Mark Martin, driver of the No. 6 Viagra Taurus, will be trying to make it two straight wins after qualifying fourth for tomorrow's Pocono 500. Martin, who is currently 13th in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series points standings, is only 75 points...
Mark Martin, driver of the No. 6 Viagra Taurus, will be trying to make it two straight wins after qualifying fourth for tomorrow's Pocono 500. Martin, who is currently 13th in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series points standings, is only 75 points behind 10th-place Ryan Newman.
MARK MARTIN - No. 6 Viagra Taurus
CAN YOU TALK ABOUT SHIFTING AT THIS TRACK? SOME PEOPLE SAY YOU HAVE TO MANDHANDLE IT AND NOT EASE INTO IT.
"Oh, you've got to do it however it works for you. Whatever you do with your feet and whatever you do with the shifter doesn't really matter as long as that works for you. I've been doing it for almost 15 years here and, of course, we've got the road courses. I grew up driving trucks with my dad when I was little and it's not that big of a deal. For me, shifting gears makes it fun."
DO YOU SHIFT THE SAME WAY NOW AS YOU DID WHEN YOU FIRST STARTED HERE? "No, we do it different now. The first time we came up here in '89, we were the only one in the field shifting and that paid off big. People heard about it and started doing it more, so over a period of time we certainly have 100-150 more horsepower now than we did back then and the aerodynamics have changed with the car, so it's changed a lot of the gear ratios and stuff."
ARE YOU AND PAT HAVING FUN? "Yeah, we had fun (Friday) and I had fun last Sunday. We're planning on doing it again this Sunday. We've got a good car. We've already tested this car up here last Thursday and knew we had a good car, so we're pretty good."
YOU ALWAYS SEEM TO RUN WELL HERE. "Things are just going our way right now. We're pretty optimistic about Sunday and I think we're gonna have a great run. We've got a good chance and it (winning at Pocono) could happen any time with the way we run up here. Right now this team is performing so well. They're giving me really good stuff to drive and they're doing a great job on everything. If we can keep the breaks going our way, instead of going against us like they had just about every race until we got to Dover, maybe we can keep that windfall of good things coming."
DO VETERANS HAVE AN ADVANTAGE ON RACEDAY AT THIS TRACK? "There are pluses and minuses to being young. You don't know what can happen to you when you're young and that helps you go fast, but sometimes it gets you in trouble, too. There are two sides to it. Being a veteran, I know what you can do here and what you shouldn't do and how to preserve your equipment for the end. Right now we've got a great race team and we're looking good. I don't think it matters what your age is, it matters what happens on Sunday." WHAT DID THAT WIN MEAN FOR YOUR TEAM? "It was important for all the guys who work overtime and it's also important for the morale of the team because they work so hard and make so many sacrifices."
When you think of the great teams in NASCAR history one of the first that likely comes to mind is Wood Brothers Racing. Likewise, when you talk about the great teams in Major League Baseball history the New York Yankees will be near the top of most lists. Those two will come together Saturday afternoon when Eddie Wood takes in his first Yankees game at Yankee Stadium.
EDDIE WOOD, Co-Owner - No. 21 Keep It Genuine Taurus
THIS IS SOMETHING YOU'RE REALLY LOOKING FORWARD TO ISN'T IT? "Yeah, I was offered up a ticket to go and I didn't hesitate. I've always been a Yankees fan. I'm not a huge baseball fan because I really don't have time to keep up with it, but I do keep up with the Yankees and I have since I was a kid. I was talking about going and somebody asked, 'Who are they playing?' And I said, 'Who cares?' You're going to Yankee Stadium and that's the key to the whole thing. When you think of baseball you think of the Yankees and just to go to the stadium and be there where Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle, Roger Maris and all those guys played at is pretty special. That's like going to Daytona and seeing the great race. There's something about it that's just cool to me."
WHY WERE YOU A YANKEES FAN AS A KID? "I had a Roger Maris autographed model baseball glove as a kid and I always like the pinstripes. They were just special."
SO WHEN YOU GO TO THE STADIUM TODAY WILL YOU BE LIKE A RACE FAN IN THE GARAGE AREA HERE AT POCONO? "Oh, yeah. I don't care about going to a suite or anything like that. I just want to go to my seat and get some hot dogs and peanuts and watch the ball game. That's all I care about."
Greg Biffle, driver of the No. 16 Pennzoil/National Guard/Subway Taurus, was the first car to qualify yesterday and his time held up for ninth overall. But when did Biffle find out his starting position for tomorrow's Pocono 500? After coming off the track, he immediately left for Nashville where he qualified 18th for tonight's Federated Auto Parts 300. He returned to Pocono around 2 a.m. this morning.
GREG BIFFLE - No. 16 Pennzoil/National Guard/Subway Taurus
WHEN DID YOU FIND OUT WHERE YOU QUALIFIED HERE AT POCONO? "
When I landed over there qualifying was just about over. It was still going and I saw we were eighth at the time, but one more guy beat us. I feel bad because we had a car to be on the pole easy and I screwed it up. I was hoping that the pole was gonna be a 52-flat or 51-nineties or eighties, so I didn't feel so bad. I said if I only miss it by a tenth or two I'm gonna be mad and I did. I missed it by two tenths and I left that laying out there easy."
YOU GOT SOME BAD LUCK OUT OF THE WAY BY WINNING IN THE BUSCH SERIES LAST WEEK. CAN YOU DO THAT IN THE CUP SERIES TOMORROW? "Yeah, I think we can win here. We haven't had happy hour yet, but from qualifying we've got a really good car and I'm real excited about it."
CAN YOU TALK ABOUT YESTERDAY AT NASHVILLE AND HOW THAT WENT? "The Charter car is not quite as good as I want it to be right now, but it's decent. I think we were seventh or eighth in happy hour. We didn't qualify as good as we wanted, but it was our first laps on the car and I felt like I was still at Pocono and kind of overdrove the corner a little bit. I think we're gonna have a decent run today. We have to start from 18th and it's kind of hard to pass there, so we've just got to make sure we've got adjustability in the car. I'm sure Brad (Parrott) will have the thing ready to go when we get there."
HAVE YOU TALKED A LOT WITH MIKE MCLAUGHLIN, YOUR SUB OVER THERE? "Yeah, of course I was over there yesterday and took over. He got some laps in the car and kind of got a baseline for me and got it driving good, and then I was able to qualify it and then get it how I wanted it in happy hour. I might have a little advantage on some of the other guys running both races this weekend, but maybe not that much."
YOU HAD A LONG DAY AND NIGHT YESTERDAY. HOW DO YOU FEEL? "I feel a lot better when I woke up this morning. Last night I felt like crap because we got back here so late. We didn't get back here until two in the morning because the race they ran out there had red flag, red flag, yellow flag. I don't know how long it took them. We didn't get on the track until close to 10:00. That's when our happy hour started and it was only a 45-minute happy hour. It was ridiculous that we were there that late into the night practicing, so we didn't get back here until two o'clock. But I feel pretty good this morning."
WHY DO ALL THIS DOUBLE DUTY? "Just because I want to win the championship in the Busch Series again. We're really focused on that, but we're really far behind right now. It's probably a long shot, but I was gonna run all of them but five and then I thought, 'Gee, why not just run the other five?' It's a little strain on you, but why not just run the other five?"