MARK MARTIN, POP TARTS / CARQUEST IMPALA SS -- Qualified 2nd: TALK ABOUT YOUR QUALIFYING EFFORT AND THE TRACK CONDITIONS: "The track was just absolutely incredible. I don't know how many laps Kasey (Kahne) made but I made four including ...
MARK MARTIN, POP TARTS / CARQUEST IMPALA SS -- Qualified 2nd:
TALK ABOUT YOUR QUALIFYING EFFORT AND THE TRACK CONDITIONS:
"The track was just absolutely incredible. I don't know how many laps Kasey (Kahne) made but I made four including qualifying. All four of my laps were spectacular. I am really excited about my race car. It drove so well in practice and that was obviously a really, really great lap. Great race car. It is this race team. It is Alan Gustafson continues to amaze me. The guy is incredible and we are just working really well together."
HOW MUCH OF A PLUS WAS IT TO GET PRACTICE AT ABOUT THE SAME TIME YOU WILL RUN THE RACE?
"As far as I am concerned, that practice was just a complete wash because we were the first cars on the race track with no rubber. Then the Nationwide cars put some rubber. Most of us were in Q (qualifying) trim anyway. I don't think you could have done real substantial race trim stuff with zero rubber on the race track. But we got qualifying in and that was good."
DO YOU THINK THE SPEED THAT YOU HAVE FOUND IN THIS CAR WILL MAKE FOR A RACIER RACE ON SATURDAY NIGHT?
"You know, an enormous amount of that speed was track conditions. Surprisingly, it was really fast, grippy for no rubber. Sometimes this place needs rubber to get better. I think it is going to be great. It is always great racing here. Continues to get better. The teams continue to make the cars better. I think the no-testing thing has been awesome. I think we have had better racing this year and made plenty of progress with the race cars. I think it is great. Good car and a good program."
YOU HAVE SAID YOU WANTED TO DRIVE A FAST RACE CAR AND WIN RACES AND REFUSE TO TALK ABOUT POINTS AND THE CHAMPIONSHIP, BUT OTHERS SAY YOU ARE THE MOST ENERGIZED AND MOST LIKELY TO BEAT JIMMIE, WHAT IS YOUR TAKE ON IT?
"I know what you are saying and I understand your confusion. You also do know me and I feel less pressure and stress right now than I did the last two months before the Chase cutoff. I feel like...I'll see you after the race at Talladega and after the race at Talladega, we'll talk about our championship. I think everybody will know then who the real contenders are and a lot of things can change between now and then. If you'll look back, you will find that I led the points back in '90 from May, Phoenix was the next to the last race and then Atlanta was the last race, and I led the points from May until Phoenix. I really thought I was going to win. That ain't going to happen to me again. I am never going to think I'm going to win and it not happen. So, we'll race and we will let the racing decide the points tally. I'm not going to think about it and I don't have to. I won't change that points tally, so I refuse to look at it. I'm not going to look at it. I'm not going to be thinking about all that. I'm going to think about trying to win this race and then try to win Martinsville."
IT DIDN'T SEEM LIKE YOU WERE HAVING ANY FUN RACING FOR A CHAMPIONSHIP IN '90 AND '97, IS THIS A WHOLE DIFFERENT DEAL?
"It is a whole different deal because I really...it really shouldn't be for a number of reasons. One is I didn't think I ever would again and two, because I was convinced that it was too late for me."
ARE YOU GUYS COMFORTABLE WITH THE SPEED AS FAST AS THEY ARE?
"As far as the racing goes, I think it will be good. Eventually the bottom groove will get rubbered up and Kasey and his buddies that like to run the high side, go up there and find grip. Hard-heads like me stay on the bottom. So you guys up top and got guys on the bottom. I think that will come. It may take a while. It will be tomorrow night's race before that starts to move up. Then when we go out there and do 500 miles, it will happen and I think it is going to be a great show."
-credit: gm racing