Rockingham: Ford - Martin qualifying press conference

MARK MARTIN - No. 6 Viagra Taurus (Qualified 3rd) "With the new templates we had to put a whole new body on it, so we went into race trim and that's given us a little bit more a time. We've got a little bit of homework to do on the thing to...

MARK MARTIN - No. 6 Viagra Taurus (Qualified 3rd)

"With the new templates we had to put a whole new body on it, so we went into race trim and that's given us a little bit more a time. We've got a little bit of homework to do on the thing to make it as good as it was last year. I think that'll be a great challenge, but it was a great run for us. We hit it just right. I had a great lap, the second lap especially. The first lap I thought I was getting all there was there and I had to hold my breath. I just about ran out of breath by the time I got done with the second lap and I was glad it was over with when we finished. When I was in the middle of three and four I thought, 'Man, I better just slow down and rest here a minute,' but we made it all the way to the line. It was a lot faster than I thought it would be. When he said an .82 the first lap I thought, 'Well, maybe we'll run an .80 or a .78,' which is what we ran in practice, but I guess the car hooked up better than I thought and hit it just right."

WHAT IS THE CHALLENGE IN RACE TRIM? "I do know about a lot of these other guys, but for us we have lost a lot of downforce compared to last year and we miss that a lot more in race trim when you take the tape off the radiator. It's gonna be more difficult for us to get the kind of performance we got last year with our cars right now because we've suffered quite a bit of a loss based on the '03 templates. We have known this since mid-November, so we're gonna have to go to work. We saw it more today in race trim than ever."

WILL IT MATTER WHERE YOU START? "I'll just say that not many people worked that hard on qualifying today. This is not a typical day and this is one of the greatest race tracks there is for racing and for passing, so I don't think anyone was concerned about having to start in the back here like they would be at a lot of other places. I think it has to do more with ease of passing and the safety issues. We don't run over each other a lot here and the passing issue and the weather and what have you."

ARE YOU SURPRISED THE FASTEST CHEVY WAS 10TH? "I'm very surprised. It may just be a coincidence. The weekend's not over with yet, but, yeah, I noticed that. I'm sweating that. That crowd is awfully happy - a lot happier with their cars than they were with their cars last year and we are not as happy with our cars as we were last year, so that, obviously, is something that I'm watching and concerned about. This is racing, man. There are all kinds of coincidences, although I don't think Daytona was a coincidence every single time. We saw those guys really consistently dominate, but this is great, man. We're back racing and we're gonna learn a lot of stuff the next few weeks here and we'll all be able to talk a lot more intelligently about those kinds of issues after we get a couple of these races under our belt."

-ford racing-

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Series NASCAR Cup