MARK MARTIN - No. 6 Viagra Taurus (Qualified 3rd) KURT BUSCH - No. 97 IRWIN/Sharpie Taurus (Qualified 2nd) MARTIN: WHAT IS THE TRICK HERE? "I was shocked that the time was so good because we made a mock run yesterday afternoon and we ran a ...
MARK MARTIN - No. 6 Viagra Taurus (Qualified 3rd)
KURT BUSCH - No. 97 IRWIN/Sharpie Taurus (Qualified 2nd)
WHAT IS THE TRICK HERE? "I was shocked that the time was so good because we made a mock run yesterday afternoon and we ran a 54.53 I think it was. That run felt horrible compared, so I thought it was like a 54.90 and Pat came on and said, '53.45,' and I thought, 'He's got the numbers all mixed up. It might have been those numbers, but they're misplaced or something.' It just surprised me. The trick about getting around this place for me is making the car handle and that's what the guys at Roush Racing excel at. I've been fortunate to drive great handling cars and work with great people all through the years."
"For us we were so loose yesterday in our mock-up run and I thought that was a tribute to our loose setup that we're gonna have in the race on Sunday that we were just gonna go make a lap. I had no idea that we would be picking up a second-and-a-half and having a shot at the pole. It was a really good lap for our car. I just went out there not to slip a tire and hit all three corners the best that I could. At least I made McMurray sweat a little bit. I didn't expect what we've got."
IS THIS WHERE GUYS ON THE FRINGE OF THE CHASE HAVE TO MAKE A RUN? "Yeah, for the guys from 10th to 16th or so it's crunch time and it can be done. We were about 15th around this time last year and we made it in, but every year is a little bit different. Right now, this year, the points are tighter from where I think Kurt and I are to 15th than they probably were last year. One bad race at this point could be the one that we could not overcome. For the 6 car, we've had four wrecks this year and, beyond that, we've had great performance and a lot of good things going on the race track. We just hope to keep the mechanical things squared away and stay out of the wrecks and keep the performance going."
IS BEING LOOSE SOMETHING PEOPLE LEARNED IN THE FIRST POCONO RACE? "Yeah, you've hit on it exactly right. Most of us were camouflaged and blindfolded by our notebooks last time we came here and we saw a guy named Carl Edwards win the race, who had never been here before. He just showed up and didn't know what to expect, but made the right changes based upon his knowledge about a race car and his limited experience with the track, and drove away with the victory. Most of the rest of us were complaining tight. We couldn't get off the corner because the car was pushing so bad because of the gear rule. We're coming off the corner now in low rpm's and we're not right on that threshold of spinning the tires. The rest of us are thinking, 'Well, with the rear spoiler being shorter, we're definitely gonna be looser, so the two might cancel each other.' Then with the tire problems. It was really an interesting race, so this race will be a much better race this time around. I don't know why there were so many question marks last time, but this one seemed to be the biggest difference with the changes they've made from last season to this season, mainly because of the gear rule and no shifting."
IS IT MORE COMFORTABLE BEING LOOSE? "I've got my car set up feel-wise the same as the other 26 (top 10 finishes at Pocono). For me, last time here I was real pleased with my car. I think we finished third. My chassis setup is looser this time, but the car feel is not looser, so qualifying I was so loose last time that I couldn't hardly stand it. This time my car was actually better. It wasn't as loose as last time here, but for race setup I'm still doing the same thing as always. We were not good enough to win here last time. We brought the same car back. We typically expect the race track to be looser in the second race and having to tighten the car up, but we had to go the other way with the car to get it back to about the normal feel. Our car has been spectacular so far."
WHAT ABOUT THE CHANGES THEY MADE IN TURN TWO? "I don't think the curb last time caused the flat tires, so I hate that they messed with that but they did. And while they did that, they didn't even take the bump out, so I don't know about that. I will tell you, and I think Kurt would say the same thing, I would much rather have the old curb than the new curb."
"Yeah, they made an effort to try to fix it, but it really wasn't the exact problem. It's always been one groove in there and one groove out. It's a very fast part of the race track and most of the passing is either off of turn one or it's off of turn three, so turn two is relatively the same but it does have a big curb there to try to help people to stay off of it and to help save left-front tires. Is that the key? Who knows? I still think it was excessive camber by some of the race teams trying to get the car to turn better, so we'll see how it balances out. The curb will help as well as the lessons learned from last time. People won't run as much camber."
"Talking about the camber, too. I think the race teams learned. You see, the vital signs on the right-front tire will give you warnings that you are pushing the limit. There are no vital signs on the left-front to give you any warning, so it caught everybody blinded. Then they went right up to Michigan and blew tires out in practice at Michigan, which has never been done. Then as the teams learned that they have to not be as aggressive we'll have less trouble, although someone surely is gonna have trouble we'll have a lot less, I think, in this race. The thing that concerns me about the new curb is if someone crowded you across the curb before you wouldn't wreck. You probably wouldn't run over the guy who crowded you over. It may not be the same outcome now. If, for some reason, you run way over that new curb, it may throw you up in the air like a road course curb does and throw you out against the car on the outside of you, and then both of you go in the wall. Of course, the cars behind aren't gonna have an opportunity to maybe miss it. The biggest concern I have is that there is a potential for more of an accident than before."
FORD RACING NOTES AND QUOTES Pennsylvania 500 Qualifying, Page 4 July 23, 2005 Pocono Raceway
ANY CONCERN AFTER SEEING THREE TOP TEAMS HAVE ACCIDENTS IN PRACTICE? "I'm just concerned because my little brother was one of them, trying to push the envelope and go too fast. He had a fast car last week. As a rookie I remember thinking, "Man, I'm gonna hit these tracks the second time around and I'm gonna go faster.' So here he is in those same shoes trying to go fast because now he's comfortable at this track or it's his second time around. People are just trying to push the envelope and go fast. I'm not necessarily concerned about the problems that they're having, it's just that people are trying to go fast and that's what it takes."
DOES THE NEW GEAR RULE HAVE AN AFFECT ON BRAKE USAGE? "It has a great deal of influence on the brakes. The gear doesn't help slow the car down getting into the corner and you roll down into turn one at 205 miles an hour. The gear used to help knock some of that mile-an-hour down before you got to the apex and now it doesn't. With the smaller spoiler, too, it's shooting straight into the corner. The brakes are really getting abused going into turn one and if you get in there too deep, you've got the chance of spinning out trying to get underneath somebody. So the brakes are getting their usage now this time around more than they ever had."
WILL THEY LAST 500 MILES? "They did last time, but you did notice that Biffle had brake problems last time. At a race where no one ever used to have brake problems, there was at least one car that did last time. In New Hamsphire, where no one has really ever had brake problems recently, one car - Jeff Gordon - had problems last week. So everywhere we go it's harder on brakes this year."
IS THAT JUST WEAR? "It's heat and wear. The heat causes more wear and, here, it was wear on Biffle's. He wore his pad out far enough that the piston popped out of the caliper."
IS IT GOING TO BE THE SAME AT INDY? "For me, testing at Indy I used a lot of brake. I don't know that we'll have brake problems, but I told the guys that it was really noticeable how much more brake I used in the test."
BRAKING AT INDY. "As practice at Indy continued further, I was using less and less brake. At Indy you just don't slow down as much because each of the corners is a 90-degree angle. It's not like it's a 140-degree turn in turn one here, turn two is like a 90-degree corner, but three here is like a 120-degree corner so you have to slow down a bunch more for it."
DID YOU LAUNCH OVER THE TURN TWO BUMP? "It is a change that they made in the track to try to help with tires. It's a good effort. It's not exactly the right fix, but we'll all deal with it. We'll make it a concern in the driver's meeting to drill it into each of the driver's heads that make the field that you need to be nice in turn two. That will help save the tires as well as not run into other cars. It isn't he exact right fix, but it is a nice attempt and we're all gonna work around it."
IS THIS YOUR LAST CUP START HERE? "I wish I knew."