!@MARK MARTIN, NO. 8 STEAK-UMM BURGERS IMPALA SS: Qualified 2nd TALK ABOUT YOUR LAP: "It was fun. It is just great to go to the race track with this No. 8 team. Right now, we are just having a blast. I was strong in practice and we are...
NO. 8 STEAK-UMM BURGERS IMPALA SS:
TALK ABOUT YOUR LAP:
"It was fun. It is just great to go to the race track with this No. 8 team. Right now, we are just having a blast. I was strong in practice and we are looking forward to tomorrow's happy hour and trying to get the car a little bit better for the race. I think we improved it some from last time's qualifying (at Pocono Raceway) to this time's qualifying. We need to improve the race setup just a little bit last time versus this time. If we do that, we can try to put ourselves in position to be a contender."
LAST WEEK AT INDY, WAS YOUR CAR AS GOOD AS YOU THOUGHT IT WOULD BE WHEN YOU WERE RACING AND THIS WEEK'S CAR AS GOOD OR BETTER?
"We weren't good enough to beat the No. 48 last week. Now there is a lot of ways to win these races. You can be the fastest car out there or you can be one of the group behind the fastest car and still win. For me to have won last week I would have had to have things really go my way because the No. 48 had the fastest car. Sixty percent or 65% of the time, the fastest car wins, the other 35%-40% of the time, someone else is able to pull it off. But our car was clearly better than 11th last week. What happened was, I lost two spots on the first pit stop and I thought on the next run, I could get those back so I tore the right rear off and had to pit under the green. At that point, then I ran harder than I should have trying to make that up and had to pit under the green before the next caution. So after that, I had to run at 80% and come from 33rd to 11th. Doesn't look like much; still, I didn't totally embarrass myself. It was a pretty strong showing although the final result of the race didn't really show it.
"I will know more what I have for Sunday here tomorrow. We need to make it better than it was in race setup last time here. We improved the qualifying setup a little bit. So if we can find some things that will make the car stay strong longer in to the run, than it did last time, then we can be a contender. It is just really tough to beat the No. 48 right now. Like I said, we will do everything we can to have the fastest, best car and have all the best decisions and then we have to rely on, what, fate, or whatever. We have to rely on some other things to line up for us. I am really proud of this team. I will be careful about what I say going forward. I have great respect for how hard this stuff is. I have educated most of you guys in this room for years about being overly optimistic and I really wanted Indy to work out. It didn't, but we gave it a great go."
TALK ABOUT A 500-MILE RACE AT POCONO:
"Now it seems like our longest race just about. It can certainly be a long race here. For some reason the weather seems to be brutal. That mix between humidity and temperature. There are certain things that make particular races brutal that you wouldn't necessarily see coming. It is a pretty long race.
"But, I will be honest with you. I love racing here. This is on my schedule because this is one that is upper on my list of places to go. When I was looking for races to cut off of my schedule, I couldn't bear to cut Pocono off. So we wound up with 26 races instead of 22 races. These two and a couple of others."
ARE YOU HAVING MORE FUN THAN YOU HAVE HAD AT ANY POINT IN YOUR CAREER?
"I feel like the mix is perfect right now for me. Between wonderful equipment that DEI is putting me in, the team and Tony Gibson's attitude, the opportunity to be working so closely with Aric Almirola, the schedule for a year and a half that I have had, plenty of weekend's off, yes, I am 100% rejuvenated. I really know today how much racing means to me and I would answer a lot of questions differently today than I would have a year and a half ago or two years ago about this sport. One of which would be, why would I want to go to a race if I wasn't driving.
"Well, if I couldn't drive, I would still want to be a part of a race team right now. I feel differently toward it than I did when I was so burned out from 19 years straight. I love it. This is where my friends are. This is where I belong."
ON WORKING WITH ARIC ALMIROLA:
"That is all Aric and Kevin, we have a nickname for him, it is Two-Beer. He is our car chief, but he is crew chiefing Aric this weekend in the ARCA race. It is those two. To be honest with you, I have talked to Aric some after qualifying but I didn't talk to him before practice or qualifying or anything. Just an incredible talent and such a fine young man. Just to give you an example of what kind of commitment he has made, he has stood by and watched me run 3/4th of the races this year. He has been at almost every race. Listened to every conversations; watching every bit of it and was one of my two spotters last week at Indy. Don't forget that name and in ten or 15 years from now he has earned it and I am proud to be working with him."
IS THE NO. 48 TEAM HEATING UP?
"Oh man, what I saw last weekend, because I watched pretty close and what I have seen today, this weekend. The field should be very frightened of what I have seen the last two weeks out of that group. I ran that lap and Tony Gibson was telling me how awesome it was. After I ran my lap and Tony and I was talking and I said 'Man, if Jimmie can beat that, he can have it.' Well not he only beat it; he just humiliated me by 2/10ths of a second. I was pretty proud of what we accomplished and that lap we laid down out there. He just demolished it. They are looking pretty potent right now. But don't forget, somebody else could rise by Chase time."
HOW IS SITTING ON THE FRONT ROW GOING TO HELP YOU GET YOUR FIRST WIN AT POCONO?
"Clean air is very very important and for us to not stub your toe during the race or get caught in a pit strategy that places us back in the field will be very important. Completely critical is happy hour tomorrow. We have to improve the longevity of our car. It is fast, it was fast last time here, but it fell off about 10 laps in to a run. It started to fall off. We have to get the car where it stays for 30 laps instead of for 10 without giving up the sheer speed that it has, then we can be a contender and be a serious contender for the race. We don't have that yet, we have to achieve that during Happy Hour."
-credit: gm racing