This Week in Ford Racing March 21, 2006 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series The NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series will hit the short tracks of Bristol Motor Speedway and Martinsville Speedway the next two weeks after the first four events of the season took...
This Week in Ford Racing
March 21, 2006
NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series
The NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series will hit the short tracks of Bristol Motor Speedway and Martinsville Speedway the next two weeks after the first four events of the season took place on superspeedways. Ford drivers looked ahead to the upcoming stretch and gave their thoughts.
MARK MARTIN -- No. 6 AAA Ford Fusion -- HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THE NEXT THREE RACES ON THE SCHEDULE? "I don't like Martinsville, but we run okay there. It's challenging and frustrating, but we're gonna be great at all of our good places and the places we aren't good at we're gonna try to be great."
TWO SHORT TRACKS BACK TO BACK. WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE THEM SEPARATED? "I've got to be honest with you, there's no more aggressive driving at those tracks than there are the big ones. As a matter of fact, on the bigger ones it's more of a problem because there are larger consequences. As far as that goes, it's not an issue. It's something you deal with every weekend."
WHEN WE GO TO A PLACE LIKE TEXAS DO YOU THINK THERE WILL BE MORE SIDE-BY-SIDE RACING? "First of all, side-by-side racing is a sore spot with me because everybody tries so hard to make it, and NASCAR, everything they're doing takes it away. If you make all the cars the same speed, how in the world are they gonna run side by side? There's not gonna be any passing. You can work as hard as you want to on the race tracks or worry about this or that, but at the end of the day there's gonna be less passing than there used to be because there's not fast cars and slow cars."
WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE? "Nothing. You all need to quit talking about side-by-side racing and just enjoy it. It's a great sport. I love it. I love to watch it. Don't worry about it so much."
WHAT'S THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE AT A PLACE LIKE TEXAS? "Everything but Daytona and Talladega is all about handling, so it's all the same. Whether you go from Martinsville to Michigan or Sears Point, it's all about going through the corners."
HOW DOES THE SENSATION OF SPEED FEEL WHEN YOU COMPARE ATLANTA AND TEXAS? "It's almost crazy fast, but as long as you're under control it's not bad. Texas is a great speedway. The track is in good condition. I hope they don't repave it in the next 10 years. It's a great place to race."
YOU'VE BEEN INVOLVED IN SO MANY RACES ALREADY THIS SEASON. ARE YOU HAVING FUN? "I'm not miserable. I've had some fun with the truck. I've had some fun with the Cup car. It's hard to sustain that for 500 miles. I had a blast at California in the Cup car. It was some of the most fun I've ever had like in 10 years of Cup racing until the end when they threw caution after caution after caution. Then I was the maddest I've been in a long time, so I'm having a good time. I'd have more fun if I had a little bit more time on my hands, but we don't. This is probably the best time in my life and I probably just don't realize it. This is probably the best time in my whole life. I'll probably look back on this and say, 'That was the best time in my life.' We have the best sponsors, the best team, the members. I've worked 47 years to be where I am here today and it's probably all downhill from here, so I'd better be enjoying it."
DO YOU HAVE FUN ON RACE DAY FOR MATT? "Sometimes, but usually I'm a little bit too nervous. I have an awful good time with him no matter what we do. It's the highest point in my life, spending time with Matt, and that's followed right along by Arlene."
HE'S MOVING UP FAST. "Yeah, he started late model now and that's more fun than ever for me because that's what I was doing before I started this. I've been working in the shop a lot. I'm having a ball with those things."
DO YOU LIKE THE WAY HE APPROACHES THINGS? "I like him a lot. He's gonna be really successful at whatever he does. I could care less if he races or not. Well, I really could. I'm not sure that I want him to, but on the other hand, I want him to be good at whatever he does so if he's gonna race, I'm gonna help him."
HE SEEMS COMMITTED TO IT AT THIS POINT. "He's fairly committed. He's 14 and we don't have to make a life decision today on what it is, but he's pretty good at it. He's sure gonna be a lot better with the fans and the media than I am. He's got a lot more personality."
CARL EDWARDS -- No. 99 Office Depot Ford Fusion -- "Bristol is awesome. Winning the Truck Series race there a couple of years ago at Bristol is one of the highlights of my career. I love racing there. We've had terrible luck there, but I think most of it has been luck. I think our Office Depot team can run pretty well there, we just have to go out and do it. We really have no pressure going to Bristol because we've never run well, so it's like anything will be acceptable there, but I think we're gonna run well."
ELLIOTT SADLER -- No. 38 M&M's Ford Fusion -- "I'm looking forward to going to Bristol now because it's a track that's not so aero dependent. If you get there and you get it pretty close with the chassis, you're gonna have a pretty good day. We qualified on the pole there last year and had a second-place finish the first race, so we've got some high hopes. We're carrying the same car back and we need something good to happen to this race team. We haven't run that very well since Daytona and we need to go somewhere where something good is gonna happen to this team and get some momentum back on our side."
MATT KENSETH -- No. 17 DeWalt Ford Fusion -- "It's always fun to go back to a track, especially one that you won at, but what happened last year doesn't really have much relevance on this year. You can go back with the same car and the same setup and it might not run anything like that. You just don't know, but everybody, I think, looks forward to going to Bristol. It's a fun track. It's really fun to drive around. Sometimes it's frustrating because it's a little tough to pass and it's tight quarters and you can get caught up in somebody else's mess, but it's really fun and challenging as a driver to get around that place."
DO YOU LIKE THIS STRETCH OF RACES? "Yeah, I enjoy them all except for Martinsville. I don't especially enjoy going there. It's really hard to pass and really slow. It's kind of the opposite of Atlanta, so it's a tough place to run these cars at. It's probably one of my worst places, but, other than that, I enjoy all of them."
WHAT'S ONE OF YOUR CRAZIEST BRISTOL MOMENTS? "I think of more about the wrecks and stuff. I guess the craziest moments I can think of is I couldn't be there for Busch qualifying one year and we had to start in the back. We drove all the way to the front and I was passing Hornaday for the lead and he slid way up and took me out for the lead. So I remember that because I was in that Busch car and we drove all the way to the front. We had the best car and ended up getting wrecked, so that was probably one of my most memorable and crazier moments."