MARK MARTIN - No. 6 Viagra Taurus (Qualified 2nd) HOW WAS YOUR LAP? "I don't remember. It went by so fast, I don't know. I'm just real happy with that. We haven't been able to do anything right, including draw 39th. We thought that was...
MARK MARTIN - No. 6 Viagra Taurus (Qualified 2nd)
HOW WAS YOUR LAP?
"I don't remember. It went by so fast, I don't know. I'm just real happy with that. We haven't been able to do anything right, including draw 39th. We thought that was gonna be a good draw and it got cool and overcast and everybody ran fast, then the rain came and I thought, 'Well, now the sun is gonna be out and we're gonna be on the tail end of the bad draw deal again,' but it turned out to not be an issue. Ben Leslie and the guys had a really good setup on the car and made it possible to crank out a lap like that."
WILL THIS PUMP YOU UP FOR THE RACE, BEING ON THE FRONT ROW?
"It's OK. It's a starting spot and is sure beats starting in the back and the pit selection is horrendous. Once you get in the back of this thing it's just unbelievable. We had a pretty good car here in the spring. We qualified bad, got halfway through the field and had to turn around and go back to the back of the field again based on a problem in the pits, I think, or something. It's a nightmare when you do that. Just because we start up front doesn't mean we're gonna be dealt a nightmare. We have to stay fast in the pits, get a good selection, stay fast in the pits and stay fast on the race track and stay out of trouble. We need to do all those things - have the car setup right and everything else just in order to have a chance to run in the top 10. So there's a lot more to it than most people think."
WHAT WOULD IT DO FOR YOUR TEAM TO WIN HERE?
"My race team deserves it. They have done a winning job of keeping their morale up and keeping their nose to the grindstone. Just because we haven't had good luck on the race track this year and we've had some sub-par performances doesn't mean that they don't deserve the same kind of success that we've enjoyed in the past. So I would be real happy for them. It would be good for me, but these guys are the ones that deserve it. I've been blessed with a terrific career, with much more success than I probably even deserve, so I'm not feeling cheated right now but I do feel like they've sort of been cheated a little bit."
CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THE CHALLENGES OF BRISTOL?
"The concrete is tougher to race on than the asphalt was and 43 cars is much more difficult than 36 was. The rate of difficulty here in today's racing is probably the most intense and the most difficult of anything we do - certainly one of - and as Michael (Waltrip) said, you have to come into this thing with the mindset of 'we're putting on a show,' because you can't control so many things that happen to you here. You can't control everything anywhere, but, here, you can't hardly control anything that happens to you. It is a difficult race, but it is definitely a fan favorite."
KURT MADE SOME COMMENTS ABOUT RACING TACTICS AND KNOCKING FENDERS IN AND THAT BEING ACCEPTABLE TO DAMAGE ANOTHER DRIVER'S AERODYNAMICS. COULD YOU COMMENT ON THAT? "What do you want me to say?" WOULD YOU KNOCK SOMEONE'S FENDER IN?
"Look, you've seen me race forever. If I tried to knock someone's fender in, the only thing that would happen would knock mine in (laughing). There ain't no dang way. Not only would I knock mine in, but the hood would fly off (laughing). You know me. That wouldn't work for me. I don't know. I wasn't here for Kurt's press conference. I'm a big supporter of Kurt Busch. Kurt Busch has given me the respect on the race track - more than I deserve. I can't say what kind of respect he's given to certain other competitors, but I know he drives a really fast car and he's a really good driver and he's fairly aggressive like a number of other young race car drivers out there that drive really fast cars. I might be biased on Kurt Busch's behalf, but I don't see him causing anymore trouble than any of those other young guys that drive really fast race cars out there, but, yet, I haven't been driving the 7 car so I can't answer for that. I know that you're gonna have problems on the race track from time to time with anybody. I've had my problems on the race track with drivers, but the thing that has helped me along the way is I've had a history of when something went bad on the race track of saying, 'Look, now you know that I made a mistake. You know I made a mistake and I can't change that.' And we've been able to put things behind us that have happened between some other drivers very easily because when I've made the ugliest of mistakes, I've been forgiven because of my history. That's what every driver has to do is build a history out there and as he builds that history over a long period of time, people will judge how much tolerance they have for things that go on out there. That's the way it's done. Everybody is building that. I'm still building mine and some of these rookies are building theirs as we speak, so I don't know where to go with all that. I haven't been involved in those skirmishes, so I really don't know. Honestly, I don't know what the problem is. I don't know why those guys are having trouble. I don't understand that because neither one of them really should. I don't know what's up and why they've had trouble."