FORD RACING NOTES AND QUOTES Pennsylvania 500 Qualifying July 24, 1999 Pocono Raceway Mark Martin, driver of the No. 6 Valvoline/Cummins Taurus, is the only Ford driver who qualified in the top 10 for...
FORD RACING NOTES AND QUOTES Pennsylvania 500 Qualifying July 24, 1999 Pocono Raceway
Mark Martin, driver of the No. 6 Valvoline/Cummins Taurus, is the only Ford driver who qualified in the top 10 for tomorrow's Pennsylvania 500 (2nd). Despite driving with injuries suffered at Daytona, Martin is optimistic about his chances of winning for the first time in his career at Pocono.
6 MARK MARTIN -- Valvoline/Cummins Taurus -- HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT TOMORROW? "I'm feeling good. I'm not distracted with the pain like I was at New Hampshire. Jim Fennig, the guys on the Valvoline team, and I are communicating very well this weekend." POCONO IS ONE OF ONLY FOUR TRACKS YOU HAVE NOT WON ON IN YOUR CAREER. (INDIANAPOLIS, DAYTONA AND NEW HAMPSHIRE ARE THE OTHERS) WHAT'S THE SECRET? "It's just a matter of time. One of the best places on the entire Winston Cup circuit that I run at is Dover. It always has been and it always will be, and I thought I never would win there until we finally won in '97. We could have won there the first or second year on the circuit and this is another one like that. We run real well here, but we've been second or third. I don't feel bad about that, I feel good about that. I feel good about my chances and that one of these days it's gonna turn out to be our turn." AS FAR AS THE POINTS CHASE, WHY DOES IT SEEM THE GAP IS SO MUCH BIGGER THIS SEASON COMPARED TO THE LAST TWO? "Coincidence. There's a lot of that in Winston Cup racing that the media doesn't give credit to. Coincidence sometimes...or when somebody has a good stretch like Dale Jarrett and the 88 team, or anybody else. It's very competitive. Little things make little differences and a lot of little differences make a big difference over the long haul. Those guys (the 88 team) have been there and, with the exception of Daytona, they haven't had any trouble or not very much trouble compared to the rest of us."
Dale Jarrett, driver of the No. 88 Quality Care Service/Ford Credit Taurus, was the second-highest Ford qualifier for Sunday's race (15th). The NASCAR Winston Cup points leader spoke about his hopes for gaining a third-career triumph in this event.
88 DALE JARRETT -- Quality Care Service/Ford Credit Taurus -- WHAT ABOUT TOMORROW? "It's gonna be typical Pocono -- hot weather, the track's slick. Handling is the key here with the three different turns. There's no reason to think you won't see kind of the same guys that have generally run up front here -- Gordon, Burton, Mark Martin, Rusty, Bobby Labonte -- the guys that you're gonna have to beat, so there's no reason to think that there's anything different." HOW WAS THE CAR IN PRACTICE? "The car was real good this morning. It's a little bit of an overcast situation, so you've gotta be a little careful there, but chances are we'll have some of that throughout the day and tomorrow too. That's what seemed to really tighten our car up at the end of the first race -- the cloud cover -- and we have the potential for that tomorrow with the heat and the thunderstorms we could possibly get, so we've got to be ready to make some adjustments." YOU'VE BEEN CONSISTENT ALL YEAR. "That's the key to trying to stay out front and trying to win championships. We've analyzed over the past few years what we needed to do and what others have done to beat us and what it always comes out to is not necessarily the guy that wins the most races. You've got to win your share, but it's the team that has the fewest problems. So far to this point, we've been that team with the fewest problems. If we can continue that trend, then we'll be OK." THERE'S STILL A LONG WAY TO GO ISN'T THERE? "A long way to go. The majority of that could evaporate tomorrow with some bad luck, but all we can do is go out and race our race and continue to try to win races. If we can win races we know we're not gonna lose any points to anybody and that's the best way we know to keep ourselves out front." YOU TALKED AGAIN WITH JEFF GORDON ABOUT NEW HAMPSHIRE. IS THAT WATER UNDER THE BRIDGE? "Oh yeah. As far as I'm concerned Loudon is over with. We're here at Pocono to race whoever is up front and he's normally up front, so I guess we'll have to race him here. That's over. It's a situation we both wish probably wouldn't have happened, but it did. I don't know if it's necessarily bad for the sport, it's just the heat of the moment. We're athletes that have a passion for what we do and whenever the cameras happen to be there at the wrong minute you're gonna get some things said and see some things that everybody might not appreciate. We'll do our best to race and put on a good show for the fans and Jeff and I have a lot of racing to do against each other for a long time to come I hope." IS IT JUST A CASE WHERE IF YOU RACE LONG ENOUGH YOU'RE GOING TO HAVE RUN-INS WITH DIFFERENT GUYS? "If you race here enough you're pretty much gonna run across everybody out here at sometime and things are gonna happen. I know that beating and banging, especially on a flat one-mile race track, is part of this business but I felt at the time it was a little excessive. I've gotten letters about how my dad and them didn't do that and jump out whenever they beat and banged, but I'll inform the people that they did plenty of that, there just weren't any cameras around to catch it then."
Stanton Barrett, driver of the No. 90 Hills Brothers Coffee Taurus, was the second-round fastest qualifier for tomorrow's Pennsylvania 500. The former Hollywood stuntman will make his second career NASCAR Winston Cup start after finishing 30th in the Las Vegas 400.
90 STANTON BARRETT -- Hills Brothers Coffee Taurus -- "We changed just about everything on the car you could think of, but this crew pushed really hard. We just put our heads together. I knew it was a case of either doing it now or going home and I don't like going home. These guys are here to make races. They haven't had sponsors all year, so I think it was just a combination of a lot of heart and desire by the crew and myself and that's what got us in the show." ARE YOU GOING TO HAVE SOME FUN TOMORROW? "I hope so. We've got 500 miles and I'm here to gain experience and grow our program for next year. I don't know where we'll end up tomorrow, but we'll tackle one mountain at a time. This team has struggled to get in races all year and we got into this one with less than a lot of people, so it says a lot for our team and, I hope, for myself, especially being a rookie. I'm gonna go out and make 500 miles and that's our goal, whether we finish first or last. Our goal is to get this team back in race modes and learn all we can, so that's what we're gonna try to do tomorrow."
NOTES: Elliott Sadler, driver of the No. 21 Citgo Taurus, was taken to Penn State Geisinger Wyoming Valley Hospital for further evaluation and x-rays on a possible fracture to his left foot. Sadler hit the wall in turn one during his second-round qualifying attempt...Jerry Nadeau and his Melling Racing team had to take their first provisional of the season after qualifying 42nd. Nadeau hit the wall coming out of turn three during practice on Friday and was forced to a backup car. There are currently only six teams who have not used provisionals this season -- Dale Jarrett, Bobby Labonte, Tony Stewart, Jeff Gordon, Mike Skinner and John Andretti.
Jeremy Mayfield, driver of the No. 12 Mobil 1 Taurus, is scheduled to start 20th in tomorrow's Pennsylvania 500. He's hoping history will repeat as he brought back the car in which he won the Pocono 500 last year. Mayfield, who is 10th in the NASCAR Winston Cup standings, spoke about the race.
12 JEREMY MAYFIELD -- Mobil 1 Taurus -- HOW WAS PRACTICE TODAY AND WHAT ARE YOUR HOPES FOR TOMORROW? "We had a good practice and I got the feel back that I've been looking for all year long. I'm really excited about that. I learned a lot of stuff at Indy that we felt was hurting us all year and this is the first place we've been since testing there and we're finding out it's all true. We brought the same car I had last year back for this race and I've got the feel I'm looking for." WHAT KIND OF THINGS DID YOU FIND. SHOCKS, SPRINGS, CHASSIS? "Just a lot of stuff, just the balance of the race car. The aero package is so much different this year than it was last year and I had to get the feel back I was looking for and I've got it now." DID YOU GUYS JUST GO BACK TO BASICS? "That's basically what we did. I wouldn't call it basics as much as getting back to where we were when we were running good. We had a good thing going and ventured off a little bit and it got away from us." ARE YOU MORE COMFORTABLE COMING BACK HERE AT A PLACE YOU WON AND WITH THE CAR YOU WON WITH? "That's another thing that's good, knowing it's the same car, but it is definitely a confidence booster."
Elliott Sadler, driver of the No. 21 Citgo Taurus, hit the wall during his second-round qualifying attempt and was taken to Penn State Geisinger Wyoming Valley Hospital for x-rays. The examination revealed no break, but the team will have Morgan Shepherd standing by for Happy Hour and the race.
21 ELLIOTT SADLER -- Citgo Taurus -- "I went into (turn) one and didn't want to let the guys down and have to take a provisional. I was really just trying to get all I could get out of the car. The car drove great, I just jumped on the gas a little bit too early and it just wiggled on me a little bit and came on around. I hit nose-end first. It's just a shame. This has probably been the worst weekend of racing I've ever had. I don't know why, but everything seems to be going wrong so far. The guys have really been supportive of me and now we just have to try to get us a good race piece this afternoon. Morgan (Shepherd) is gonna come and drive the car some just in case we need some help tomorrow and he might be able to help me some on driving up here. It's just a bad weekend so far." HOW DID YOUR FOOT GET HURT? "I hit the top of my (left) foot on the clutch pedal. It slid off the brake and hit the clutch and just bruised the top of it up pretty bad, it shifted my bones around a little bit and a lot of muscle tissue, I think, ripped and is swollen up real bad. No bones are broken, so that's the good thing. I thought when I first walked in there was a pretty big knot sticking out of it and I couldn't touch it. The doctors did a good job with a lot of ice and stuff and that's helped me out a lot. I seem to be OK. Nothing else is really sore other than that. That was the main thing I was worried about because that's what hurt as soon as I hit the wall, but it seems to be OK."
NOTE: The Citgo team has been busy all weekend long. They had to replace two motors yesterday prior to qualifying after blowing each of them in practice, and then lost a third in Sadler's accident.