MARK MARTIN, NO. 5 KELLOGG'S/CARQUEST IMPALA SS, met with members of the media at Dover International Speedway and discussed the difference between concrete and asphalt, his expectations coming into this season, differences in the Chase from the...
MARK MARTIN, NO. 5 KELLOGG'S/CARQUEST IMPALA SS, met with members of the media at Dover International Speedway and discussed the difference between concrete and asphalt, his expectations coming into this season, differences in the Chase from the last time he was a contender and more.
LEADING THE POINTS, COMING OFF A WIN IN NEW HAMPSHIRE, WEEK TWO. "Yeah, we're excited about being here. This is one of my favorite race tracks. I can't wait to get started here today."
IN GENERAL TERMS WHAT IS THE DIFFERENT BETWEEN CONCRETE AND ASPHALT? "In my opinion asphalt is a better surface to race on in a lot of ways. There are some negatives to it. At times it gets rougher, it gets worn out. It's not consistent year to year because of the wearing out and getting older, the asphalt isn't. Concrete is consistent. It's more consistent with the weather. The way the car slips on concrete is more like being cut loose from a string or a rope. When the car starts to slip on concrete it loses 50 percent grip where on asphalt it loses 20 percent grip. So it makes it a little harder to man-handle a race car some times on concrete. That being said this is such an awesome race track that even the concrete hasn't taken away from it being great to race on and really, really fun. So there are pluses and minuses."
WHEN YOU DID YOUR SALUTE TO YOU TOUR A COUPLE OF YEARS BACK DID YOU EVER THINK YOU WOULD BE IN THIS POSITION AT THIS POINT AND TIME? "Well of course not. Wouldn't have done it if I could have seen the future that's for sure. It's been a real magical year. It's really been incredibly special. It's been lots of fun and we're having a blast."
DO YOU HAVE ANY SYMPATHY FOR THE GUY WHO SPENT 26 RACES BUILDING A BIG POINTS LEAD AND DO YOU FEEL LIKE THERE OUGHT TO BE A LITTLE MORE REWARDED FOR THAT GUY GOING INTO THE CHASE? "Not feeling any real sympathy right now. Not really. They did the Chase to make it more exciting just like they did the double restarts. There's going to be winners and losers. The only way you can make more excitement and more drama is stand a chance of mixing it up or changing the outcome if you want to really simplify it or at least put the element of change more likely. Even on a double-file restart if the leader gets the preferred lane the chance of it not working out for him is more likely that way than if the leader lined up behind him with lap cars on the inside. I didn't make those rules. I'm racing."
CONSIDERING THE LAST TWO YEARS YOU WERE PART TIME, WHAT WERE YOUR REALISTIC EXPECTATIONS COMING INTO THIS YEAR AND HAS IT BEEN MORE ENJOYABLE BECAUSE OF WHAT YOU'VE DONE IN LIGHT OF THE EXPECTATIONS? "How I've done in light of the expectations, yeah that's added to it."
WHAT WERE THE EXPECTATIONS? "To drive a fast race car and hopefully win a race."
ONE, HUH? "No not one. Win a race then it all stops. On the other side of that then we'll worry about two. I'm not sure that people understand that I don't sit around and dream about what I could do. I don't sit around and dream of playing the NBA. I'm 5'6" you know what I mean? I just go off of realistic things. I don't set things out there I just do the best that I can. So what I thought I would do is drive a fast race car and hopefully have a chance to win a race. And I said after that we'll work on two and after two we'll work on three. Now we're going to work on six. But to set out and say we were going to win six before the season started and only win five, to be disappointed because we only won five to me would be idiotic. I just don't do it that way."
CLEARLY THIS HAS EXCEEDED THOSE EXPECTATIONS. "Absolutely. This certainly rivals my best year ever and at this stage of my career I certainly wouldn't expect to rival 1998."
AMERICA SEEMS TO EMBRACE GUYS IN PROFESSIONAL SPORTS OVER THE AGE OF 50 THAT DO WELL, DO YOU LIKE EMBRACING THAT ROLE YOURSELF TO BE THE GUY THAT MAYBE YOU'RE GOING TO PICK UP MORE FANS BECAUSE YOU'RE OVER 50 AND KICKING BUTT HERE? "Well my view on that is the guys and girls that are over 50 that are enjoying this and are excited about it, I think that's great. I really do. Good for them and it's good for me. That's really how I look at it. I don't look at it from any other thing other than I see a lot of people, gosh I talked to Bill Elliott the other day and he was like keep getting it. Keep beating those young guys. He's excited too. I think that brings a different element to what we're doing then it would be if it was all one age group. You've got Joey Logano who won right around his 19th birthday or somewhere close and you've got us on the other end of it so I think that diversity brings kids, it excites kids that follow the sport and we're working on the other end of it."
ON YOUR DECISION TO SIGN A CONTRACT EXTENSION COULD YOU JUST TALK A BIT ABOUT WHETHER THERE WAS MUCH SOUL SEARCHING INVOLVED? "Really things are going really, really well. I'm having the time of my life. It's a little long-range for my liking but for Hendrick Motorsports planning purposes, sponsorship deals and all those things it made sense to go ahead and make the commitment so they could plan longer term than just a year. I'm definitely having a blast. I'm having the time of my life and I think that's obvious. So I was comfortable with it."
LAST WEEK IN VICTORY LANE I WAS SORT OF STRUCK BY THE FACT THAT YOU MENTIONED TALLADEGA AT THAT POINT, FOR A GUY WHO DOESN'T GENERALLY LIKE TO GET TOO FAR AHEAD OF HIMSELF, DOES THAT MEAN THAT IS SORT OF THE FOCAL POINT OF THE CHASE FOR YOU? "No, not at all. I didn't mention it in anticipation or anything else. I was just trying to describe to everyone that Loudon is 10 percent of the Chase. It's the same 10 percent as any other race in the Chase. I said before we got up there don't get so excited and calling it's going to be this and its going to be that after one race, there's a lot stuff left to happen and a lot of racing left to happen. I was still trying to do the same thing. Don't get carried away with you know what the complexion of the Chase is going to be when it comes down to it based on one race. Everybody in the Chase right now are performing on a level that could pull it off depending on how things work out for them. I just brought that up because that is a place where you don't really have as much control over your destiny as you do at some of the other places."
WAS THERE ANYTHING DIFFERENT ABOUT THE CHASE THIS TIME AROUND FROM THREE YEARS AGO? "I haven't noticed a huge difference. I can see that the sport has grown a little bit in coverage and everything. I haven't been a part of the Chase for the last two years and have noticed there seems to be a stronger buzz about it than there was last time I was in it in 2006. Maybe so, maybe not. It may have been because we hadn't won four races going into the Chase or something. I don't know."
-credit: gm racing