MARK MARTIN - No. 6 Batman Begins Taurus (Finished 3rd) YOU'RE SO SOLID. "Yeah, it's really awesome. I had a lucky stroke of luck at Pocono. We were running third and were gonna run no worse than third and had a flat tire and should have been...
MARK MARTIN - No. 6 Batman Begins Taurus (Finished 3rd)
YOU'RE SO SOLID.
"Yeah, it's really awesome. I had a lucky stroke of luck at Pocono. We were running third and were gonna run no worse than third and had a flat tire and should have been about 25th, but the caution came out and I only got passed by a few cars. It was hard to feel lucky, but at the same time it did save us some points because we were in trouble with the flat tire and managed to limp around on the caution and get a seventh place. This was a great effort by Pat Tryson and the Viagra team today. The car was the very best it had been all day on that last run and the last adjustment just when you needed it. I couldn't be more pleased. It was another great day for the salute tour and my fans who have supported me all through the years. I just want to support them all."
HAVE YOU EVER SEEN A TEAM AS DOMINANT AS ROUSH RIGHT NOW?
"No, but you know you have to remember we're in a different era now. It's never quite been like this before either. Golly, look at Bill Elliott and what he did in '85 or whatever year it was. Look at what Darrell Waltrip did a few of those years in Junior's cars, so it's definitely and odd thing. I haven't seen anything like this from '90 on for sure."
WITH AS GOOD AS YOU GUYS HAVE BEEN DO YOU EXPECT NASCAR TO PUT YOU UNDER THE MICROSCOPE?
"I have seen that in the past (laughing)."
BUT IT'S FIVE CARS DOING THIS.
"I think the reason we're running is because we've got great engines right now and we've got great handling packages. Let me tell you, I know it's only my opinion, but I believe that, in my opinion, Roush Racing has the hottest lineup of drivers in NASCAR depth-wise. We don't have an off team period right now, and Hendrick is close to that as well. They're close. They're knocking on that door, but definitely the best lineup of people. We've got great engines and great drivers and great crew chiefs and really good handling packages."
IS THERE A PACK MENTALITY THAT YOU WORK TOGETHER WITH ALL FIVE SO CLOSE?
"No, we don't work together like that (laughing). We're all racing for ourselves. We wouldn't do anything that would hurt one of the other guys that wouldn't help us. You know, if you can give a guy a break and it doesn't hurt you, then you do that. But I'd do that for Jeff Burton, and I would do that for Rusty Wallace as well. I do that for my friends as well as my teammates, but, no, we don't work together really. Those opportunities aren't really there because we're racing against one another for everything as well."
YOU MUST HAVE PICKED THE RIGHT SETUP.
"We ran really good here last time here and so did Biffle, and we run a different setup than Biffle does a little bit, and he ran a lot of what he ran last time and we ran a lot like what we ran last time. We ran second to him last time and third to him today."
ANY REASON WHY THE FORDS WERE SO GOOD TODAY BUT DIDN'T QUALIFY THAT WELL?
"It's just little handling things. We don't have enough tires on an impound thing to find out for sure how they're gonna be at lap 30 or something. When we come here to any race, especially an impound race, if you're working with new setup stuff or you're a little bit outside the box, it can show up later on in the run and not show up in five or 10-lap runs in practice."
YOU'RE HAPPY WITH THIRD AND TONY IS DISAPPOINTED WITH SECOND. WHY?
"No, no. I never saw Tony all day, but I think he dominated, didn't he? I was under the impression that he dominated all day. Anytime you dominate all day and you don't win, you're broken hearted. I didn't dominate. I finished up better than I ran all day, so you've got to be happy with that."
DID BIFFLE'S TEAM JUST NEED CONFIDENCE?
"They started really coming up to speed back in August, really big-time and they've had the speed ever since and they've started being able to close the deal once they built that momentum and built that confidence. All of them were actually doing something that was kind of new to them and as they started closing the deal, they just got better and better at it. They have speed. They have big corner speed. That's serving them well."
WHAT ABOUT THE LAST CAUTION?
"It turned out good for us. We made a chassis adjustment and the car was the fastest it had been the whole race, so we came out. We vacated fifth place for the tires and finished third. One more lap - I had caught Tony - and was able to start trying to work on him, so that was certainly an improvement for us."
IS THERE CONCERN ABOUT A DOWNTURN FOR ROUSH LATER IN THE YEAR?
"Now you know we don't have control over that. We just take it when we can get it and work as hard as we can all the time no matter where you are in the cycle."
BETTER TO GET A STRONG START NOW TO AVOID THAT LATER IN THE YEAR?
"We don't have control over all that. I've been asked a million times about winning races, I'm just glad I won some. I didn't get to choose which ones they were (laughing), or I would have won 34 Daytona 500s, I guess. I didn't get to choose and that's kind of how this is. We're running good right now. We're reaping what we have sewed for a long time. We've been working real hard for a long time and it's showing now."
YOU SEEM TO BE ENJOYING YOURSELF THIS EAR.
"I really am the happiest I can ever remember right now. I'm very happy. I'm excited about 2006. I'm at peace with what I'm doing right now and if I can keep this up, I can truly say that I'm going out at the top of my game and not just near. I used the near word when I started this season. I would like to go out near the top of my game, but if we can keep this rolling we might be able to justify calling it top."
THE LAST 10 RACES ARE GOING TO BE VERY IMPORTANT FOR YOU.
"Yeah, I can't say what we're gonna do. We're not looking at those now. All we're doing is trying to make this chase. It's still really, really tight. Broken parts and wrecks can destroy the opportunity for us to make the chase. We've already been in two idiotic wrecks already that have really set ups back - two or three - so we can't afford to have that happen. Actually three, otherwise we'd be real comfortable right now and I've got to miss those things if they happen in front of me. I've missed a bunch of them, but I didn't miss three of them."
HOW WAS THE TIRE WEAR?
"The tire wear on the borderline of excessive this weekend on the tire. They could have drove slow like me and made them last longer, but they chose not to. I was concerned about them. I am points racing. I didn't drive very hard until late in the race because in order to finish first, first you must finish."
IS THIS ANOTHER EXAMPLE OF GOOD OLD FASHIONED RACING?
"Thanks for reminding me. I meant to mention that when I came in here. That's good times, man. It reminds me of the old days and my car is running like the old days. It was sweet. It was sweet to go out there and let the fast cars race for it over the long haul. That's what NASCAR was built on. It may not be as exciting as a caution every five laps and restarts and all that crazy jazz, but it's definitely what this sport is built on."
ANYTHING ELSE BESIDE THE CHAMPIONSHIP YOU WANT?
"Yeah, I want to give this salute tour justice. I want to salute the fans, the media, the sponsors and the competitors. It's my way of giving them the respect that they've given me over the years and that's what's really important to me, and it's going well."