn't very realistic. With five to go, based on some traffic and everything, had gotten far enough out that I didn't have enough tire left to reel him back in again. We really used everything I had getting there the first time."
TIRE WEAR WAS LIKE DARLINGTON OR ROCKINGHAM AND SLOWER CARS COULD PIT AND THEN ROCKET BY THE LEADERS. IS THAT A GOOD THING?
"That's the greatest thing in racing right there."
WOULD YOUNGER DRIVERS HAVE TRIED TO PUSH THE LIMIT ONCE THEY REALIZED THEY WOULDN'T BE ABLE TO PASS FOR THE LEAD?
"Let me tell you something, if anybody would have pushed my car a hair harder they would have wrecked. It's just that when you get caught in lap traffic and you lose 20 car lengths and there are five laps to go, it's not realistic after you've already reeled him back in once. I caught some bad breaks in traffic and I got too far back with five to go and unless he got caught again it wasn't gonna happen. He had some clear race track, so that was the race. My bid for the win was with 15 to go. I made my bid for the win and I fought for it as hard as I could fight for it and I got beat."
THOUGHTS ON BILL LESTER'S PERFORMANCE TODAY?
"He got 500 miles in or right near that and that was his goal. He ran hard. He drove his car hard and he learned a lot about the race track and about the tires -- probably three truck races worth in one day. He did a fabulous job. He was giving her everything he had and I'm happy for him. I'm happy that he's gotten an opportunity to drive a Cup car and made the most of it today."