Continued from part 1 MARK MARTIN - No. 6 Viagra Taurus HOW WOULD YOU FEEL IF DAYTONA ENDED THE SEASON? "I think that NASCAR would be the one to make that decision because they're so much smarter than I am. I think it would be ridiculous ...
Continued from part 1
MARK MARTIN - No. 6 Viagra Taurus
HOW WOULD YOU FEEL IF DAYTONA ENDED THE SEASON?
"I think that NASCAR would be the one to make that decision because they're so much smarter than I am. I think it would be ridiculous for me to make any comment on it because they have done such a great job in building this sport. They know what is best much better than I do. I would pretty much support them on whatever they decided, whether it was to leave it like this or to make a change. I support them 100 percent because I feel they've come a long way the last 50 years."
HOW DID THE HENDRICK TRAGEDY AFFECT THE SPORT?
"It was a devastating affect on everyone involved because we knew the members on board and knew the surviving family members and team members. It was a devastating accident for everyone in the sport. It's something I hope we don't have to go through again anytime in the future."
WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THE POSSIBILITY OF A PENSION?
"Who is gonna pay for it? I'm not taking a hard line on that. I think if somebody figures out how to get one, it'll be the greatest thing in the world, but I don't know who would pay for it. Nobody wants to pay for it. I think it's the driver's responsibility to take care of himself. I think there's been a lot of shortsightedness along the way on a lot of things. First of all, the drivers don't make that kind of big money like baseball players and some of the other things that even do have pensions, first of all. But we really have to be smart with what we do make."
SO THE ONUS IS ON YOU GUYS?
"It has always been on the driver's shoulders and if I was in charge of NASCAR, I don't know how much one of those pension plans would cost for all of those drivers, but I know I sure wouldn't want to be paying for it and I don't know who would. You can't compare ours to baseball or football - what we do - for many reasons. I don't even know what I'm talking about, but a lot of the stadiums they play in they don't have to pay for. Is that right?"
SOME OF IT IS A MIXED BAG.
"Racing is different. It's just like if kids want to go play little league. They can go play little league because there is a baseball team for little league provided by the city or whoever. But if you want to race cars, somebody has to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to make a race track. It's different. This sport is different. A pension plan would be awesome for these drivers, but if they continue to get the money up for the drivers where it could be and what some of the other professional sports are, I don't see any problem. I certainly don't have any problems with my situation because I've known that someday I wasn't gonna be driving these cars ever since 1988 when I signed up with Jack Roush and I've been working on it ever since. I think you have to have that kind of discipline all throughout your career, and I hope that making all this noise helps and I hope someone figures out how to do it, but certainly I'm not smart enough to figure it out."
WHY DON'T YOU GUYS MAKE AS MUCH HAS FOOTBALL PLAYERS OR GOLFERS?
"Golfers just have a couple dollars worth of golf balls and some clubs that surely they can get for free. We've got millions and millions and millions and millions of dollars to be able to go out and put our show on. It takes 15-20 million dollars to run one of these race teams, so a lot of the money has to go towards that, and then you have $100-200 million race tracks and someone has to be brave enough to make one of these tracks and put it out there and try to make a piece of business out of owning a race track, which is a frightening situation. It's not a business that I would go into, so the tracks have their operating costs and expenses. So to put on one of these shows there's a lot more cost involved. It's more different than any sport that I know in all those ways. If you took time to look at all those aspects, you'd realize that there's a reason why the money doesn't filter down to any one person like it does as much - I still don't know how baseball players get paid what they get paid. I don't understand it. I don't know where the money comes from. But I do know that in order for his team to operate, he doesn't have to round up a $15 million sponsor in order to be able to go play ball. There are other ways that it all works."
THEY DO IT WITH A FRANCHISE SHARE OF THE TV CONTRACT.
"And the race tracks share a big piece of the TV contracts now, but the race tracks have probably, in a lot of ways, they may have a bigger investments than the stadiums that these guys play ball in."
THEY'RE NOT OPEN 80 TIMES A YEAR.
"So I don't know. I'm not near smart enough to have this conversation, I'm just trying to bring up the fact that it is so different. You can't compare. You can't just say, 'Drivers, you have a pension plan like all those other guys.' Well, there are reasons why there is not one, and I hope they figure out how to have one. And I hope that everyone contributes - from the drivers to the sponsors to NASCAR to the tracks - I'd love to see that, but I don't know. That sounds pretty complicated to me."
WILL YOU RACE TRUCKS NEXT YEAR?
"Nothing is finalized. Obviously, we'll have a big announcement if and when we do. We're working on sponsorship at this time. Jack Roush and Geoff Smith and I are working on something to do the Craftsman Truck Series."
DO YOU FEEL THE TRUCK GUYS HAVE MORE FUN THAN THE CUP GUYS?
"They say that they do."
WILL THE TRUCK SERIES LOOK LIKE A REUNION SERIES IN A COUPLE OF YEARS?
"Right now it looks like it. It looks like it would be fun. I'm not done racing. I'm way too young to stop racing. I'm very capable and very passionate about racing, but I'm done with what I'm doing. I've got to close this chapter. It has grown to the point where I can't sign up for another year."
ARE YOU JUST TIRED?
"I have other things that are important to me, that I have put off for 30 years, they weren't important to me then. But it is time for me to develop some personal relationships, to spend more time with my family, to be more accessible to my extended family, to be under less pressure, to have some Sundays to do what I choose to - a lot of different things."
WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO DO ON SUNDAYS?
"Watch the race on TV, I guess. Go to a family reunion. I haven't ever been to a Martin family reunion in my life. I didn't go to my granddad's funeral. I haven't done anything. You guys should know better than anybody that if you've got a day off and it's Monday, and your kids are in school and everybody you know is working, what good is it? It's not the same as a Sunday, when you can go and have dinner with your family. Sunday is a totally different day than a Monday, it just really is and it's something that when you haven't had any for 30 years, it's a different day."
WHEN DID YOU DECIDE THIS WOULD BE YOUR FINAL YEAR?
"I signed this contract that I'm currently driving under in 1999. I knew then that this could be it and I told my accountant and I told my wife and my financial advisor and they laughed at me. I told them in '99. I always knew that I would have the option to put something onto the end of that contract, but I also knew that there was a good chance that I wouldn't. It would have been a lot better for Roush Racing and it would have been a lot better for Jack Roush if I would have gone on. Jack really wanted me to. He gets tears in his eyes everytime we talk about it, but I have to do some other things. I have to start having some fun. I have to start having some fun."
WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THE NEW POINT SYSTEM?
"I did not like the new point system at all when it was announced and as I lived it, I realized that it was one of the brightest things that NASCAR has ever done for the fans and I'm a big supporter of it now."
ANOTHER THING ABOUT GOLFERS IS THAT THEY CAN TAKE WEEKENDS OFF WHENEVER THEY WANT. YOU HAVE TO BE IN THE WHOLE DEAL FROM START TO FINISH.
"Let me tell you guys something, I have never, ever called in sick. I have driven with broken knees and wrists and ribs and bruised this or hurt that and everything else under the sun. That's the kind of commitment it takes to do this and I'm not willing to make that commitment for 2006. I've done it and I'll do it every single day. I will not miss a day of work in 2005. You can count on it. If I'm alive, I'll be there because that's the kind of commitment that I have towards my team and everything. But I'm 46 and I have some things that I want to do that I haven't been able to do and I don't want to wait until it's too late. I'm not gonna look around some day and wish I would have taken some extra time with my son or with my wife. It's just time. I'm not gonna be caught hanging on to something I can't hang onto and not being competitive out on the race track. That scares me to death. It's really, really important to me to go out of this thing as close to the top of my game as possible. I just want to be remembered for being as competitive as I have been the last 10 years. I don't want to be remembered as the guy that raced for 25th every week."
BIRTHDAYS, ANNIVERSARIES, THOSE ARE THE KIND OF THINGS YOU'VE MISSED?
"I missed my granddad's funeral in 2004, for example. I'm excused from every kind of family event, except the ones that they schedule around my schedule and that's OK. I've done all that, but I've got to have some time so that I can reclaim some of my life to do some of the more simple things in life that a lot of people take for granted. I'm interested in spending more time with my wife and my son. I'm interested in spending more time at Mark Martin Ford in Batesville, Arkansas. I'm interested in spending more time with the fans. I'm interested in spending more time with the media. I haven't had time for any of that. I'm interested in reclaiming a life. I'm interested in racing for fun. I'm not gonna choose where I race or what I race based on business starting in 2006. If I race a truck, I'll race it because I choose to because it's fun. If it's not fun, I'm not gonna do it. That's how I'm gonna make my choices. I'm not gonna go do that thing if it's not gonna be fun, and if I don't do that, I'll go short track racing around the country and sign autographs and see the fans. I'm gonna have some fun."