MARTIN AND KENSETH TRYING TO STAY IN TOP 10 AT WATKINS GLEN

MARTIN AND KENSETH TRYING TO STAY IN TOP 10 AT WATKINS GLEN

12.08.2006: MARTIN AND KENSETH TRYING TO STAY IN TOP 10 AT WATKINS GLEN

Mark Martin, driver of the No. 6 AAA Ford Fusion, is sixth in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series point standings with five races remaining until the Chase for the Nextel Cup begins. He spoke about his position in the standings and this weekendís race before Fridayís practice.



MARK MARTIN Ė No. 6 AAA Ford Fusion Ė ANOTHER YEAR AT WATKINS GLEN. "Yeah, I was thinking this morning driving in that Iíve been here quite a few times."

WILL YOU BE HERE NEXT YEAR, TOO? "I donít know about that. I donít think so. Iím not worried about it."

CAN YOU TALK ABOUT YOUR FUTURE AT ALL? "No, I really canít. Iím not worried about it."

ITíS REALLY CLOSE FROM THIRD ON BACK. THEREíS REALLY NOT MUCH ROOM FOR ERROR IS THERE? "We could have been 10th. If we would have had to pit there under the green with 20 to go, that would have dropped us to 10th. Itís a dogfight from third on back, really. To be honest with you, third is not that far ahead of us and it all comes down right now to bad luck. We should be fine barring problems, but weíve got four races to go yet and there are a lot of opportunities for things to go wrong and sometimes you just canít recover from those. I think that everyone in the top 13 or 14 are vulnerable to those kind of things."

ARE YOU TRYING TO BE MORE CONSERVATIVE AT ALL? "No, I got in a good position by racing like I race and thatís what weíll continue to do."

DO YOU SEE THIS TRACK AS AN OPPORTUNITY TO CEMENT YOUR SPOT IN THE TOP 10? "I donít. I donít see this as an opportunity at all. This is just a level water line kind of race for us. We run good pretty much everywhere. I certainly donít feel that I run better here than anywhere else that weíre coming up on, so we just keep on racing and give it everything that we have. Iíve put an awfully lot into this season and Iím looking forward to seeing how it turns out, and Iím looking forward to opening a new chapter in my life in some ways. Iíve been doing this stuff a long time and thereís not much time for anything else, so I look forward to exploring some new things."

WHERE DOES YOUR TRUCK SITUATION STAND RIGHT NOW? "We have all the commitments done, except for Ford. Ford has not made their commitment for it yet."

SO YOUíVE SIGNED THE CONTRACT? "No. I wonít sign a contract until Fordís commitment is done."

CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THE AAA DRIVER INITIATIVE? "I think weíve been really effective, but youíve got to keep going. You canít get the message out there one time and then let it go. We have to continue to follow up and then support it and back it up with more. Theyíre talking about an eventual change in thinking and the way people think and the way that things are done going into the future."

IS IT FOR PARENTS OR TEEN DRIVERS? "Itís for both. The best role models out there for teen drivers are their parents and they are, in a lot of ways, provide direction and leadership for the young people."

DO YOU HAVE A TEEN DRIVER IN YOUR FAMILY? "I have a teen race car driver, but heís 14 so heís not driving on the road yet."

DO KIDS DRIVE BETTER OR WORSE TODAY THAN YEARS AGO? "The world is different than it was, so the world has become more safety conscious. Thereís more traffic and there are more intersections and more opportunities for things to go wrong. Weíre a lot more safety conscious today than we were when I was growing up, so there have been gains made, but thereís still room for improvement."

ARE YOU SATISFIED WITH THE SEASON? "Itís been a good year. Itís been great working with AAA on important issues and issues that are important to me. Weíve had some great performances on the race track and Iím glad that I was able to help our team out, AAA, and the 6 car, and Roush Roush, and everything, and not much considering doing it again."

WAS IT A DIFFICULT DECISION TO COME BACK FOR ONE MORE YEAR? "A little bit, but to put it plain and simple, when I need help and I ask somebody to help me, I want them to do it."

THERE HASNíT BEEN QUALIFYING THE LAST TWO YEARS HERE. WHATíS IT GOING TO TAKE TO HAVE A GOOD LAP HERE? "Itís the same as itís been for the 19 years Iíve been coming up here Ė a fast car and getting a good lap."

DO YOU THINK YOUíLL BE ABLE TO DO THAT WITHOUT HAVING QUALIFYING THE LAST COUPLE OF YEARS? "It depends on my car."

WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT MICHIGAN NEXT WEEK? "I hadnít thought about Michigan yet. I love the race track, I really do. I always look forward to going up there and race, but I havenít thought much about it yet."

HAVING THE START-FINISH LINE FURTHER DOWN THE COURSE HERE, WILL THAT PLAY A ROLE IN THE RACE? "I donít think so, but it might change a little bit of how the restarts go or something, but, for the most part, I donít think itíll make a big difference."

YOU DONíT THINK SOMEBODY MIGHT FEEL THEYíVE GOT MORE ROOM TO GET TO THE START-FINISH LINE AND MAYBE GET INTO SOMEBODYíS BUMPER? "No." DO YOU THINK THEY SHOULD ADD THE CHASE FORMAT TO THE BUSCH AND TRUCK SERIES? "Yes."

SHOULD CUP GUYS HAVE TO RUN THE ENTIRE BUSCH SCHEDULE AND NOT BE ALLOWED TO DO THINGS LIKE ONE-OFFS? "I donít know what they should do. I really donít. The Truck Series seems pretty healthy and itís pretty much on its own. The Busch Series would be pretty weak right now if there were no Cup drivers in it. I donít know what the answer is. It sure would be a different look if you pulled them all out right now. I donít know if there would be a full field of cars. I donít know."

Matt Kenseth, driver of the No. 17 DeWalt Ford Fusion, trails points leader Jimmie Johnson by 107 points going into Sundayís AMD at the Glen. Kenseth spoke about the second road course event of the season after Fridayís practice session.

MATT KENSETH Ė No. 17 DeWalt Ford Fusion Ė DO YOU APPROACH THIS PLACE ANY DIFFERENT WITH EVERYTHING THATíS ON THE LINE? "You approach it different because itís a road course, but you donít approach it any different Ė I donít think Ė because of where it is in the season or where you are in points or any of that kind of stuff. Itís always a challenge for me to come to these road courses. Itís a lot different than any other kind of racing that weíve ever done and it takes a lot of focus and a lot of effort to try to do decent here, so I just go here and try to work as hard as I can at it."

YOU HAVE SOME CUSHION IN THE POINTS, SO CAN YOU TAKE MORE CHANCES IF YOU WANT? "I donít think so. Iíve never really seen that work for anybody in the past. I think that you go and approach every race the same, put in 100 percent effort each race and try to get the best finish you can. I donít really approach that different than any other race."

IS IT A GOOD IDEA TO HAVE THE ROAD COURSES WHERE THEY ARE ON THE SCHEDULE? "It doesnít matter. Every race from Daytona all the way to Richmond pays the same amount of points and is equally important. The perception is more important because youíre getting closer, but if you think about it, itís really not. It pays the same points if it was in April or if it was in July. It just doesnít make any difference, so I think every race, I think, is equally important to try and make the chase and then to try and get a shot at the championship."

DO YOU WORRY ABOUT THE ROAD COURSE ACES THAT COMPETE IN THIS RACE? "No. You just approach all the cars the same and try to do the best you can compared to the competition. When they bring those guys in here they always do really well, but yet the 20 and the 24 and the 6, when they can get their stuff right, those are the guys still to beat on the road courses. The road course guys come in and do really well, but especially the 20 and the 24 Ė most of the time Ė are still the guys youíve got to beat."

WHAT IS THE BIGGEST DIFFERENCE BETWEEN INFINEON AND WATKINS GLEN? "Itís kind of like Watkins Glen reminds me of Michigan and Sears Point reminds me of Martinsville. Watkins Glen has more momentum, itís faster and thereís more banking. It drives more like a speedway. Sears Point drives more like a short track."

AMD QUALIFYING QUOTES

KEN SCHRADER Ė No. 21 Little Debbie Ford Fusion (Qualified 23rd) Ė "I just screwed up on the lap a little bit during my shifting. We hit our marks and stuff and the car feels good, but I didnít get into third quick enough going up through the esses. I just got confused on where I needed to shift and went brain dead. That cost us a couple of tenths, which I donít know how much difference that will make, but itíll be solid." SINCE FATBACK HAS COME BACK AS CREW CHIEF THINGS SEEM TO HAVE PICKED UP A BIT. "Fatbackís got a lot of experience calling the races. The two races that we ran together, we were off from our testing at Indy, which (David) Hyder and I did there along with Fatback and everybody. Those were two races where we already had everything set, but heís just got a ton of experience calling the races and stuff so itís been fun."



CARL EDWARDS Ė No. 99 Office Depot Ford Fusion (Qualified 21st)
Ė "I think we should have been faster. We ran that fast in race trim earlier, but I noticed everybody has slowed down a little bit. We changed some stuff around on our brakes and I wasnít quite sure how it was gonna go, so I was a little too cautious into one and I tried to make up for it in two and that didnít work out, so, hopefully, itíll end up maybe in the top half of the field. I donít know. I think weíve got a great race car. I had a blast in practice." WHY HAVE SO MANY SLOWED DOWN? "I donít know. I know for me, maybe one thing would be just sitting around for a while and thinking about it. I think if I had a second lap it would be a lot quicker. This is one of those places where, for me, itís really hard to find the line between not trying hard enough and trying too hard. It takes a lot of practice."

ELLIOTT SADLER Ė No. 38 M&Mís Ford Fusion (Qualified 12th) Ė "I think thatís pretty good for us because we didnít really make a qualifying lap. Iím really proud of all the guys. I think weíve got a great car for race trim, so Iím pretty happy with that. Iím not the best road course guy in the world, so if we can get us a good top 12, top 15 starting position, itís gonna be good for this whole race team." WHAT ARE YOUR GOALS FOR THE REST OF THE YEAR WITH THIS TEAM? "Iíve got such a lot of great friends on this race team, I just want to run good for them. I would love to try and somehow get these guys a victory. That means so much to me. The last three-and-a-half years have been awesome working with these guys, so that would mean more to me than any paycheck, anything else Ė to try and get these guys back in Victory Lane. Thatís 100 percent my goal between now and Homestead."

MARC GOOSSENS Ė No. 90 Citifinancial Ford Fusion (Qualified 27th) Ė "I donít know if that was good or not. Itís looking more and more likely that we made the race. We made a little change to the car from this morning and it was completely different. At least we know the cars are reacting to the changes that weíre making. Iím hoping we can do a good job for Robert Yates Racing and try to get a good result. I hope we make it to the race and can have a good test day tomorrow before we get into the race on Sunday."

GREG BIFFLE Ė No. 16 National Guard Ford Fusion (Qualified 49th) Ė "It just got away from me. I just got a little bit loose up through the esses. Itís so tight up through there that thereís just no room for error. The car just got out a little bit in the back and I got off the gas. These road race cars, with bars in the front and back, are real sensitive and the thing just started sliding and I couldnít quite get it back. Itís unfortunate. I felt we would have been in the top five again here, but Iím real confident in our other car. Itís the car we ran fourth at Sonoma with and itís the sister car to this, so I feel really good about it." HOW HARD WILL IT BE TO PASS STARTING FROM THE BACK? "I donít think itís gonna be hard at all. This track is easier to pass than Sonoma. Like I said, we run very well here, so Iím confident. With as fast as our car was running in practice in race laps, I feel pretty good about being able to come through the field with another car pretty easily."

MARK MARTIN Ė No. 6 AAA Ford Fusion (Qualified 20th) Ė "Thatís probably what we could expect. The car wasnít really a hot-rod today. Weíve got an hour-and-a-half tomorrow and we usually get around here pretty good. Iím hoping weíll figure some things out. It isnít bad, it just doesnít have the speed that we need. It doesnít do anything spectacular and if we can find a thing or two that will do spectacular for us tomorrow, itíll be OK and be good on Sunday."

BORIS SAID Ė SoBe No Fear Ford Fusion (Qualified 15th) Ė "I just wanted to make sure we got in. I donít know if we had a car for the pole, but second or third maybe. I just had to hold back and make sure we got in and not do anything stupid. Now we can work on our car tomorrow. I feel real relaxed now. Last year we came from last to third, so starting in the top 15 will be pretty good." WAS IT AN ADDED BENEFIT TO GO SO LATE IN THE SESSION? "Just from what all the other guys ran we knew what we had to run. I took it real conservative in the esses and real conservative under braking going in. I drove it a lot harder in practice. Thatís not my style. If they ran three laps like the Busch Series, I would have got one easy one and then run the hell out of it, but they donít. Iím in the show and Iím real happy about it."


- Ford -

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12.08.2006 / MaP

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