MARK MARTIN, NO. 8 U.S. ARMY IMPALA SS met with media to discuss the All-Star race, the maturity and talent of Kyle Busch, his part-time schedule, and more. DO YOU APPROACH THE ALL-STAR DIFFERENTLY THAN A REGULAR RACE? "I don't know if you do or...
MARK MARTIN, NO. 8 U.S. ARMY IMPALA SS met with media to discuss the All-Star race, the maturity and talent of Kyle Busch, his part-time schedule, and more.
DO YOU APPROACH THE ALL-STAR DIFFERENTLY THAN A REGULAR RACE? "I don't know if you do or not. To me, the race is so many to go after the first lap. So if it's a 600-mile race, then it's 399 to go after the first lap. If it's a 25 lapper, there are 24 to go, you know, is the way I look at it. I don't know. You always just try to do whatever you can do to put yourself in position to capitalize and to try to win."
THIS IS A COOL EVENT FOR THE FANS, THE DRIVERS, AND THE TEAMS. IT'S UNIQUE IN SO MANY ASPECTS 'Yeah, it's just awesome. It's a real privilege to be in it and it's really, really good that they have it here (Charlotte). This is the right place to have this race. I'm glad that they've kept it here."
WHERE DOES THIS RACE RANK FOR A DRIVER? DO YOU FEEL LIKE YOU HAVE TO COMPETE IN THE ALL-STAR IN ORDER TO HAVE A COMPLETE RESUME? "I don't do that. I just feel like I'm lucky if I ever win one. So I'll take whichever ones I can get, you know. I try to win every one of them and take whichever ones we can get."
WHAT IS YOUR TAKE ON HOW KYLE BUSCH HAS CHANGED? "I just think that it's just very obvious that he is come a long way in a short period of time. People forget how young he is and how talented he is. He's matured a lot over the past two years."
WHEN YOU LOOK AT HIS POTENTIAL, WHERE DO YOU SEE HIM GOING IN 5 YEARS FROM NOW? "He'll be wracking up results, but it would be hard for me to see him get a whole lot better than he already is. He's an incredible talent. But he will get smarter as he goes forward. And he'll wrack up a lot more results."
DO THE FANS NEED SOMEBODY TO BOO WITH KYLE BUSCH? DOES HE FIT THAT ROLE IN THIS SPORT? "That's a tough thing to say. Thank goodness we're talking about someone else besides myself (smiles). I think that it makes people's blood pump. It's not a bad thing. I've seen them move a number of drivers in the past and that seems to get people engaged. So, from that standpoint, I don't think it's a bad thing as long as they're not booing at me."
KYLE BUSCH SAID HE DIDN'T SPEAK TO HIS BROTHER, KURT, UNTIL CHRISTMAS DINNER ABOUT SOMETHING THAT HAPPENED AT THE ALL-STAR RACE IN MAY. HOW LONG HAVE YOU HELD A GRUDGE AGAINST ANOTHER DRIVER? "Usually not that long. But there may be a driver or two that I may never forgive."
ARE YOU FIRMING UP YOUR PLANS FOR NEXT SEASON? "I'm racing next year on a limited schedule."
BASICALLY THE SAME? 'Absolutely."
WHAT MAKES THIS PART TIME SCHEDULE WORK FOR YOU? "Not having to do the whole schedule and being able to drive top-notch equipment for a great team. It's full-time equipment."
HOW CHALLENGING IS IT TO KEEP ABREAST OF EVERYTHING WHEN THE SPORT CHANGES SO MUCH? "I would rate my rate of engagement at the top of the list in this garage even though I'm not there every weekend, I'm more engaged with my team and my car than the average driver is, no matter how many days they are at the race track."
IN THE ALL-STAR, HOW MUCH OF A SKILL IS IT TO GET IN AND OUT OF PIT ROAD WHILE MAINTAINING THE SPEED? "It's marginally ridiculous, really, they way we do that qualifying. We don't really do anything like that. I don't subscribe to that. But it's made for a lot of tire smoke and a lot of heartbreak. Part of the appeal to the All-Star race is built upon heartbreak. If it wasn't, then the fastest car would always win. The rules are set up so that the fastest car has the least likely opportunity to win than normal. That's okay, as long as you're not the best car. If you're the best car, that's tough. I've been on both ends of it."
THE INVERSION IS GONE THIS YEAR "Yeah, but it's still double file race cars and a bunch of other stuff, you know. But you're right. The inversion is gone and it depends on where you were. If you didn't have the best car, the inversion was good. If you had the best car, it wasn't so good. I've been on both ends of it. I was mad as heck when I had the best car and not so disturbed about it when I got to start on the front row.'
THERE IS SOME TALK THAT THE HALL OF FAME WILL BE DONE IN TWO YEARS, AND THAT THE INDUCTION CEREMONY WOULD BE DURING THIS WEEK AND TIED INTO THE ALL-STAR ACTIVITIES. IS THAT AS GOOD A TIME AS ANY? "Yeah, I think it would be appropriate. Yes, I do. I think it would be good."
WHAT KIND OF A MAN IS DALE JARRETT THAT WE'RE SAYING GOODBYE TO? "We're only saying goodbye to him as a driver. He's a really, really fine man and a really great person from a really good family."
WITH THE MONEY AND SCHEDULE AND DEMANDS, ARE WE NEARING THE ERA WHEN WE WON'T SEE GUYS LIKE YOU AND DJ OUT HERE FOR THIS LONG OF A TIME? "It's a great challenge to be here at age 50. It's even a greater challenge to be competitive out here at the age of 50."
HOW IS THE NEW RACE CAR SHAPING UP ON THE TRACK ON THIS TRACK? "It's okay. It's getting better all the time."
ARE WE IN THE MIDDLE OF A PROCESS OF FINDING OUT WHERE THIS CAR WILL EVENTUALLY BE? "It's okay. It's getting better. We already know where it's going to be. It's here. That's it. That's the end of the story. The car is getting better."
-credit: gm racing