FORD RACING NOTES AND QUOTES MBNA Gold 400 September 26, 1999 Dover Downs International Speedway MARTIN WINS SECOND RACE OF '99 Mark Martin's victory in today's MBNA Gold 400 was his second of the 1999 NASCAR...
FORD RACING NOTES AND QUOTES MBNA Gold 400 September 26, 1999 Dover Downs International Speedway
MARTIN WINS SECOND RACE OF '99
Mark Martin's victory in today's MBNA Gold 400 was his second of the 1999 NASCAR Winston Cup season and 31st of his career. The win was Ford's 497th all-time NASCAR Winston Cup win and its 12th of the 1999 season -- both of those figures lead all manufacturers. Ford also increased its lead in the manufacturer's standings over Chevrolet and Pontiac. Ford has 188 points compared to 167 for Chevrolet and 156 for Pontiac.
DALE JARRETT --88-- Quality Care Service/Ford Credit Taurus (Finished 3rd) -- CAN YOU BREATHE A SIGH OF RELIEF COMING OUT OF HERE? "Definitely. I mean, this is a place you can get in a lot of trouble, especially where we qualfied, so we had to make sure we got through the traffic and it worked out for us. It was a good day." DID YOU EVER GET THE CAR LOOSENED UP? "No, not in the center of the corner. It was just too slow there. I want to congratulate Mark Martin, he did a great job today. We were no match. He let us lead a little bit and we appreciate that, but he could go whenever he wanted to and then Tony came on there at the end. The last set of tires were just way too tight in the center and I just never got that out of the car all day, but, all in all, a pretty good day." HOW'S THE BACK? "I've gotta thank a couple of people who did a lot of work since yesterday morning. I couldn't even put my shoes on, I couldn't bend over that far. The people over at the MRO Rehab Center and Becky, who is a massage therapist around here, worked on me last night and this morning and that enabled me to be able to sit in there all day. It's a tough race track, but when you have a good car and the guys do a great job in the pits like mine did, it makes it a lot more enjoyable."
MATT KENSETH --17-- DeWalt Taurus (Finished 4th) -- "I'm happy. The DeWalt Ford ran really good all day. It was too loose in the beginning of the runs to keep up those guys. They'd eat my lunch pretty good for 20 or 30 laps, but after that I could run real consistent and the car was real good. I didn't want to get it any tighter at the beginning of the runs because I was afraid I was gonna push it then. That was a real good consistent day. I have to thank Jack and Mark Martin and Robbie for putting this deal together for me. I'm really looking forward to running a full schedule next year." ARE YOU SURPRISED YOU'VE RUN SO WELL SO EARLY IN YOUR CUP CAREER? "Yeah, I'm definitely surprised, especially just putting this team together. Our Busch guys went over the wall today and they did a really good job. The few guys that we've already got together for this Winston Cup team did a super job of preparing this race car for me, so I'm extremely happy and a little bit surprised how good we ran the last couple of races." YOU HAD A CLOSE CALL THERE WITH DAVE MARCIS SPINNING. "Yeah, he was spinning out and I was going too fast to try to go around him on the top. You know they're always gonna come down here after they go up and I just took the bottom route. That was the only way I had to go through there and I just squeezed through there." HOW MUCH DID RUNNING HERE LAST YEAR HELP YOU? "I guess the biggest thing we got for a baseline and everything was when we came here and tested a couple of weeks ago, but running Bill's car (Elliott) definitely did help me. A lot of the setup information I didn't really have, I kind of drove the car. I sort of new what we ran, but we ran kind of a different setup. We were pretty close to what Mark and what Jeff Burton ran today for their setups. The car was good all day. There was nothing I could do on pit road to make it a contender to win, but it was real consistent and fast."
MARK MARTIN --6-- Valvoline/Cummins Taurus (Finished 1st) -- "For me the pressure was starting to build and this was sweet." YOU LOST A BIG LEAD ON THAT LAST CAUTION. "We had a lot of lead there and we were in good shape and everything, and I knew that we didn't need something to go wrong with our deal today. We needed to win this race, so on the restart I knew there wasn't but one thing to do. There was no more saving tires left, we had to go race that thing and go for it. We had a lot of race car here in this Valvoline/Cummins Taurus and the guys did good on pit road. The last couple of weeks we broke something at Richmond and we wrecked at New Hampshire and that kind of soured us there. We were ready for something good.
DALE JARRETT PRESS CONFERENCE "The last set that I got was the tightest set that we had and it loosened the car up. It just seemed they wouldn't grip very good, so I just kind of had to fall back and take what we could get. Yeah, a little inconsistency, but I think the track probably changed as much as anything. Mark was just definitely the class of the field. We had nothing for him. He was good enough to let us lead for a little while and he was just taking care of his car because he knew how good of a car he had. As far as inconsistency, we put stickers on every time and I'd just have to say the track got a little worse at the end. We might have got a set that was a little tighter and that hurt us there, but, again, we couldn't beat Mark if we would have had a super set, so we just did what we could." DOVER CAN BE TOUGH. IT MUST BE NICE TO COME OUT IN GOOD SHAPE. "Yeah, it really is. This is a place where you could get involved in something just trying to slow down. Everybody did a pretty good job today and we managed to have a good enough race car to make up a lot of spots at the beginning of the race and that was key. Then we had really good pit stops that helped make it easier for me on restarts. That's really when you have to be a little concerned is on those restarts and we were good enough to get in front of those guys and that helped us." ONE RACE AT A TIME FOR THE TITLE, RIGHT? "That's one more down. We're counting them off. I don't know what the points deal is, Mark gained a little on us but we're in pretty good shape right now. We just have to keep having these type of days. It'd be nice to win, but if we don't and can get top fives we'll be OK." HOW'S YOUR BACK? "From yesterday morning I was 75 percent better today, but that was a long way from being 100 percent. Once I got in and settled in I was pretty much OK. Pit stops, when they dropped the jack, that let me know it was still there. But, for the most part, I have to thank the people at the MRO Rehab Center and Becky, who is a massage therapist out there, they worked on me all day yesterday and last night and this morning and got it to where I could just sit in the car. That made it really nice." WHAT ABOUT THE TIRE PROBLEMS? ARE YOU WORRIED? IS IT THE SPEED? "The speeds are up. Guys are having a hard time because of this concrete surface and making their cars turn on that, and, therefore, they're doing some things and probably doing it excessively with camber and with low pressure and things. Yeah, that works for awhile but in the end, at some point in time during a 400-mile race, it's probably gonna bite you. I'm not that concerned. We haven't had any problems, haven't seen any problems in any of the races like that, but our car pushed in the center. We worked around that as much as we could and made it as good as we could. Obviously Mark didn't have any problems and he had a great race car." HOW ABOUT TONY STEWART? "I keep forgetting he's a rookie. He doesn't seem like that to me, but, yeah, I'm definitely concerned. They've got a really good race team. I thought we were gonna be able to put some distance on him when we lapped him the one time and I guess they short-pitted in those two deals and got back on the lead lap when the caution came out. So they worked it to their advantage, came back and finished second, I give them a lot of credit. They've done a really good job. There are three guys right there that I'm definitely concerned with, but if we do our jobs, and I'm not trying to sound cocky or overconfident, but if we do our jobs, then everything should be OK but there are always circumstance. Tony Stewart's team is probably the best team out there right now as far as being consistent and having a shot at winning each and every race."
MARK MARTIN PRESS CONFERENCE "I can't tell you how bad I wanted to win that race. The closer we got to it...I desperately wanted to win the race. We have run well this summer, but we haven't been a contender to win. We've been a top five, though, almost every race, but I haven't felt like I could take a race. Before halfway today I felt like I had a car that was capable of going out and, if everything went our way, we could go out there and pull one off and everything kept going our way. The car was just incredible." YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE END OF THE RACE? "I couldn't believe that Tony was on the lead lap, but I guess that's the way the cautions fell out and that he hadn't made his final stop or something there. The 18 and the 20, we were looking pretty good to capitalize on the points run and as it turned out we didn't. But I didn't care about the points, all I cared about was winning that race. That's what I wanted really bad for the whole team. They've kept their chin up. They haven't acted one bit different than they did last year when we were winning a race every few weeks, so this was good. It was good for Valvoline and Cummins and all the supporters of the car because we expect to win for them and it was nice." WHAT IS IT SPECIFICALLY ABOUT DOVER IN THE FALL? "Three in a row in the fall is a coincidence. There are lots of those in this series that you guys try to read more in to. This is a race track that I loved in 1982 when I came here as a 23-year-old rookie...qualified seventh and finished fifth. This is a race track that I've liked to drive on from the first time I got here. Jim Fennig and the crew have a great setup for our Taurus that handles well and we haven't been as fortunate in the first race of the year as we have the fall races. Everything seems to have come together, but it easily could have been three spring races or one here or there. We run good here. We know we're gonna run good when we come." HOW WERE YOUR TIRES? "My tires were spectacular. We have had to put a conservative setup under our car. As far as making tires last, as far as gripping and being competitive on speed throughout a run, I am typically good at that. As far as if you're going to fail a sidewall or throw the rubber off of a tire, I'm one of the first ones to do it, so I don't feel about that because as a tire manager, I feel like I'm very good at that. But when tires start getting marginal for the surface or the track or whatever, a lot of times we'll have trouble first early on, so we have a very conservative setup under our car air-pressure wise, camber wise and setup wise to try to help that. Still, sometimes, it doesn't help it but we're trying anyway." TONY SAID THE TIRES WERE TERRIBLE. "I think as Tony hangs around this thing for a while, he'll have that again. Some days that just happens. It's happened to me probably 30 times, but I've been around for a dozen years. Some days just go that way and we've had it this year. We've had cars that we thought were capable of contending to win go away because of things changing that we can't put our finger on." WHEN DALE GOT WAY AHEAD WERE YOU WORRIED? "He was away from us. He was away, but we had a lot of time on the scoreboard left and I wasn't gonna be in a hurry. I hadn't been in a hurry to that point and just because I was a straightaway behind didn't mean I was gonna get in a big hurry yet. We had a 140 laps to go when I was looking and calculating." WHAT ABOUT MATT KENSETH? "You know, I'm just glad to get this win because I don't know how many more of them I'm gonna be able to get with him out there. He's spectacular." HOW IS YOUR BACK? "I'm feeling no pain right now. My back is just like it was last year, just basically intolerable, but we're living with it. I know what I can and can't do. For me I feel like it's taken part of my manhood away because I can't grab up a piece of furniture and move it if I want to, or I can't get on the floor and wrestle with my son. There are a lot things I can't do, but there are a few things I still can do. I can still lift weights if I do it right and I can still race a car. As long as I can get a win once in a while, that makes life worth it to me. It's been a tough summer. To try to race through the injuries that I had was pretty tough. I've had a lot of losses in my family. I lost an uncle this summer and I lost one of my best friends this summer, and I still miss my dad really bad. On a bad day that bothers me, like after Richmond or New Hampshire, but on a good day it's not so bad. Everybody has tests in their life and my life has been awfully good, so just the last 12 months have been a little bit more of test for me than a lot of the other 12-month periods prior to that." ARE YOU STILL SCHEDULED FOR BACK SURGERY? "It's scheduled. I might chicken out, but I sure need it and I can't wait until I end my racing career to do it. It's unfortunate with the recovery time that it pushes me right into Daytona. It's gonna be tough, but it needs to be done for me to face the great years I have left in my career, so it's on the schedule for Monday morning after Atlanta." IS COMING TO DOVER A RELIEF FOR YOU? "I look forward to Dover. I love this race track, like I said before. It's a great race track. This is sort of a dream come true because I knew coming here that we would have a crack at winning and I've known at some of the other places we didn't. To capitalize on it is real special. No one has had any indication of well it's been a while since we won or anything, but the pressure that I've put on myself has been building and this is good. We were pretty far back in the championship hunt and the we got close, and then in two weeks we wound back up where we started making our run. Like I say, when I was running out there today I didn't care about the points, I just wanted to win the race -- a Winston Cup race -- so with that I'm happy and relieved." FINAL THOUGHTS. "This last six months have been sort of a test for me and it's been a little more difficult than usual. It seems like with my race team it hasn't made any difference in the way they treat me, the way they work, or anything that they've done and I'm real fortunate for that. But I also want to thank all the fans for what they've done and they're support -- not only of me but the whole sport -- because this is what I live for is to win races like this. They have made this such a big deal and they have been so kind to me and it doesn't seem to matter to them whether you're winning or not, they seem to give me the same support so I thank them for that."
JEFF BURTON --99-- Exide Batteries Taurus (Finished 6th) -- "It really confused me. We were really inconsistent. The first run we were real good, the second run we weren't so good, the third run we were real good and then it kind of went downhill from there. The last run, we put a set of tires on that last run and, I mean, I was gonna be a lap down in 40 laps. I don't know what that was all about, it was just real inconsistent. I saw the 20 do the same thing, I saw the 18 do the same thing. The 24 seemed to have a problem a one point. I don't know what that's all about. I just don't know."
CHAD LITTLE --97-- John Deere Taurus (Finished 7th) -- "It was real good day. We're real pleased with it. It was a great day for John Deere. It was a car we had raced previously this year but we hadn't raced it for a while. We made a lot of changes on it aerowise and they turned out good. I'm real pleased with everything. It's a good day for Roush Racing." DOES IT GIVE THE TEAM A LITTLE POP TO FINISH THE YEAR? "That's for sure. We didn't run very good here in the spring, so it's kind of encouraging to run better at places where you didn't run that good at in the spring, so, yeah, it gives you a little momentum and something to look forward to. But, you know how it is, next week is a whole new ballgame." DID YOU HAVE ANY TIRE TROUBLE? "I think we went about as far as we could on one set. The left front went flat the lap before I came in, so that was about the limit on it for our setup. And then the only other close call was when I got in the back of Marcus. That was unfortunate and I hate it happened to him."
KENNY IRWIN --28-- Texaco Havoline Taurus (Finished 10th) -- "That was good. We had one great set of tires and were as fast as the leaders then. We had a top 10 car and we finished 10th, so that's pretty good. We had a good weekend. We qualified good. We raced pretty good. We're definitely getting more consistent and that's getting us up in the points, so we like that."
JIMMY SPENCER --23-- Team Winston Taurus (Finished 14th) -- "We had a tough day. We were real tight in the beginning of the race and got a lap down early. We just pushed all day. I had inconsistent tires. I mean, we had the car as fast as the leaders at one time. And then the next set of tires just pushed real bad. Right there at the end we had a really good set of tires and actually made up a lap there and that was important to get us a top 15 finish, but it's pretty frustrating."
RUSTY WALLACE --2-- Miller Lite Taurus (Finished 32nd) -- "We had a real good car there at the beginning of the race...maybe a tick on the tight side but able to lead laps and having lap times as fast as anything out there. Then we had that right front go down. There was no warning or nothing. I just shot down into turn one and all of a sudden the right front lunged down. We're lucky to have kept the thing off the wall. We were trying to bounce back from that and hoped to make up the laps when the motor started going sour about 30 laps later. We were running on only seven cylinders from then on just trying to log all the laps we could...and had even more tire problems. The motor deal sounded and felt like a broken rocker arm. When we pitted there at the end, they took a look at it and said it looked like an intake valve just broke off and stuck in the second cylinder on the left sid. Just like here in the first race, it was a situation where inconsistent tires really bit a bunch of good cars' chances."
JEREMY MAYFIELD --12-- Mobil 1 Taurus (Finished 22nd) -- "I guess it was the Dover of old today -- run all day, stay within a lap or two of the leader, and finish in the top 10. I just wishh we'd been able to stay within a lap of two of the leader. We cut a right front early and lost a couple of laps, and we were chasing ourselves the rest of the day. We were tight all day. We'd loosen it up but everytime the air pressures came up, we were tight again. Whatever we did to loosen up, the tight would cath back up to. It's a shame. We thought we were gonna be really good today. A lot of the time we were, but fighting through the tight and losing those laps early cost us a bunch. The worst part is looking back and thinking that if we could have just held it to one lap down we might have had a really good finish."