Ford - Martin and Burton on The Winston, Part II

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 2 of 2

Q: WHERE DOES THE WINSTON FALL INTO ON A LIST OF RACES A DRIVER WOULD LIKE TO WIN?

Martin: "I'm not the right guy to ask that question. You know me, I don't do those deals. I mean, I've won The Winston and I can't even remember doing it. It was only five years ago, but that's me. I'm more interested in the next race, whatever the next race is.

"When the next race is the Daytona 500, that's the most important one to me. The next race is California, so that's the one I'm focused on and I just take 'em one at a time."

Burton: "I have much the same attitude as Mark does in regards to worrying about what's ahead of us rather than what's behind us. Certainly, before your career started if you could map that thing out and say this is what I wanted to do, you'd have the Coca-Cola 600, you'd have Indy, you'd have Daytona, and The Winston would be on that list without a doubt.

"Every race would be on that list if you had your druthers, but if you could only pick 10, I think you'd have to put The Winston in there for sure."

Q: IF YOU KNOW WHAT THE MAXIMUM NUMBER FOR INVERTING THE FIELD WILL BE IN THE LAST SEGMENT, DO YOU PLAN YOUR STRATEGY AROUND THAT?

Burton: "That's probably the smart thing to do, but it's hard to do that. We're here to race and we have never played that strategy. We've talked about it and said, 'Let's just go run the best we can run and see what we can make happen.' We have never had that strategy.

"I've seen people play it, and it may be the smart thing to do. No one ever said we were the smartest people in the world, but we're here to race. It pays enough money and there's enough pride, more importantly than anything, to go win every segment you can get your hands on.

"I know people look at a guy and say, 'Boy, that was stupid to do that. He could have laid back and positioned himself better to win the big money,' but anytime there's a race, you want to win the race that you're in, and I think that's how most people address it."

Q: WHAT'S IT GOING TO BE LIKE TO RUN 20 LAPS FOR $1 MILLION?

Martin: "It's gonna be exciting. I wish we were doing it tonight. I can't wait. I'm just amazed at what Winston has been able to do with this race and how they have the format laid out. It's pretty exciting.

"It doesn't necessarily favor the fastest car, it's about putting on a great show with the double-file restarts, the inverting, the short segments and all the things that come into play. It's like putting names in a hat and throwing them up in the air to see who comes out on top. It should be a really exciting race."

Q: CAN YOU EXPLAIN THE EMOTION OF GOING ONTO THE TRACK FOR THAT FINAL SEGMENT?

Martin: "There's a lot of adrenaline and it's really exciting. For me, I don't feel that much different than any other particular race when we know how short it's gonna be. I mean, if you have a pit stop with 20 to go in the 600, there's an awful lot of adrenaline that goes on in that race as well.

"The thing about The Winston format is with the inversion going on, with the double-file restarts, with the possibility of having a caution in there and having the double-file again, that really throws a lot of new things into the picture.

"That double-file restart can be a pain, or it can really make the difference depending on if you're on the inside or the outside or how the lane moves. I think that restart thing is a very big factor in this race, having a double-file restart, because you can be running second and have a caution and have to restart on the outside and then your chances aren't as good as they were prior to the caution coming out.

"You could wind up in fourth or fifth before you can get yourself in line where you want to be and get set up. Sometimes the third-place car might be in a better position in that, so you never know about this race.

"Unpredictability is one of the things that's made it what it is and is driving the excitement and ticket sales."

Q: CAN YOU EXPLAIN THE EMOTION OF GOING ONTO THE TRACK FOR THAT FINAL SEGMENT?

Burton: "Also the thing that I don't think a lot of people understand is that we race hard every week. Even if we're racing for 20th, you're still racing as hard as you can race. What makes the intensity different in this race is just the number of laps that you have to get it done in. That's the only difference.

"You don't race any harder at the Open in The Winston than you do for the 600, it's just that you have less laps to get it done. You make more aggressive moves because you've got to get it done right then and there, but we race that hard every week.

"It's just that we have to make faster decisions to get it done in a shorter amount of time, which is what makes the racing exciting. With competition the way it is today, you don't go out there and ride around on lap 200 when there's still 200 to go, you're racing hard and you're running hard every single lap.

"I don't think people understand that. They think we come here and just run harder, but we really don't, we just do it for a shorter period of time."

Q: IS THERE ANYTHING YOU WOULD DO WITH THE RULES FOR THE WINSTON TO MAKE IT MORE EXCITING?

Burton: "Yeah, put me in the race (laughter). I'll make it more exciting if that's what it takes. I'll make something happen. That's the only thing I'd do."

Q: IS THERE ANYTHING YOU WOULD DO WITH THE RULES FOR THE WINSTON TO MAKE IT MORE EXCITING?

Martin: "It depends on where you're viewing from. From a competitors standpoint, I've never been a fan of double-file restarts and inverting and all those kinds of things in an era when I had one of the best cars on the race track. That doesn't drive excitement and ticket sales.

"On the other hand, if you're viewing it from the other standpoint, which is all the thrills and excitement and building this thing up to where it is today and taking a dominant car and putting it in a position where it's more difficult and less predictable, it's a terrific show going in the direction that it's gone.

"I guess I would view it two different ways. That's how I look at it. The more years I participate, the more I am grateful for the opportunity to race for all that money and to be a part of a sport this big and that has been as good to me as it has.

"Sometimes I've smashed my stuff up out there and last year we broke an engine running real well with a great opportunity, but, on the other hand, I did have the opportunity to win it once and I'd like to do it again.

"The stock has gone up in this race quite a bit since '98. I've got that big picture of that check up on the wall. It was huge at the time, but it's only about a fourth of what it would be this time."

Part I

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Mark Martin