There have been two NASCAR Winston Cup races and two NASCAR Busch Grand National events held at Las Vegas Motor Speedway the past two years, but there have only been two winners. Mark Martin and Jeff Burton have taken turns winning both events...
There have been two NASCAR Winston Cup races and two NASCAR Busch Grand National events held at Las Vegas Motor Speedway the past two years, but there have only been two winners. Mark Martin and Jeff Burton have taken turns winning both events giving Roush Racing a rather impressive undefeated streak at one of the newest tracks on the circuit. Martin, Burton and owner Jack Roush talk about their success and whether or not it can continue this weekend.
MARK MARTIN --6-- Valvoline Taurus -- CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THE SUCCESS YOU'VE ENJOYED AT LAS VEGAS? "Vegas is cool. I hated Vegas with a passion before they put a race track there. I did everything in my power to avoid going to Las Vegas. Since they put a race track there, I've found out that it's a real pretty place, it's got some good food and some cool sights to see and cool things to do even if you don't gamble, plus the race track is one of the best I've ever driven on. We've had a nice string of success there and we look forward to trying to keep it going." WHY DIDN'T YOU LIKE GOING THERE BEFORE? DID IT HAVE TO DO WITH RACING IN YOUR EARLIER CAREER? "I raced there at Craig Road and 77. I wasn't interested in gambling and I wasn't interested in the hype that was going on with that place. I wanted to race and Craig Road wasn't much of a place to race, so there wasn't much attraction for me there. But, things have changed a lot out there since the seventies and eighties. It's a fun place to go because you can see things and do things and it's a really great place to race."
JEFF BURTON --99-- Exide Batteries Taurus -- IS THERE ANY SPECIFIC REASON FOR YOUR SUCCESS? "I don't know. I think it's a race track that Mark and I both like. If you look at the way our teams have performed, it seems those kind of race tracks are the ones we always seem to run well on. We got a firm grip early on in the deal. Mark went out and tested at Vegas when it was a new track and brought back a lot of really good information, a lot of that information I was able to use. Once I'm able to use some information, then I can start to give some information back. He shortcuts it for me and vice versa. If I get him on the right track quicker, then he will take that and evolve it into something better, and then I can improve on that. So, I think he had a good test out there early on in the deal and then we've just had momentum from there. The setups that we've had have been very competitive. The 99 has had a chance to win both races there and the 6 has also, so that's a track where it seems our plan has really come together." WILL THE OTHER TEAMS EVENTUALLY CATCH UP? "I hope we'll be better at Vegas three years from now than we were the previous two, but everybody else will be better too. That's kind of what happens. You can have something that works really well for a little while, but sooner or later somebody is gonna figure out something better. Then, what you had is still good it's just not as good as what they've got and that's what happens." CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THE CIRCUMSTANCES AROUND LAST YEAR'S WIN? "We all took a lot of pride in winning that race. To win that race was a really big deal. We did not have the best car for the majority of the day. We made our car the best car. We had a great pit stop. We did everything right at the right time to win that race. When you do that you oughta enjoy it and take a lot of pride in it and we did. It is hard when your brother is the one that you have to beat, there's no question about it. There were a lot of disappointed people after that race -- the 2 car, the 88 car, the 22 car. If you look at who really ran well the whole day, those cars really stand out and, for some reason, at the end of the race they didn't run as well as they did at the beginning or the middle or the three-quarter mark. We got a hold on the track at the appropriate time and we had good track position, so that obviously helped too. I don't feel bad about winning that race one bit. I do feel bad that it had to be Ward that I had to beat, but I raced Ward every bit as hard as I raced anybody else. In that situation we deserved to win that race. We didn't luck into it, we didn't fall into it, we did the things that we needed to do at the right time."
JACK ROUSH, Car Owner -- Roush Racing Tauruses -- WHAT ABOUT THIS STREAK? "That's a really small sample size. I think over the broad picture that we will not win more at Las Vegas than other folks and we're less likely to win this year than we have been in the past. If you look at a 10-year run, we will probably not win more than our contemporaries. There has been a pattern at Texas and at Las Vegas with Mark and Jeff. We've won inaugural races at both places and we did very well when they changed the Richmond race track initially with Mark. We did well when we went to Loudon for the first time. Mark and Jeff both adapt very, very well to anything that changes in the race track environment and the fact that nobody had books or a lot of history to draw from let their ability to really adapt be telling. As everybody else is able to build a history of information that's useful for them to set up the cars for the races, I think that we'll lose that advantage." IS IT FUN FOR YOU AND YOUR ORGANIZATION TO GO TO VEGAS THIS WEEK AND TRY TO KEEP THIS STREAK ALIVE? "I try not to have too much fun (laughing). I'll think less about the idea of keeping the streak going, which I think it's very unlikely that we can win, than I am the chances that we could support another fan to win a million dollars. Mark and Jeff both have got the prospect of competing for the Winston No Bull 5 and that means a fan can really strike it rich there, so I think the excitement that goes around that is something that will likely have more of my attention than the prospect of keeping that streak alive."