Charlotte: Martin - Ford interview

Mark Martin, driver of the No. 6 Viagra Taurus, comes into this weekend's Coca-Cola 600 looking for a sweep after capturing Saturday night's Nextel All-Star Challenge. Martin spoke about the race ahead during a Goodyear announcement...

Mark Martin, driver of the No. 6 Viagra Taurus, comes into this weekend's Coca-Cola 600 looking for a sweep after capturing Saturday night's Nextel All-Star Challenge. Martin spoke about the race ahead during a Goodyear announcement earlier this afternoon.

MARK MARTIN - No. 6 Viagra Taurus

AFTER WINNING LAST WEEK IS IT A CASE WHERE YOU CAN'T WAIT TO GET BACK IN THE CAR? "I'm looking forward to it. Obviously, everybody knows I love this place regardless, but, certainly, we feel we're on a roll. We did do testing out here a couple of weeks ago. We brought two cars and the car that was faster and drove better we saved for this weekend, but, at the same time, I know that every competitor is gonna raise their game so we have to do the same if we want to contend to win this thing Sunday."

WAS THERE ANY DISCUSSION ABOUT BRINGING LAST WEEK'S CAR BACK FOR THIS RACE? "It was common logic from mostly the media - are you bringing that car back. I've done all kinds of things in my career. If you don't bring it back and you don't run good, then you're a dummy. If you do bring it back and you don't run good, you're a dummy because you left the best one at home. So we're doing what we do. We chose that other car, the car for this race, based on it being faster and driving better. I know that the competition will be a lot tougher. There is a lot more time to adjust and make adjustments and there's also more practice time to get right. We caught those guys looking the other way. Elliott Sadler was really our main competition in that thing, but if we run the same as we ran out here Saturday night, we'll have at least a dozen to contend with if not more, so we're gonna have to try to raise the bar ourselves."

WHEN YOU WENT BACK TO BATESVILLE TO REARRANGE YOUR CARS, DID YOU LEAVE THOSE PLANS FLUID IN CASE YOU NEED TO DO SOME MORE REARRANGING? "We're still in the early enough stages that we can make a lot more room. What we'll do is push some of the less important stuff out of the way and bring in the more important stuff."

THERE'S ONE PIECE OF HARDWARE THAT WOULD MAKE A NICE CENTERPIECE. "Saturday night, I've said it was a bit of a miracle and the coolest thing in my career and all those things, but the championship would be the real miracle. To do that in your last try would be something that would be fun because I know it would kind of mess up NASCAR and Nextel just a little bit, but that would be kind of fun to do."

YOU MENTIONED GIL DE FERRAN LAST WEEK AND HOW HE LEFT THE SPORT. THAT RESONATED WITH YOU. "It did. It brought tears to my eyes the way he went out. I knew going into this season that something like that was asking too much, but my desire is to go out as strong as possible. I do have a team that can contend for that championship, so if everything lines up right, contending for it would make me happy. Winning it would be another one of those miracles I think."

IF YOU DIDN'T THINK YOU COULD WIN IT, YOU WOULDN'T BE BACK THIS YEAR WOULD YOU? "No, I would not. I have reached deeper this year than I ever though possible and the only way to do that is to know that this is my last time I was gonna have to do that. I've had to raise the bar quite a bit each year the last four or five years, and going into this year I had to do it double because not only did I have to do it from a competition side, but I had to do it from a fan and media commitment as well. So it's a double reach and we're doing it and we're doing it with a smile. Stuff like Saturday night makes it easy to smile."

WHAT ABOUT THIS SPLIT-SEASON CONCEPT? "It's the only way it would work. It's the only way. When I sat down and looked at what I would do in 2006, the thing I would not do is drive a limited schedule with a limited team and a limited budget and a limited deal because I'm not gonna be a part of that. So it made more sense to drop back and do a full truck schedule than it would be some kind of limited deal where I'd get limited results. If you could share a full schedule with the 6 car with another top driver, that's never been done before. Selling that to a sponsor, it would take the right sponsor and it would take a lot of things. I'm 100 percent headed truck racing, but I don't have any paper signed yet."


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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Elliott Sadler , Mark Martin