FORD FUSION MARK MARTINíS SUCCESS AT DOVER DATES TO THE EIGHTIES

FORD FUSION MARK MARTINíS SUCCESS AT DOVER DATES TO THE EIGHTIES

03.06.2006: FORD FUSION MARK MARTINíS SUCCESS AT DOVER DATES TO THE EIGHTIES



MARK MARTIN Ė No. 6 AAA Fusion Ė
"We just did this, didnít we? I feel like we just left the press room."

ALMOST HALF OF YOUR CAREER CUP STARTS HERE HAVE RESULTED IN TOP-FIVE FINISHES. YOU MUST ALWAYS FEEL LIKE GOOD THINGS ARE GOING TO HAPPEN HERE. "Yeah. Iíve always liked this. I first came here back in 1982 and qualified [seventh] with my Cup car Ė I think I ran a 25.40, 144 mile an hour, they were flipped out about it, the pole being 144 miles an hour. Top-10 finish, I think, the first time here. Itís always been good to me. First Busch win here, the whole thing."

HAS YOUR APPROACH TO THIS TRACK CHANGED OVER THE YEARS? "No." IS THE TRACK SIMILAR TO WHAT IT WAS IN THE í80S? "No, itís nothing like it was because it was asphalt then and now itís concrete. I donít care for the concrete, but this is the best concrete track that we race on. It still would be a lot better if it was asphalt. It is what it is."

SO YOU DONíT EVER GET TIRED OF COMING BACK TO THIS TRACK. "I like racing here. Iím very optimistic when we come here. Itís always been a place that we get around good."

THIS WEEKEND HAS BEEN GOOD FOR YOU. YOU WON THE TRUCK RACE AND QUALIFIED WELL FOR THE CUP RACE. DOES ANYTHING FROM THE TRUCK TRANSFER TO THE CAR AT THIS TRACK? "No. Itís quite a bit different. The logic is still the same. You still use the same kind of logic. You use the hardware."

A NUMBER OF DRIVERS YESTERDAY SAID QUALIFYING WAS IMPORTANT HERE BECAUSE PIT SELECTION IS VERY IMPORTANT HERE. "Itís a tough pit road. Itís one of the really tough ones. Itís tough to get in your box when youíve got other cars parked in their boxes. And thatís one of the tougher things about this race track."

TODD KLUEVER HAS STRUGGLED BUT HAD A GOOD RUN AT CHARLOTTE. DO YOU FEEL GOOD ABOUT HIM TAKING OVER THE 6 CAR NEXT YEAR? "We feel like we have not given Todd a chance to show what his true potential is yet, but weíve got to get there pretty soon. Heís a very solid guy. Heís a really good driver and heís a really good person, and all that. Thereís still time, but weíve got to get on the stick and give him the opportunity to rise to the occasion."

YOU INTRODUCED THE RAP ANTHEM A WEEK AGO AT CHARLOTTE. WHAT HAS THE PUBLIC REACTION BEEN? "Well, itís got more attention than most things that Iíve done. It got a lot of attention."

THE SERIES RACES AT MICHIGAN IN TWO WEEKS. THATíS THE BACKYARD OF THE MANUFACTURERS. IS IT A BIG DEAL TO WIN THERE FOR BRAGGING RIGHTS? "Only if you donít. If you do, itís not a big deal, but if you donít then it is, so to speak. Weíve won there a bunch of times and it really wasnít a big deal. But, going into it, they make a big deal out of it. It is what it is. If you donít win it, you canít win. Itís the same thing as the Daytona 500. If you donít win, you donít win."

YOUR SON, MATT, WON A LATE MODEL FEATURE A FEW MONTHS AGO. HOWíS HIS CAREER PROGRESSING? "Heís coming along okay. Heís just 14. Heís got a good bit of talent, he doesnít race a lot. He makes progress with every race."

YOUíVE SAID THE TRUCK RACING IS SO MUCH FUN. BESIDES WINNING, WHAT DO YOU LIKE ABOUT IT? "The racing is more like it used to be here. Itís the best racing in NASCAR right now. Itís the least spoiled by commercialism. It feels very pure."

HOW DO YOU MANAGE YOUR SCHEDULE ON A WEEKEND LIKE THIS? YESTERDAY, THE RACE WAS DELAYED; YOUíRE BACK FIRST THING THIS MORNINGÖ "Iím tired." HOW DO YOU UNWIND? "Iím glad Iím not racing the Busch car. I put my foot down this year and said no tripleheaders. I did that in November at Homestead. It ainít the racing, man, itís the driversí meetings, itís qualifying, itís practice sessions. You take all that out and Iíd do tripleheaders every weekend. I donít have any problem with the racing, but itís all the hospitalities, driversí meetings, qualifying sessions. Youíve got to be one place and then the other and then the other and then the other. My sonís racing at Lakeland tonight, quarter mile, thatís a superspeedway for him. I really hate that Iím not up to going, but I canít physically do that and give 100 percent here tomorrow, so Iím going to be here standing by the phone."

YOUR ASSOCIATION WITH JACK ROUSH HAS BEEN SO LONG. SOMETIMES, DRIVERS AND OWNERS, THATíS A SHORT SHELF LIFE. "For me, I got so invested in this program that it wouldíve been ridiculous to bail at some point, you know, 10 years ago or so. We built this together, on each otherís backs, holding hands, when things werenít good and things needed a lot of work, when we needed to learn a lot, each of us needed a lot of learning. At this point, I would be afraid to think about what mightíve happened if I had chose to do something else."

DID YOU EVER HAVE ANY MAJOR DISAGREEMENTS? "Oh yeah." DOES HE ALWAYS WIN? "I donít know; youíd have to ask him. He is the boss. But Iím pretty feisty."


- Ford -

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03.06.2006 / MaP

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