MARK MARTIN, NO. 5 CARQUEST/KELLOGG'S IMPALA SS met with media and discussed racing at Atlanta this weekend, the off-weekend, the upcoming Chase, and more. WHAT IS THE OUTLOOK FOR THIS WEEKEND? "It's going to be fun. Everybody loves racing here...
MARK MARTIN, NO. 5 CARQUEST/KELLOGG'S IMPALA SS met with media and discussed racing at Atlanta this weekend, the off-weekend, the upcoming Chase, and more.
WHAT IS THE OUTLOOK FOR THIS WEEKEND? "It's going to be fun. Everybody loves racing here at Atlanta. And I just can't wait to get out on the race track and get to work. Seems like a long time since we have been racing and I am looking forward to getting down to business."
WERE YOU ABLE TO RELAX AT ALL LAST WEEK? "Yeah, pretty good. Pretty good."
SO YOU DIDN'T HAVE THIS ON YOUR MIND TOO MUCH? "Not too bad. At Bristol we finished off on a high note and had a good weekend so it wasn't like dragging around the disappointment from something for two weeks waiting around. It's okay."
ABOUT PIT ROAD AT ATLANTA AND WHERE HE PREFERS TO BE "Well, I don't get to pick number one very often but we did get to last time here so I would like to have that again because that would mean we were on the pole again. I like 43 also, but that doesn't always work as well as some of them further down do because a lot of times cars are still coming in when you are leaving. You take what you can get."
FIVE OR SIX OF YOU GUYS ARE REALLY CLOSE IN POINTS. WHEN YOU ARE OUT THERE ON THE TRACK, DO YOU KNOW WHERE THOSE OTHER GUYS ARE? "Well, not all of them. But some of them I can see you know? Not all of them I can see, but I can see where some of them are, but Alan doesn't tell me so he evidently doesn't want me to know or he would and it doesn't matter because we have our race to do and we have to handle our business the same no matter what really.
"So I think that's what we do, we do our race the same no matter what and the things we can't control we just can't control. We try to do everything we can to control the things we can to get the very best result every race."
COMING OUT OF THIS RACE, WHAT POSITION DO YOU WANT TO PUT YOURSELF IN, GOING INTO RICHMOND? "If we have a good run and a good finish I am sure we'll have a fast race car and if we finish how we run we shouldn't have any problems."
WHEN YOU COME TO A TRACK LIKE ATLANTA THAT YOU HAVE BEEN AT SO MANY TIMES, WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT WHEN YOU COME IN? DO YOU THINK ABOUT A RACE FROM 10 YEARS AGO OR DO YOU JUST FOCUS ON TODAY? "Mostly today. You know, I think a little bit about the last race because that is the most recent and the most relevant as far as the way the tires worked, where the lines worked, where the car drove, and areas where I would have liked to have improved the car..........you know, reflected on last race.
DO YOU THINK ABOUT LIKE 1994, LIKE SOMETHING THAT HAPPENED BACK THEN? "I don't remember much about all that. Not really. There are sometimes when I remember something but it's just not what I do."
YOU DON'T GET SENTIMENTAL AT ALL? "I didn't here. I didn't at Bristol. I don't know. I might, but not on average. You know, I'm a simple guy and every once in a while I have thoughts pop up in my head and they are not always consistent and sometimes I do remember something but it's more likely something off the racetrack rather than something on the racetrack. You know, I think about people, relationships, things that happen that are out of the ordinary...........Dover, Jody Ridley.......I think Cale blew up and it took Jody five laps to take the lead because he was five laps ahead. You know, I have thoughts too, but they are different. That is sort of a sentimental thought because its an odd thing."
AS WIDE AND RACEABLE AS THIS TRACK IS, IS THIS MORE OF A SNAPSHOT OF WHO REALLY BELONGS IN THE CHASE AS OPPOSED TO A PLACE LIKE BRISTOL OR RICHMOND WHERE YOU GET OTHER FACTORS SUCH AS WRECKS AND THAT KIND OF THING? "There is a little bit to that obviously because passing is a little bit easier than like most places like Michigan you know for example. It's not quite as difficult to get the result that your car and team deserves here as it might be at some other places if you have some circumstances that go against you but the way you worded that is pretty strong, but it's pretty true, you know? But it is fairly true."
IT'S JUST MORE OF AN INDICATOR THAN AT A SHORT TRACK WHERE PEOPLE ARE BEATING AND BANGING. "The thing that can happen at some racetracks is that if you wind up coming out after the last pit stop in like 20th, your likelihood of getting to the top-five is a lot less at a lot of other places. It's greater here and in Michigan. You were right, and I am not sure I would make it incredibly strong but it was all correct what you said."
DO YOU EXPECT TO RUN WELL HERE? "Yes, I do."
IN THE MEANTIME, DO YOU EXPECT YOUR COMPETITION TO RUN WELL, LIKE KYLE BUSCH FOR EXAMPLE TO RUN WELL HERE? "I'm not sure. Kyle ran well in Bristol and he ran good at The Glen but they really haven't been on their game so who knows?
"Vickers, I certainly expect to be fierce. Montoya, I expect him to be fierce here. Kahne, I would give him a greater than 50% chance of being really good here. I don't know."
YOUR THOUGHTS ON CARL EDWARDS AND HIM BREAKING HIS FOOT? "Dang that stuff happens. You just wish it wasn't you."
YOU HAVE HAD TWO RACES FINISHING SECOND MAKING STRONG RUNS ON PEOPLE AT INDY AND AT BRISTOL. THOUGHTS ON HAVING A BETTER SHOT AT MAKING A PASS AT A PLACE LIKE THIS THAN AT INDY OR BRISTOL? "Not so much. Well, Bristol is pretty difficult to make a pass on the bottom but it can be done and I have done it several times. Indy is a challenge. Much more of a challenge to make that kind of pass than here. But even here it's a challenge to make a pass if you're car is not better. You still have to be better than the other car."
FOR A THIRD TIME IT'S CONCEIVABLE THAT YOU CAN RACE YOUR GUTS OUT AND NOT WIN THE RACE. "It's conceivable because you can be a half of a percent better, and that isn't enough to get by even here. So you need to be a good enough better so you can clear them and go away from them."
ABOUT RICHMOND NEXT WEEK AND IF THAT IS A TRACK YOU LIKE AND IF YOU DON'T, WHY? "I like Richmond. I think a lot of the guys like to go race there. It's a great sized race track and it's got a lot of grooves to it. Bottom, middle, upper. Really good racing. There is room to race there even though it's a smaller race track. Fans are always great there."
IS IT A GOOD TRACK TO DECIDE THIS FINAL CUT FOR THE CHASE? "Yeah. I mean it's been the one that always has. It seems like that is fitting, it certainly does. It's a racy little short track with a lot of enthusiasm from the fans."
-credit: gm racing