Talladega II: Mark Martin, Jeff Gordon post qualifying interview

Martin, Gordon post qualifiying interview MARK MARTIN, NO. 5 POP TARTS/CARQUEST IMPALA SS -- Starts 2nd JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DUPONT IMPALA SS -- Starts 3rd WE'LL START OFF WITH A QUICK OPENER FROM YOU. MARK, YOU'RE TRYING TO CATCH JIMMIE, WHAT...

Martin, Gordon post qualifiying interview

MARK MARTIN, NO. 5 POP TARTS/CARQUEST IMPALA SS -- Starts 2nd
JEFF GORDON, NO. 24 DUPONT IMPALA SS -- Starts 3rd

WE'LL START OFF WITH A QUICK OPENER FROM YOU. MARK, YOU'RE TRYING TO CATCH JIMMIE, WHAT IS YOUR OUTLOOK FOR TALLADEGA THIS WEEKEND? MARTIN:

MARTIN: "The outlook is good. This is the most relaxed I've been going into Talladega in the last 10 years that I can remember; certainly since '04 when the Chase format started. I just really feel good. I feel like this is going to be our lucky day.

JEFF, YOU HAVE MORE VICTORIES (SIX) AT TALLADEGA THAN ANY OTHER ACTIVE DRIVER. CAN YOU GET A SEVENTH WIN TOMORROW?

GORDON: "Well, we certainly hope so. The last few times we've been here haven't quite gone our way, but that's the way it sort of seems to be for us here at Talladega. It's sort of feast of famine. I feel good. The car was great yesterday. We were sort of anticipating the rain today and we didn't do any qualifying runs and I think had we, if we had to do one today, we certainly wouldn't be anywhere close to third. This is certainly a positive for us and a great way to get the weekend started and we'll just kind of see where it goes from there."

JEFF, LAST WEEK AT MARTINSVILLE, YOU BATTLED WITH JUAN PABLO MONTOYA AND YOU TALKED AFTERWARD. YESTERDAY, HE SAID HE DOESN'T HAVE A PROBLEM ANYMORE. WHAT DID YOU TALK ABOUT, AND IS IT SETTLED IN YOUR MIND TOO?

GORDON: "I certainly hope so. We didn't really speak. I just said that I hope whatever it was that I did to make him mad that it was over, and left it at that. That's all you can do. Martinsville is one of those tracks where it's intense; especially on the restarts. You're going to rub and bang a little bit. You hope that you can move past it. Even there in the late stages of the race, we raced one another hard but clean. You just go on from there."

YOU GUYS GET TO START UP FRONT BECAUSE OF THE QUALIFYING RAIN-OUT, BUT DOES IT REALLY MATTER THAT MUCH WHERE YOU START HERE?

MARTIN: "It doesn't really matter, but I'm thrilled to be on the front row. It's the kind of honor that I guess you enjoy when you've accumulated the kind of success that we have together. So I'm proud of what we've accomplished and that puts us on the front row here. But it doesn't really matter where you start. My car yesterday was just average with the field. It was not anything overly special and part of that's my fault. I've totaled two restrictor plate cars this year in three races. At least one of those was pretty special. So you can build as many as you want. You can build 10 and you get one or two special ones and you get several average ones and one or two that aren't so special. We'll go out here tomorrow and race and hope that we can keep it in the front half, but my experience says that you're on a cycle throughout the field and the one thing I don't see me doing is riding in the back. I'm going to race tomorrow and I've told everybody this, I'm going to race tomorrow like there's no way that I can be in a wreck. And I feel lucky."

MARK, DO YOU REMEMBER WHAT HAPPENED THE LAST TIME YOU AND JIMMIE JOHNSON STARTED ON THE FRONT ROW HERE TOGETHER?

MARTIN: "Jimmie reminded me (laughter). I'm still embarrassed about that."

WAS THAT YOUR STEERING BOX?

MARTIN: "It was some kind of phenomenon that happened with the steering box where when you turned it left, if you turned it back right real quick, it would lock. And it wouldn't unlock until you turned it left again. It looked really crazy, but I almost hit the inside wall down here before I finally released the pressure and I don't know. It still did it in the race, I just never got in that particular situation. But on pit stops, when I would turn right real quick, it would still lock. And it would still do it when you got back to the shop. If you took it left and then shoved it right, it would lock and wouldn't unlock until you let pressure off of it."

GORDON: "Did you bring that steering box with you this weekend (laughter)?"

MARTIN: "Yeah, so anyway (more laughter) that's a long way in the rearview mirror. Why don't we look forward here instead of back. Not my proudest weekend."

JEFF, ON THE STEVE ADDISON REPLACEMENT, AND AS SOMEONE WHO HAS HAD A CREW CHIEF REPLACED IN THE MIDDLE OF THE SEASON, IS THIS A TREND NOW?

GORDON: "Well, I don't see that it's the middle of the year. I think that it's the time of the year. They are in a very similar situation to us where they're not in the Chase and with only a few races to go, they could maybe try somebody else out to see what kind of chemistry or see what things they need to work on. I think Steve is a great crew chief. They won a bunch of races last year and were in the Chase and you would have thought they'd be the car to beat. I thought they were going to be one of the teams to beat this year for the Chase as well. It just didn't work out. So obviously they feel like they need to make a change for whatever reason.

"I think that if you think you're going to need to make a change, it's better to make it now and get some experience with the new crew chief and whatever changes you need to make for these last three races. You hate to see it happen, but it's probably the best for the team."

-credit: gm racing

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jeff Gordon , Mark Martin