MARK MARTIN --6-- Pfizer Taurus ARE YOU READY FOR A MILLION DOLLAR PAYDAY? "This could be the one. Certainly, there's no real big bonus for having the fastest race car and that plays in my hands because I'm sure I don't fit that category. If...
MARK MARTIN --6-- Pfizer Taurus
ARE YOU READY FOR A MILLION DOLLAR PAYDAY?
"This could be the one. Certainly, there's no real big bonus for having the fastest race car and that plays in my hands because I'm sure I don't fit that category. If there's ever a race where the fastest car might not win, this might be it, so that puts me in good shape. We're gonna go out here and try to make sure that we have our car handling well -- that's usually important here and we hope that comes into play more than anyone expects here tomorrow night. We'll try to make sure we do our homework in that area and give it our best shot to try and be in position toward the end to either make a move or prevent a move from being made the winds up making a fan a millionaire."
JEFF BURTON --99-- Citgo SUPERGARD Taurus
YOU'VE WON THIS BONUS THREE TIMES.
"Well, all of these other guys want it to and there are 37 or 38 others that want it, but the Winston thing is a lot of fun. It adds that much more excitement to the race weekend. I've been fortunate to win three of these and it adds a lot of excitement to the weekend. Of course, this race doesn't need anymore excitement, but it's fun. The funnest part is if you do win is seeing the fan that wins a million bucks. That's pretty cool and then being able to talk to them a few months later and see how it's impacted their lives. That's pretty fun."
HOW DO YOU THINK THE WINSTON CUP COMMUNITY HAS HANDLED WHAT HAPPENED IN THE 500 THESE FIRST TWO DAYS?
"I think everybody's handled it really well. One thing that everybody needs to realize is that that happened five months ago and everywhere we've gone has been another race. As drivers, I don't think we associate race tracks with death. This race track isn't what killed Dale Earnhardt. Obviously, we've dealt with it for a long time. We've had time to deal with it. I haven't really talked to other drivers about it. I think that everybody wants to make it look like that we're all really concerned about coming back to Daytona because of what happened to Earnhardt. I think we're all concerned about coming back to Daytona because of the rules package. Old Flipper here (Tony Stewart), what he did at Daytona in an 18-car wreck, I mean, that could happen. We are concerned about that. Anyone that says that you're not concerned about it is kind of crazy because when you put that many cars in a big pack, something is bound to happen. It may not happen Saturday night, it may not happen the next time at Talladega, but, eventually, it's gonna happen and that's just the way it is."
AT WHAT POINT DO YOU GET YOURSELF IN A POSITION LATE IN THE RACE?
"I think that it just so happens that for the guys who do well, they typically take credit for the moves that they made to put 'em there. In reality, the guys that don't do well, they say it was a matter of circumstances. I think the guys that do well was a matter of circumstances more than them being so smart. I've done well myself and I know I'm not smart, so I know that was circumstances. What you do on the race track is either right or wrong mostly based on what the other guys around you do. You don't control them very much. You could have an impact on what they do, but what everyone else does makes what you do either right or wrong a lot of times. I think from a fan's standpoint -- it hurts me to say this -- but from a fan's standpoint Daytona and Talladega are two of the best shows that they can see. And, again, it hurts me real bad to say that because I think the competitors feel a little bit different than that. Obviously, Bobby Hamilton feels like it was a great deal, a great rules package and everything at Talladega, but I'm not sure Sterling Marlin feels that way. So, when it all comes down to it, in the end, it's more for the TV ratings and the fans -- the ratings and the ticket sales -- than it is whether we're having fun or like it or not.
"The next week, when you leave here we go to Chicago and it goes back to what I like to refer to as real racing -- when you hold the gas pedal a little longer than the guy next to you and that's how you make the pass. Handling and all those kinds of things. When we're here for this race, it comes down to the draft and who makes what move. By the way, you could have made a brilliant move and it might not have worked at all because someone next to you did something different than you expected. But it's all part of 36 races on the schedule. It's one of 36. It's the Pepsi 400 and the fans are here and excited about it. My comment about coming back to Daytona was that most of the drivers and most of the fans came here to put on a show -- to see a great show and a great race and that's what we're gonna do."
WHAT IS IT LIKE THE LAST FEW LAPS?
"To answer your question there and, again, I hate to kind of answer it because I think as drivers we kind of know this but we don't want the driver next to us to know it, but it takes an enormous amount of consideration and courtesy to not wreck these cars with the rules package like it is. And the closer we get to the end of the race, the less you're able to offer up that courtesy and pretty soon you really have to start taking a lot more and giving a lot less. As it winds down, the intensity goes crazy out there on the race track. I know it does for me because I know that I have to be willing to wreck on a lot of the moves I have to make. You've got to have your poker face and you've got to show that you're willing to take it to the line, so the last 30 laps and then the last 20 and then the last 10 it just keeps getting a bump and a bump and a bump of intensity. You still don't plan those things. You don't go to the back on purpose and you don't go to the front one lap too soon on purpose. If you do have to go to the front, it's because it worked for you. It's not because you planned it. You might get out and say you planned it. I've seen it happen a lot of times, but you never see the guy who went from the front to the back say he planned that and it happened the same way."
ARE YOU GLAD THE RAIN STOPPED?
"I'm really surprised that we're gonna get a chance to start better than we are in the points. I thought the best we could hope for was starting by points, but it was a great combination of stuff by the crew. Jimmy and all the guys did a great job. We didn't have that yesterday. We ran a .65 yesterday in that trim, so it was a great combination and great judgement on the pieces and parts to put on it to make that run. That's over two-tenths faster than I expected."
JIMMY SPENCER --26-- Kmart Taurus (Qualified 27th)
"It's better than when we were here in February. The boys worked hard on this car and we still didn't get the speed out of it we needed to in qualifying. I don't know. We're naturally gonna have to build some new speedway cars for next year. We have not run well at Daytona or Talladega -- as good as we want to. When that draft comes into effect, I really love that drafting, so, hopefully, we get this thing handling like we had here in February and we can be in the top 10 at the end of the day."