Ford Racing leads at Martinsville

Mark Martin kept the streak alive by becoming the eighth different winner in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series this season by capturing the Goody's Body Pain 500 this afternoon at Martinsville Speedway. The win is Martin's 32nd career NASCAR...

Mark Martin kept the streak alive by becoming the eighth different winner in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series this season by capturing the Goody's Body Pain 500 this afternoon at Martinsville Speedway. The win is Martin's 32nd career NASCAR Winston Cup victory and marks only the sixth time in 93 races at Martinsville in which the winner started 20th or lower. Martin started 21st today. The win also gave Ford a series-leading four victories in 2000 -- most of any manufacturer.

DARRELL WALTRIP --66-- Route 66/Big Kmart Taurus (Finished 43rd)

"That was a good car that I never got to use. I was real happy with it, we were moving up (Waltrip moved up seven positions in the first 20 laps). It never got to do what it does best -- run good on long runs."

LARRY CARTER, Crew Chief --66-- Route 66/Big Kmart Taurus

"We had some type of mechanical problem in the steering. We changed the pump, all the lines and the steering box, but didn't fix the problem. On top of that, a transmission seal went bad and was leaking."

BRETT BODINE --11-- Ralphs Supermarkets Taurus (Finished 36th)

"It looked like a couple cars up there in the front on the inside lane got together. Ricky Rudd got spun and you can't stop. The guys behind me couldn't stop, it's just one of those deals. It was a chain-reaction, that's basically it."

STACY COMPTON --9-- Kodiak/Cougar Taurus (Finished 39th)

"I hate it for the guys. We had a decent run going with the Cougar Melling Taurus and had some motor problems. We ran right there in the lead lap, came in and that caution caught us and put us a lap down. Other than that we were running right there with those guys. Man, I hate it. We had a shot at a good run, but that's the way racing goes sometimes."

BILL ELLIOTT --94-- McDonald's Taurus (Finished 8th)

"We did the best we could with what we had. We had a decent car, but just never could get track position and then I was kind of out of tires. I saw those guys get a jump on the restart and there was nothing you could do."

IS THIS THE CRAZIEST MARTINSVILLE RACE YOU'VE BEEN IN?

"Yeah. It was a pretty wild day. I'm just glad it's over."

JEREMY MAYFIELD --12-- Mobil 1 Taurus (Finished 7th)

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE THAT RACE?

"It wasn't long enough. We need about another 500 (laughing). I wish we would have qualified better and started up front, maybe it wouldn't have been as bad. It seemed like all day long we were giving it all we had. We really used our car up and I'm just proud of the guys. It's another top 10 and that's all we've got."

WITH SO MUCH GOING ON IS IT HARD TO KEEP TRACK OF WHERE YOU'RE AT?

"No, you just ask where the leader's at, that's all you're after and then you just go all you can go as hard as you can go."

WHAT WAS IT LIKE OUT THERE?

"Crazy. A lot of wrecks, a lot of cautions, a lot of track position, a lot of weird stuff going on."

WHAT ABOUT THE LAST SIX LAPS?

"We came in and put tires on because we had nothing to lose. I went to the outside and that's all we had."

RUSTY WALLACE --2-- Miller Lite Taurus (Finished 10th)

I really thought with 70 to go we needed to put tires on to get position and go. I didn't think a bunch of them would just stay out like they did, they did. I got behind, my car pushed, and I just couldn't get back around them. Then a bunch of lapped cars got in the way, I got spun by one of them and banged by another one, so after that was when we got in the back. Track position is everything in the world nowadays and we should have just stayed out."

YOU HAD THEM BEAT TODAY.

"I think we had the best car out there all day long. It was a real hot-rod it's just unfortunate that's all I can say."

WHEN YOU LOST THE LAPS EARLY ON YOU SHOT BACK THROUGH THE FIELD.

"That's what made me think that I should put tires on late because it was just flying on those new tires and at the end all it did was push on tires, it was just real pushy. It's unfortunate."

DID YOU AND THE CREW AGREE ON THE DECISION?

"Yeah, yeah, we were all for one on that one, it just didn't work out."

HOW BAD IS IT TO HAVE SUCH A DOMINANT CAR AND NOT WIN?

"It was just real upsetting to have that dominant of a car. I just couldn't believe it when I'm sitting there running 15th and 13th going, 'Man, how in the hell did this happen?' But it was all track position. When I saw those guys stay out I went, 'Oh, man.' And then a bunch of them two-tired. With 50 and 60 laps to go I should have never pitted. I just shouldn't. I'll learn next time because track position is so important here and it just got me."

DID YOU THINK IT WAS GOING TO BE YOUR DAY?

"I was hoping it was gonna be my day, I was looking like it was gonna be.  
I think the test session paid off good, everything worked good.  The pit
stops were fast as lightning all day long.  Everything was right."

WAS IT JUST A WAR OUT THERE? "Yeah, it was just a bunch of guys -- they get here and they just drive wrong. There are a bunch of good drivers too, but a lot of them get frustrated."

DALE JARRETT --88-- Quality Care Service/Ford Credit Taurus (Finished 5th)

"That was a good day for us. I congratulate Mark. We ran hard all day, we had a lot of things happen. We had stuff happening in the pits as far as getting hit. We had a great race car. It was fun just to race up front at Martinsville for a change."

IT WAS A CRAZY DAY, HOW DID THAT AFFECT THE TEMPO?

"It was hard to get much of a tempo.  Just when you thought you were
getting going there would be a caution.  Some guys would get four and some
would get two.  It made for hard racing, but it was a wild day."

WHAT ABOUT THE RACE?

"That was a battle for sure.  You just kind of had to fight and bang and
get the car as good as you could.  Track position was important because
there were so many good cars.  You just had to survive."

WHAT HAPPENED WITH THE RUDD INCIDENT?

"I checked up but I was just pushed from behind. I was on the brake and they were still pushing me, so there was nothing I could do there. I hate that it was Ricky in front of me, but I was just trying to follow Bill (Elliott) on the bottom side and I got hit going into three on that lap, got back off of Ricky a little bit and when they checked up in front and he checked up, they were just pushing me."

TODD PARROTT, Crew Chief --88-- Quality Care Service/Ford Credit Taurus

WHAT ABOUT YOUR PIT STRATEGY?

"Track position was just so important here today. The 6 and the 99 stopped with about 130 laps to go. They didn't have the best cars all day, didn't have very good cars at all, but track position and being able to adjust on their car just a little bit got them where they were. We elected to take two tires and I really thought about coming in there when the 6 and the 99 came, but stayed out. Maybe if we would have come in we may have won this thing, but it was a great job. Dale drove his butt off all day long, the guys did a great job preparing the car, made a bunch of changes this morning, we weren't very good. To come out of here with a top five, it's like winning the race here for us."

RICKY RUDD --28-- Texaco Havoline Taurus (Finished 22nd)

YOU HAD A STRONG CAR UNTIL THAT TANGLE IN TURN FOUR.

"Yeah, they sort of bunched up.  I'm not sure, somebody hit me from behind
and turned me around.  That pretty much ended our day."

YOU HAD TO BE ENCOURAGED WITH THE WAY YOU RAN THOUGH?

"Yeah, we had a fast car. We were just sort of sitting there playing with Earnhardt. I think we were as good as he was at that stage of the race and I said, 'Hey, we've got a long way to go, let's just sit here and ride a little bit and wait for the end of the race.' The next thing you know somebody hits me in the back and turns me around."

ROBERT PRESSLEY --77-- Jasper Engines Taurus (Finished 15th)

WHAT WAS IT LIKE OUT THERE?

"It was a mess out there. I mean, I was just happy. My race car drove so good, just right in the middle stages during that longest run was probably our worst set of tires. We got that lap down, but after that I thought we were pretty decent. We could run with the biggest part of all of them, but the thing was we just had to come out with a good finish. I'm just happy about the fact the car drove good."

YOU SEEMED TO GET THROUGH THIS AS CLEAN AS YOU COULD TODAY?

"It was pretty clean. Most of the time we were picking our way up through there the first half and the second half we kind of sat up there in the front as the first or second car a lap down. That's the main deal here, just stay out of trouble and you can get a decent finish, but we had a better race car than what we finished."

JEFF BURTON --99-- Exide Batteries Taurus (Finished 2nd)

"I feel like we just won the thing. We really weren't that good today. We just never got hooked up. I've been really disappointed with our short track program, we're just not as good as we used to be with it, but we're gonna keep working and keep plugging away and get it better. I'm really happy for Mark and those guys. I'm just as happy that they won as if we would have won. It was just a great call by Frank to stay out. We didn't have a second-place car, but we had a top-notch crew chief today and that's what got us second."

MARK MARTIN --6-- Valvoline/Cummins Taurus -- VICTORY LANE INTERVIEW

WHAT ABOUT THE DECISION TO STAY OUT?

"There was no question we were staying out because we had actually pitted when other guys hadn't hoping to have fresh tires or something because we didn't run that good. But once we got to the lead, man, I just ran like a dog...just ran like a dog. That's all I could do and I was hoping to get a top 10 finish and nobody came and nobody came and nobody came. Jimmy kept saying, 'Those are some good lap times.' So I guess we had the right setup at the end."

IT LOOKED LIKE YOU GOT HOOKED UP AT THE END.

"Well, there wasn't anybody in the way then. It was a special day for us. Right now this feels like the biggest win of my career."

WHAT ABOUT THE FIRST PART OF THE RACE?

"I was doing all I could do. I was trying to conserve the car, the brakes and stuff, but I wasn't riding around with a bunch of extra left. That was all I could do all day long and Jimmy and the Valvoline team got me to the lead with 60-80 to go, something like that, and I just ran like a dog. That's all I could do is try to give them something back. My plans were to try to get a top-10 finish out of it and nobody came."

YOU'RE SECOND IN THE POINTS, DO YOU HAVE MOMENTUM?

"Oh, I don't know. Momentum can be broke by a dollar part, but right now it feels real good. It feels good to win. We needed to win. This team has worked real hard and we haven't had a chance to do any testing this year and I've felt sort of set back because of that. I want to thank them. I want to thank all my fans. They don't care. They support me whether I win or not and that's real special."

SCOTT PRUETT --32-- Tide Taurus (Finished 32nd)

HAVE YOU EVER EXPERIENCED ANYTHING LIKE THAT IN YOUR LIFE?

"No, it was pretty exciting. This is the first short track race I ever ran and I'm glad we took the checkered flag. The guys did a good job all day long. The Tide Taurus, she hung in there. She's kind of worse for wear right now, about everything is bent up on it that could be, but she hung in there and we took the checkered flag and brought it home." DID YOU FEEL LIKE A PINBALL AT TIMES? "Yeah, I felt like I got drop-kicked a few times. I guess that's all part of short-track racing. I guess that's kind of give and take out there."

JEFF BURTON

DID YOU GET ANY EXPLANATION FOR HOW YOU GOT A LAP DOWN ON PIT ROAD?

"A lot of times that gets really confusing. We felt like we beat the pace car out, but sometimes where they judge you based on where the pace car is, the pace car is actually further like closer to turn one rather than...if he reaches that line and you're not across the line, then you go a lap down. We felt like we beat the pace car, but, obviously, we didn't. I don't think NASCAR has a grudge against me and wanted to put me a lap down for the fun of it. They felt I was a lap down and we felt like we weren't, but that's just the way it goes I guess."

WERE YOU SUPRISED TO SEE MICHAEL WALTRIP IN THE THICK OF THINGS?

"The only reason Michael Waltrip hasn't won a race before in Winston Cup racing is because he hasn't sat in something that could win or when he did something happened. It doesn't surprise me at all. Most people in Winston Cup racing can win these races and I've been fortunate enough to be sitting in really good race cars and that's why I've been able to win. You saw today, I finished second here in the spring and got passed with four to go and today we were an 18th-place car and finished second. It wasn't because I'm a good driver, it's because we had a good crew chief. You've just gotta sit in good stuff and everything's gotta work your way."

IS THIS THE CRAZIEST RACE HERE YOU'VE BEEN IN?

"Certainly you have to say it was with all the cautions that we had. I think we tied a record or broke a record or something. Martinsville is just what it is. When you go to Martinsville, you go to Richmond, you go to some of these places where you run so close, people don't mean to hit each other. These things aren't done intentionally. What happens is the guy in front of you slows down a little more than you thought or he slows down and your brakes are hot and you can't get slowed down. That's why these wrecks happen. Competition is so close, that we've got so many cars running so close together now, that we're gonna have those things happen. None of it is really intentional, it just happens."

CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THE LAST FIVE LAPS OR SO?

"I think that me finishing second today is borderline a felony. We might need to spend a few hours in jail before we go home, but we didn't deserve to finish second. I was really, really, really happy to be in that position. I knew I couldn't catch Mark. I knew there was no way. The harder I tried the slower I'd go. I called Mark and told him, 'Hey, just be cool. You do not have to worry about me. I can not beat you.' If I had a car that could have beat him, I wouldn't have done that. I would have gone up there and made him really race for him, but I was running as hard as I could run and he was driving away. I didn't want to run any harder, I didn't want to push myself any more. By me telling Mark, 'Hey, you don't have to worry about me beating you,' I was telling myself that too -- 'Slow down, don't make a mistake, be really happy with second' and that's kind of why we did that."

HOW HAS YOUR SEASON BEEN SO FAR?

"We haven't performed at the same level that we did last year at this time. There's no question about that. At the same time, I think our team is better, I think we're stronger, I think that we're smarter, I just think competition has gotten tougher. The same old same old just doesn't work anymore. You've got to be a little more innovative than we've wanted to be at places like here and Bristol. Today was as bad as we've run and if you can run bad, just like Dale Jarrett did last year early in the year. He didn't have many good runs, he always found a way to eek out a finish and we've done that. We did it at Bristol, we did it here and that's important. We didn't break anything today, we finished. Had we not broke and had we not blown a tire at Atlanta and Rockingham we would be in great shape, but I feel we got one of those paid back today. I mean, I can't complain about bad luck because we had great luck today. We could have just as easily 15th as we did second."

MARK MARTIN

DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA WHERE YOU WOULD HAVE FINISHED IN THIS RACE IF ALL THAT WOULDN'T HAVE HAPPENED?

"It was a first-place car under the circumstances, but I never saw the front, I'm sure you saw that and I know what you mean. I have no idea. It was a darn fast car in the lead there at the end on the last set of Goodyear tires. This is such an odd race track. Goodyear had such a great tire for this track today. Jimmy Fennig and the guys made such a brilliant call in the pits. We were shooting hard for a top-10 finish and then also a special thanks goes to Jeff Burton and Frank Stoddard. We were having a really tough day yesterday and after it was over with we confided in them for some help and things were better for us today. We didn't have a spectacular car, but it sure was good enough to win the race if we had the lead. The car worked good on tires on the long runs, so we stole it. I'll take it."

JEFF SAID HE SHOULD BE IN JAIL FOR BEING RUNNER UP. YOU DON'T FEEL THAT BAD, DO YOU?

"I feel like we stole it.  I don't know.  We were making some pretty good
laps according to my team there at the end.  I didn't want to lose.  I
held on like a mean dog.  I wanted it."

DOES IT MATTER TO GET A WIN THIS EARLY?

"It's nice to win anytime. I went winless in '96 and it didn't get tougher, it was tough every week. We couldn't seem to pull one off even though we could contend every week week-in and week-out. Things just go that way. It feels great to get a win here. My race team is fantastic. They are the best and I like to give them a win once in a while to reward them for all that they do and the sacrifices that they make. It's really good. I mean, we're off to a good start this year."

IS THE CHAMPIONSHIP MORE WIDE OPEN NOW THIS YEAR THAN IN THE PAST?

"NASCAR has the rules jockeyed around now to where the cars get more even and closer all the time and as you see today you couldn't pass out there. Rusty got back there and even he couldn't pass. He surely had a superior car and I know he's a lot better driver than I am at Martinsville. For my race team to win a race at Martinsville with me is the biggest victory that they could ever have because I'm terrible here and I know it. I'm pretty well pleased. The championship, it'll be what it is. Eight different winners, that's cool and you guys can write about that all you want. Somebody gets on a hot streak and that'll change, but for now I guess that's good writing."

ARE THE CIRCUMSTANCES ABOUT TODAY THE REASON YOU SAY IT'S THE BIGGEST WIN OF YOUR CAREER?

"We stole this thing, you know.  That's how I feel.  I just, I don't know.  
I was leading, I ran hard and nobody came.  I thought they would all come
and pass me, but I never saw anybody coming, so.  You saw it better than I
did.  I don't know what happened.  We just won that race, I don't know."

DO YOU FEEL APOLOGETIC FOR WINNING?

"I'm just glad I built a nice trophy case back at my office and I've got something to add to it besides a Busch trophy. I believe there's a clock in this thing also to make room for I believe, right? My wife has nagged me about one of those grandfather clocks for 10 years."

CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THE DECISION TO COME IN ON THE CAUTION AND THEN STAYING OUT?

"I guess we were probably running about eighth and we were chancing losing some spots because I didn't know if I was gonna be able to pass those guys back or not that stayed out. You know, when you're not running that great and you don't really have a chance, it's a lot easier to take chances and gambles and stuff like that then when you're a contender. When you're a contender, man, you've got to hedge your bet. You've got to really try to make sure you do the right thing. Where we were at, man, we had 16-17 cars on the lead lap and I was about halfway to the back of that line and I wasn't gonna go forward, so why not? And, you know, I had to believe that they were gonna stop before the end of the race. That was a long way to go, so we stopped and got our stop done. It was just a matter of chance and brilliance on Jim Fennig's part."

IS TRACK POSITION MORE IMPORTANT THESE DAYS?

"Yes, it is. I don't like that. Obviously, it delivered a win for me today, but I don't have to like it. I liked it when if you ran good you could come through there and go to the front. That's how I really like it. That's racing to me, but, we stole one today and I'm glad we did. We'll take one however we can. We've certainly lost them that same way many times, so today was our day."

WHO MADE THE CALL TO COME IN WHEN YOU DID?

"I think I called it and then Jimmy was with it and then I questioned it when the leaders didn't come. He said, 'You come,' so we did and that's how it went. I thought it was time to do it and then I questioned it when the leaders come, but he said, 'No, come on.' I said, 'You still want to come, the leaders aren't coming,' and he said, 'Yes.'"

CAN YOU TALK ABOUT YOUR CONVERSATIONS WITH JEFF AND FRANK AFTER PRACTICE?

"Yeah, they gave us some direction. They were running really good and they gave us some direction. We changed some things around. We didn't run their shocks, we elected to run the shocks we had worked out but we did do a bunch of things that they had on their car springwise and what have you because what we had wasn't working yesterday as far as the setup went. Last year we were so fast on Saturday's practice that they came over to us and integrated some of our stuff into their program and that's probably why they didn't run good. I am the worst driver at Martinsville there probably is, so for my team to win a race here with me is pretty big."

AT WHAT POINT DID YOU REALIZE NOBODY WAS COMING BEHIND YOU AND WHO WERE YOU EXPECTING?

"You guys know I've lost a lot more races than I've won. I figured somebody would spoil it or at least once again prove that I'm dumber than the average guy out there and mess it up. These things aren't won until their won and I've been part of plenty of examples that went bad at all points nearing the end of the race. I figured Rusty would be coming for sure. I never saw the lead, but I thought he was the man all day and I figured he'd just bounce right up through there and a bunch of others with fresh tires."

WHEN DID YOU THINK YOU WERE OK?

"Well, unless I did something stupid which was very likely. I don't know. I mean, yeah, I knew they weren't gonna catch me unless I goofed up...jump across the curb, spin out, I can find something dumb to do, believe me. I just tried to make sure I didn't. We really had, of the cars behind us, the quickest car and I had to make sure I drove it pretty fast but didn't mess anything up. The more distance I got in between us the better I felt about it."

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jeff Burton , Dale Jarrett , Michael Waltrip , Mark Martin