Daytona 500: Mark Martin Media Day interview

MARK MARTIN, NO. 8 U.S. ARMY IMPALA SS met with media and talked about his second place Daytona 500 finish, his part-time schedule, his workout routine, and more: FROM A SPONSOR'S PERSPECTIVE, ARE THE DEMANDS OR EXPECTATIONS FROM THE ARMY ANY ...

MARK MARTIN, NO. 8 U.S. ARMY IMPALA SS met with media and talked about his second place Daytona 500 finish, his part-time schedule, his workout routine, and more:

FROM A SPONSOR'S PERSPECTIVE, ARE THE DEMANDS OR EXPECTATIONS FROM THE ARMY ANY DIFFERENT THAN MAYBE PFIZER OR VALVOLINE, SPONSORS YOU'VE WORKED WITH IN THE PAST?

"You know, each sponsor that I've worked with has been a little bit different as far as what they want and what they need, but you know it's really been a joy for me. The things that I've done for them have been things that I have been really proud to be a part of and really enjoyed. Of course 2007 was by far the best year of my lifetime; best sponsor experience as well as everything else. 2007's tops and Army was a part of that."

HOW DOES IT FEEL TO COME BACK HERE? DO YOU HAVE AN EXTRA SPRING IN YOUR STEP KNOWING YOU WERE SO CLOSE TO WINNING IT?

"Absolutely no difference. None. You know what I am saying; there is no difference in my step or anything else. I was very proud of the effort that my team made last year but that was last year you know, and I drove the race of my life last year and I'm also proud of that and beyond that to me it's like it never happened. Just like all the wins to me, it feels like they never happened and I would be the same person had they not have happened. My life doesn't revolve around the past. It mostly revolves around the future. I've always focused forward not much look back."

SPEAKING OF THE FUTURE, NOW THAT YOU ARE ON THE PART-TIME PLAN, HAVE YOU GIVEN SERIOUS THOUGHT TO HOW MUCH LONGER YOU GOING TO KEEP DOING THIS?

"Yeah, don't think I haven't thought about it. I'm a planner. I planned on it for five years and it wound up being six instead of five but you know the circumstances around it. You know being in the No. 6 car in '06 I hadn't planned on doing that. It's not forever. What I'm doing now is not forever, that's for sure. It's limited as well and it's limited for multiple reasons. One is I don't really think it's practical for me to try to do for another seven years or probably even another five years. It's limited, but I do have '09 basically in place."

SO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE PROBABLY GOOD FOR '09?

Mark Martin: Well, I have '09 in place; I mean we have '09 in place. All but sorting out the details. I actually have a long-term agreement with Dale Earnhardt Incorporated just as I had with Ginn although it didn't transfer when we made the change. We did a new contract with Dale Earnhardt Incorporated that was long-term which includes my racing in Cup again in '09 and sort of unspecified for the next three years after that.

WHAT'S YOUR NON-CUP PROGRAM?

"Five races with Rick Hendrick and JR Motorsports, so ironically I work for Teresa, Dale Jr., and Rick Hendrick. So I'm still crossing the lines. Not as quite as dramatically as last year but still crossing lines again this year to some degree."

DOING ANY TRUCKS?

"Not any trucks right now. I'd worked real hard on trying to put together trucks and it is an incredibly tough business model and we just weren't able to do it. I've looked at it real hard especially with trying to get involved, and actually becoming part owner in David Dollar's program. Might happen in the future, but we just you know, we really had to prioritize things and a number one priority was the No. 8 and Dale Earnhardt Incorporated and Aric Almirola and Regan Smith. That's really where my heart is and where my priorities are and we are going to have some fun in the Busch car and who knows where that goes. But I have enormous respect for Dale Jr. and I'm really proud to be a part of that cooperative effort between Hendrick and Jr. and being a part of that shop and Tony Eury, Sr. and Chad Walters as crew chief obviously. Junior is going to drive the same car as I do and so I did the first test at Vegas. So I feel like I'm working and helping you know get things sort of in order for Junior. You know we're working we're going to work together obviously but doing some cool stuff, still really cool stuff."

CAN YOU TELL A DIFFERENCE PHYSICALLY AND MENTALLY OR SPIRITUALLY OR HOWEVER YOU WANT TO SAY IT IN YOUR BODY AND YOUR PERSONALITY NOW THAT YOU'VE GONE TO A PART-TIME SCHEDULE?

"Absolutely. Number one let's talk about physically. I am by far in the best shape of my life today -- by far. Just short of incredible condition right now and I love it. I was just talking coming in this morning, I'm as happy as I could be walking in here. If I were doing the full schedule I'd be walking in here with a snarl on my face. I've done this so many times and this wouldn't be what I would want to be doing, but because I'm doing what I want to do. I want to be here, I want to be a part of this and that's how I've addressed everything. That's one of the things that made 2007 one of the greatest years of my life. To have the opportunity to not only represent U.S. Army but the No. 8 car and Dale Earnhardt Incorporated, it's really special to me. You know it's a once in a lifetime opportunity to work with that company and to work on bringing along Aric and seeing Regan reach his full potential and be a part of that organization and the legacy. 2008 is going to be I hope another one. I expect to be able to say that 2008 was the greatest year of my life. 2007 obviously is today and I'm a brand new person because I'm not doing anything that I don't want to do -- nothing. And I did a lot of that for a long, long time. A lot of stuff that I didn't want to do and I did those for my career, for Roush Racing and for my career, the things that we had to do and now I only do the things that I want to do."

ON THE NEW RACE CAR

"You know, I think we are making great progress with the new car and the handling department and all and the more we race it the better we'll make the car."

HOW DOES IT COMPARE TO THE OLD CAR?

"Well, technically the car is a giant step backwards from the old car, technically. So we have made great strides in bringing that back and getting a lot of that back in this new car."

TALK ABOUT BEING IN THE BEST SHAPE OF YOUR LIFE. ARE YOU TRAINING DIFFERENTLY NOW THAN YOU DID? ARE YOU FINDING YOU HAVE TO TRAIN DIFFERENTLY?

"One thing is, I'm training at about 45 minutes later in the day, instead of at 5:30 -- I'm a little bit after 6:00. That's helped a lot. I have more time. I don't have quite the same deadline so I'm doing more stretching. I have more time to plan and be more diligent on the way I eat and the nutrition program. But I think the stretching has done an awful lot for me and a little less pressed on time gives me an opportunity to vary my workouts more. In other words, before I just had to do it and get it done and I did the same thing every time and hurry up, hurry up and now I am doing a better job putting variety into my program. So instead of forcing through 45 minutes I may be using an hour and ten or fifteen, you know adding a lot of stretching. When you get older it becomes really important. I've lifted weights for 20 years. I should have been doing it a long time ago. It really makes me feel a lot better."

DO YOU DO MORE REPS BECAUSE YOU HAVE MORE TIME?

"No, I change it around a lot more, no. I'm doing basically the same workload as I was doing before but I'm shocking and surprising."

ON LAST YEAR'S DAYTONA 500

"I don't replay it. I don't think about it much. I don't replay it in my mind. That's behind us. I'll say again, I've said it a hundred times or a hundred thousand times I'm very proud of the effort that my team made last year. I also am very proud of the fact that I drove the race of my life last year. And so, that's that."

BUT YOU SAID NOTHING CHANGED AFTER COMING SO CLOSE. WOULD A WIN CHANGE WOULD IT CHANGE YOUR CAREER, CHANGE ANYTHING?

"I went home after that race, after I got done with all that stuff. I went home, I took a shower and I did the same thing I do after every race. Now I have won a few races and I did the same thing that night as I did after the races I won or the races that I crashed - crash and burn. So, no I mean the only thing different was you could write Daytona 500 Champion Mark Martin and now you can't write anything but Mark Martin. You know what I'm saying -- you could, that would change because you would be able to say that well that's how everything you write about me might read, but beyond that I mean, I don't know I'm not a look back and you know I'm very proud -- I'll say again I'm very proud of the effort, very proud of the race I drove. I believe in my heart that I drove the race of my life and I don't know if I've got more than that in me or if I could ever do that, you know I don't know and I'm not worried about it."

THEN THAT'S A GREAT FEELING?

"That's a great feeling. I'm very proud of what we did last year. I wish we would have won, but winning that race wouldn't change who I am and it really wouldn't change my world that much. Just like winning the other races that I have won in my career really haven't changed things that much either. I'm proud of the one's we've won, I'm disappointed at all the ones that got away that we should have won but didn't and that Daytona 500 is not one of those that got away. It's not one of those we should have won and didn't it's one we could have won and didn't

-credit: gm racing

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Regan Smith , Aric Almirola , Mark Martin
Teams Dale Earnhardt Incorporated , JR Motorsports