Homestead: Martin, Kenseth pre-race interview

MARK MARTIN-MATT KENSETH PRESS CONFERENCE MARK MARTIN -- No. 6 Viagra Taurus: "I thought I had him. That's the overview. Oh man, I'm the luckiest man in the world to drive that 6 car. I sure hope that we're able to keep all those guys ...

MARK MARTIN-MATT KENSETH PRESS CONFERENCE

MARK MARTIN -- No. 6 Viagra Taurus: "I thought I had him. That's the overview. Oh man, I'm the luckiest man in the world to drive that 6 car. I sure hope that we're able to keep all those guys together. They are true winners. We scored a lot of points in the chase. If you look at what we did, we were in the top five almost every race, except for two where one time we shot ourselves in the foot, and the other time the wreck at Talladega. I'm just hoping that I can drive cars that good again next year. That was fun. The track was spectacular tonight."

MATT KENSETH -- No. 17 DeWalt Taurus: "We didn't run very good tonight, really. We finished really good, we just got a really fast pit stop at the end and got two tires. My car was pretty good on two tires for about five or six laps, I could actually keep up with Mark and Greg, and then it just kind of gave up a little bit but we were out far enough to finish third. That was about it. We didn't run very good, we just finished good."

A GOOD FEELING OR DISAPPOINTMENT THAT YOU HAD FIVE GUYS IN IT AND DIDN'T WIN?

MARK MARTIN: "I'm happy to be fourth considering I was fifth coming in. My team's performance was spectacular in the chase, so I can't ask for more than that."

MATT KENSETH: "I think that once you get in anything less than winning it is somewhat a disappointment, but kind of like Jeff said, if you perform good, that's what you feel good about. Probably seven out of the 10 races we performed really good to be contenders in the top five at least. Other than that, we had some trouble in a few races. When you have trouble, you lose a lot of points. When you run good every week and don't have trouble, you get a lot, so at least we've been running good. That's the main thing. A couple races in the chase we didn't run that good, but overall we ran pretty good and that gives me some hope for next year."

ON TONY STEWART WINNING.

MARK MARTIN: "I would like to say congratulations to those guys, and one other thing. Last year, surely the champion didn't score as many points as Tony did this year. I don't know, but I'd have to say that 19 out of 21 races being in the top 10, you're not gonna beat that. Those guys were unbelievable. Old or new point system, that's just incredible."

ARE YOU ENCOURAGED ABOUT NEXT YEAR NOW?

MARK MARTIN: "I turned over a new leaf. Kenny Wallace said I was a pessimist after Charlotte, so I got mad and I'm so excited about coming back that I just can't stand it. I wish we were starting tomorrow and I'm gonna win (laughter). That's the new me." JEFF GORDON SAYS, "It took Kenny Wallace for you to figure that out?" MARK SAYS, "Yep, it took Kenny Wallace."

THOUGHTS ON THE LAST LAP.

MARK MARTIN: "I got a good run across the bottom of one and two and got off the corner beside him. The outside just has so much momentum here and it also pulls the inside car loose. For every single reason in the book I didn't want to wipe us both out, but I sure did want to win. Being able to hold beside him down the backstretch made me feel pretty good. If I could get into three and get it stuck down on the bottom, I felt like I had a good chance if I didn't get sideways. I had to let him roll in a little bit further into the corner and I got it pinned to the bottom and got back to the gas, and when I did that -- without getting sideways -- I thought, 'This could be our race here.' He just rolled the top just a little bit -- he had that momentum coming off the corner -- and, like I say, it was just so close.

It was just inches, but I thought there when I got it pinned down on the white line and got back to the gas, if he hadn't had just a really perfect corner around the top there, we would have had him by a few inches, but it was a great race. He's a great competitor. As you guys saw, my car was faster on the long runs and that thing was just spectacular on the long runs. It's strong suit was not restarts, and it just took me a few laps to get that thing rolling on the restart and he got to the front first. If I could have cleared those two guys and got out in clean air and got a couple of laps under my belt before Greg got to me, I think I might have been able to keep him back, but he got to me so quick that my car just wouldn't roll yet. It took it a few laps to come around."

HAVE YOU NOTICED A DIFFERENT TONY THIS YEAR?

MARK MARTIN: "I think Tony drives a lot the same. He definitely has learned to handle situations better through experience and that's a hard thing to do, but, like Jeff said, I don't believe the trophy makes the man. Tony Stewart, in my eyes, is the greatest race car driver I've watched drive in this era. A.J. Foyt might have been that when I was a little boy, but Tony Stewart is my driving hero."

FINAL COMMENTS:

MARK MARTIN: "I would like to say one more thing. I want to salute Rusty Wallace and Ricky Rudd. This is big. I'm excited for Rusty and sad for Rusty at the same time. I'm so excited for him to start a new chapter in his life. I am incredibly sad to think that all those times that we had and all the things that we've done along the way are a thing of the past. I look forward to the next 30 years. If they can be anything like the past 30, we're still in for a good time. He's entertained me for almost 30 years."

THOUGHTS ON CARL'S FUTURE.

MARK MARTIN: "They asked me after the race about him and I said, 'He's magic.' And they said, 'How do you mean?' And I said, 'Well, you see him. He's magic.' The guy is pretty incredible. That's all I can say."

MATT KENSETH: "Carl is just massively talented. Some people are really gifted and naturals at it, and then there are other people probably like me that have to work really hard at it. Carl is one of those guys that it just comes so natural that I don't think he has to work real hard at it. I'm not saying he doesn't work hard because he does and he's real interested in the sport. You see him walk down pit road. He's the only driver I've ever seen in my life walk down pit road during qualifying with a headset on listening to the scanner to see what everybody is saying about the race track. I mean, he's really involved in it, but he's just so naturally talented. He reminds me a lot -- they're different personalities -- but he reminds me a lot of Greg Biffle. Those two guys can just get in anything and drive it an inch off the fence without hitting it all day long and get every ounce there is out of the car all the time. I think he probably surprised us all with how good he did, but he's definitely one of those gifted people."

DID IT OCCUR TO YOU BEFORE THE RACE THAT YOU COULD HAVE WON YOUR LAST RACE IN THE VIAGRA CAR?

MARK MARTIN: "This particular one I was too busy, but you know what, now that you say that, I might have been willing to wreck for it if it would have been my last one. I don't know. That wouldn't have been my style, but I did everything I could to win it, but that's pretty ironic. I would have been in a pickle, wouldn't I. I would have been in a pickle right there. I hadn't thought of that, but, anyway, it was a great race and it was a lot of fun, we just came up short today."

-ford racing-

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Tony Stewart , Rusty Wallace , Kenny Wallace , A.J. Foyt