Ford - Martin and Burton on The Winston, Part I

Mark Martin, driver of the No. 6 Viagra Taurus, and Jeff Burton, driver of the No. 99 CITGO Taurus, participated in a press conference Wednesday at Lowe's Motor Speedway to discuss next month's running of The Winston, an event in which the winner...

Mark Martin, driver of the No. 6 Viagra Taurus, and Jeff Burton, driver of the No. 99 CITGO Taurus, participated in a press conference Wednesday at Lowe's Motor Speedway to discuss next month's running of The Winston, an event in which the winner will receive $1 million. Both drivers spoke about the event and also answered questions from the media.

Part 1 of 2

MARK MARTIN - No. 6 Viagra Taurus:
"I just want to thank Winston first and foremost for the most incredible event you could ever dream of. I think the format has evolved as we've gone along to the most exciting format you could possibly dream up. I'm sure there will be evolution in the future, but it's really, really exciting. I want to thank Humpy Wheeler also. He's done so much for motorsports and for helping bring the thrill and the excitement and to build the sport and build this speedway up.

"I was here in 1981 and 1982 and it's just unbelievable where this sport has come and to have the opportunity to race for $50,000 a lap, man, I remember when $5,000 to win just spun me out.

" It's pretty incredible. It's really exciting. It's an exciting race. It's something that means an awful lot to all of the competitors, but I think especially for any of the competitors that have had the opportunity to win this thing.

"It's something that I'll never forget and it's been such an honor to be a part of, and I think the fans feel the same way. Their support for this event is really spectacular. Man, I just wish it was tonight."

JEFF BURTON - No. 99 CITGO Taurus:
"The Winston is just an awesome event. One of the things, to be honest, that has agonized me more than anything about us not running well the last year is not being in The Winston. It's our all-star event.

"It's the event we all come out and give everything we have. You don't worry about penalties, you don't worry about driving hard, you just go do what you've got to get done and that's a lot of fun. It's a lot different than what you see at other all-star events.

"When you watch the NBA all-star event, nobody plays defense. In hockey, it's a totally different deal. With our deal, the intensity gets ratcheted up rather than down and it's really a big difference. Winston and Lowe's Motor Speedway do a great job of putting it on and one of the things we need to get done in the next couple of weeks is to get a win so we're in the thing.

"Then we can come back here and try to beat the other guys who get into it, but Winston is just such a huge part of what we do. The fact that we can race in an all-star event to win a million dollars is unprecedented and we appreciate it a great deal. It means a lot to all the teams to have Winston's support and to be able to come to one of the best race tracks in the world and compete like that is an honor.

"The other thing that happens is you see a lot of people do special paint schemes for this race. We've got a Kraft paint scheme that we're doing and we need to get that thing in the big race, so I can guarantee you that our team will be doing everything we can to turn the volume up a little bit and make something happen."

Q: HAVE THE CHANGES IN THE WINSTON SOMETIMES GONE TOO FAR OR HAS IT BEEN ALWAYS RIGHT ON THE EDGE?

Burton: "The rules promote aggression. The rules promote taking chances and I think that's OK. It's the drivers at the end of the day that make the cars wreck or not wreck. The rules don't necessarily make that happen, but it certainly puts you in a position where you've got to go, but that's what racing is all about.

"That's what we do and that's what racing ought to be. So it's on a limit, but I think being on a limit is a good thing."

Q: HAVE THE CHANGES IN THE WINSTON SOMETIMES GONE TOO FAR OR HAS IT BEEN ALWAYS RIGHT ON THE EDGE?

Martin: "I think this race pays a million dollars to win -- $50,000 a lap for the last segment - because there's a good chance we will wreck (laughter). It all works together. I wouldn't bring my very best, number one car to The Winston.

"I did that two years in a row and tore 'em up, but we do the same thing at Daytona for the Bud Shootout. I think it's a fantastic event. I'm real excited about it, and I think there's a good chance you'll see some action."

Q: IS ONE OF THE GOOD THINGS ABOUT THIS EVENT THE FACT YOU CAN LET IT ALL HANG OUT AND NOT WORRY ABOUT BEING CONSERVATIVE?

Burton: "I think it is. The only thing you risk is making somebody really mad or wrecking your car. Of course, you risk getting injured but we do that every week. At the end of the day, it's a self-serving deal and you go get all you can get. I think that's what makes it exciting. The race is short, so more people have a chance to be in the mix.

"All of those things promote being aggressive and the fact that you can be aggressive you risk wrecking your car and not be being able to bring it back to the 600, but when that race is over you get your check and you go home. That's the only consequences left in it and, yeah, that is exciting."

Q: IS ONE OF THE GOOD THINGS ABOUT THIS EVENT THE FACT YOU CAN LET IT ALL HANG OUT AND NOT WORRY ABOUT BEING CONSERVATIVE?

Martin: "At the end of the day we all do this every week and we all make decisions every week, every race, all through the races, with risk and reward. We all race hard. On one hand we don't go into it expecting to wreck each other or to be even caught up in an accident.

"It's very, very exciting and it's some more likely to happen in a 20-lap segment, with that kind of money on the line, it is a little bit more likely that might happen than if you had 600 miles to get it done in.

"So that's what brings the excitement and that's what sells the tickets, but, at the end of the day, I'm pretty comfortable that we'll be able to accomplish what we need to accomplish without having a lot of trouble on the race track. It's just a little bit more likely than it would be if you had 600 miles to do it in."

Q: THOUGHTS ON RUNNING THE WINSTON AT LOWE'S MOTOR SPEEDWAY.

Martin: "I think this is the greatest race track that we race on for putting on a show."

Part II

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Mark Martin