MARK MARTIN - No. 6 Viagra Taurus (Finished 3rd) DID YOU HAVE ANYTHING FOR RUSTY? Not with all those cautions. Our car was pretty good, but we can't seem to wind one of these races up without about six or eight cautions nowadays. I don't have...
MARK MARTIN - No. 6 Viagra Taurus (Finished 3rd)
DID YOU HAVE ANYTHING FOR RUSTY?
Not with all those cautions. Our car was pretty good, but we can't seem to wind one of these races up without about six or eight cautions nowadays. I don't have anything to complain about. My car was just awesome. It was good on the restarts. It was good on the long run. It did everything. It qualified good. It was just a fast race car. The next-to-last set of tires I could pull away from the field at anytime. I could run however fast I wanted to run. The last set of tires didn't work quite as well so we wound up third. It was a good day for us."
ARE SECOND AND THIRD SATISFYING FROM A CHASE STANDPOINT?
For me, not only did we lead the race in convincing fashion on the next-to-last set of tires, which felt really good, and we had great pit strategy, great pit stops, and a good car - but we also finally got just a touch of breathing room behind us. So if we can do this again next week at Indy, we'll be looking good. I know our car will be this fast next week, and if we can get the same kind of result - I love this place. I love to race here - another top five."
WHY NOT COME BACK NEXT YEAR?
I'm 46, but I've got more miles on me than Rusty."
AT ONE POINT THERE WERE FIVE STRAIGHT DEBRIS CAUTIONS.
One of those debris cautions was a drink bottle, and it laid out there for 20 laps. I was like, 'Please, don't throw a caution for that green bottle.'"
SOME WERE BRAKE ROTORS.
And that was really dangerous, and they do a good job of spotting brake rotors."
There were chunks of rubber. I've never seen a chunk of rubber hurt anybody. I don't know. I'm old school. I loved all that green-flag racing earlier in the race. I'm old school, so I'm a big complainer about major debris cautions."
IT SEEMS LIKE AERODYNAMICS TURN RACING INTO A FREEWAY DRIVE AND GUYS DON'T GET RACY UNTIL THE END.
So you're calling guys getting racy wrecking. Is that what you mean? Nobody wrecked for a long time, so the racing wasn't good? Because at the end there were wrecks and you're saying at the end everybody was racing, so I don't know."
MORE ON THE RACE.
I will say that no matter what, you're gonna have races that are barnburners and you're gonna have races that are yawners and you can't panic when you have a yawner. If that's what you're calling this one today, Rusty and I think it was a great race. You have runaway points and you have close points, that's racing and you can't fix that and you shouldn't even worry about it."
CAN YOU QUANTIFY WHAT CLEAN AIR MEANT?
I think Rusty hit on it today, too. A lot of people were really off on their setup today. Usually the cars are more equal, but you had a number of cars that could really pull away today. I'm sure Rusty experienced it too. I know whenever I got behind a reasonable running car it was sure hard to pass 'em."
WHAT DID YOU STRUGGLE WITH FOR 120 LAPS?
My brakes. I was pumping 'em again. I pumped 'em the whole race last time here, and I pumped 'em most of this race. Right at the end, Rusty and I have been doing this stuff a long time, we're trying to make the chase, rather than force the issue and slam brakes on and have nothing but rear, I was happy to finish it off. I wish that they wouldn't have had all the cautions there at the end. We did have a good enough car to get up there, I think, and get by Rusty, but we couldn't run with Kurt on that last set of tires. We restarted in front of him and he passed us and went on. We had what we had. It was a great run. The brakes are taking more abuse everywhere we go now because of the gear rule."
WHAT ABOUT THE TUNNEL TURN TODAY?
I would be sorely surprised if they didn't try to take that bump out of there, unless they just want to put a ski jump in the front straightaway, too. It's pretty rough over there."
HOW MUCH DID TODAY AFFECT YOUR DECISION ABOUT COMING BACK?
None. I still have my decision. I'm still gonna be where I am for I don't know how long, so I really don't even like talking about it because I want to go truck racing next year. We are working on trucks and we're gonna go test later this year, and we're gonna put that deal together as if that's what I'm gonna be doing next year, but we don't know. I don't know."
CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THE MORE MODERN RULES PACKAGE? "I like the short spoiler and the tires, too, because it puts more a premium on handling and that's how Rusty and I grew up. That's how you won. You beat people on handling and we like that. That suits both of our driving styles because that's what we've done forever."
DOES SOMEONE LIKE CARL EDWARDS HAVE AN ADVANTAGE BY NOT HAVING MUCH EXPERIENCE HERE? HE NEVER SHIFTED IN THE PAST LIKE YOU?
That's a good question. I don't think it's the shifting yes or no. There are certain things that we'll struggle with giving a fair shot sometimes based on our history. The young guy that doesn't no better, once in a while, will go ahead and give a shot and it will work, where Rusty and I might think it wouldn't work and give it a fair shot. So there are some instances where these young guys have an advantage in that. Over the long haul they're gonna make more mistakes than we do on picking things. But Carl Edwards is an incredible driver - flat out. That's the end of it."
Hey, when Rusty and I first came in 1982, if they would have gave us Richard Petty's or Cale Yarborough's or one of those guy's cars to drive, set up and everything, we might have run a little bit better than we did, too." WITH THE POINTS RACE ARE YOU GUYS POINTS RACING?
We both were points racing. We didn't have a car to win and we didn't see any need in running over each other for five points. But every race is like that. When we were short track racing in 1977, third always paid better than fourth and you tried to get it, but you didn't tear your stuff up to do it."
IS IT GRATIFYING TO SEE RUSTY DOING SO WELL?
We got 25 years of history or so, I haven't counted 'em up but it's a ton. Rusty and I have always been friends and we've always got along and we've never once had a problem, and I think everybody knows that. That speaks volumes. I can't say that about Matt Kenseth. I've been friends with him for six to eight years and I've had a problem with him, and he's a great guy. That tells you what kind of relationship we've had over the past 25 years."
CARL CALLED JACK AND ASKED IF HE COULD PASS YOU BECAUSE HE THOUGHT HE MIGHT BE FASTER. YOUR THOUGHTS?
Well, he wasn't (laughter). I don't know what to tell you about that."