Ginn Racing Teleconference March 20, 2007 Mark Martin Regan Smith Ricky Carmichael KEVIN WOODS: I want to welcome everyone. Thank you for calling in today. We also want to thank Mark Martin, Regan Smith and Ricky Carmichael for joining us.
Ginn Racing Teleconference
March 20, 2007
KEVIN WOODS: I want to welcome everyone. Thank you for calling in today. We also want to thank Mark Martin, Regan Smith and Ricky Carmichael for joining us. And we'll briefly introduce the three of them, ask them a question. Then we'll open it up to questions from everybody out there. Of course, Regan will be making his first Cup start this weekend at Bristol in the 01 U.S. Army Chevy. Ricky will be making his stock car debut at Columbia Motorsports Park, Lake City, Florida. And Mark Martin, Nextel Cup points leader, will be staying at home on Sunday to watch the race on television and he'll be helping with Ricky on Saturday night. So Regan, if you could just comment a little bit about stepping into the car this weekend and how excited you are about your debut.
REGAN SMITH: I'm excited to be stepping into the U.S. Army Chevrolet this weekend. And it's an awesome team. Ryan Pemberton, and all the guys have been doing an awesome job all year long. And Mark has had a great year leading the points, turning the reigns over to me, it's pretty big deal to hop in as a rookie into the car that's leading the points and driver points.
So I am looking forward to it and want to go up and have a strong showing and finish all the laps. And then just try to get lots of experience and move on from there and gain experience to take to Martinsville.
Q: Ricky, you seem to be having a lot going out here. You have a debut of your own coming up Saturday night in Lake City. But you're also a proud father of a couple of twins?
RICKY CARMICHAEL: Yes, it's been an amazing week for me, no doubt about it. And you know everything worked out and I had a, you know, an addition, a boy and a girl. And we got that done and I was able to finish up my last supercross race and that went very, very good and just really, really excited about this weekend.
But I'm nervous. But it's a good nervous. It's a great feeling that I haven't had in a long time. And all the talking is about to stop now, because it's time to start here.
Q: Mark, you're kind of winding down on what your streak was. But jumping into the next chapter what you have going on at Ginn Racing, can you comment on what you're doing to get Regan ready for his debut and Ricky this weekend?
MARK MARTIN: Regan, he's ready. He's displayed great speed, great adaptability. Testing with Regan on more than one occasion. Worked up with him at Bristol. The guys have a good race car and a great race team.
And Regan's biggest challenge at Bristol will be to try to avoid everyone else's troubles. Obviously we'd like to see him run all 500 laps, and that's not easy to do even for a veteran up there.
So it's going to be an interesting weekend, but we think the world of Regan as a person, young man, and as a really bright new star coming into the NASCAR Nextel Cup series. So we look forward to being a part of his rise to success. And, of course, going to have a lot of fun this weekend with Ricky.
Not everyone that follows stock car racing realizes the kind of impact that Ricky Carmichael has had in his career and is a huge force in motor sports. And this is the first step in converting from two wheels to four. And we're going to take it easy and not try to get in too deep here on this first race. And kind of find out what it's all about.
And then kind of ramp it up with each event following this first weekend, each event that we'll be going to will be stepping up the amount of competition and the number of car count and all that. But this weekend is all about getting comfortable in the race car and getting comfortable with other cars around. And it's just going to be -- it's going to be a lot of fun.
I really feel privileged at this point in my career to have a chance to work with great rising young drivers like Ricky and Regan.
Q: Ricky, I was surprised you didn't name them "Super" and "Moto".
RICKY CARMICHAEL: Come on. (Chuckling).
Q: Are you going to do any motocross, any two-wheel competition planned in the next couple of years?
RICKY CARMICHAEL: Going to do six outdoors and then the Motocross of Nations is in America this year. And I'm going to do that. That's September. And then the rest is history for me. I've had all the fun I can stand and just really looking forward to driving. To be honest with you, that's where my head's been the last, I would say, four, 5 weeks.
And it's been hard to stay motivated and focused on the two-wheel side of things. I've just been looking forward to that.
Q: Are you getting ready to bulldoze your supercross track in the backyard and have Mark come down and help you build a little short track?
RICKY CARMICHAEL: I already built a little dirt track and got some carts and stuff on it. It's a pretty nice deal there. But I keep my supercross track there. I got a guy that rides with me, a young buck coming up.
And that's my roots. And I enjoy to watch the young kids coming up.
Q: The last motorcross-related question, with you out there, is there really anybody that's going to touch James?
RICKY CARMICHAEL: I don't think anyone is in his level right now. But you know it's not going to be like he's just going to go out and dominate since I'm gone. You know, obviously, when he races me, we definitely run off from the pack.
But racing in any form of racing, you only do what you have to do to win. If one of those guys, Mark or Regan went to a local race, I'm sure it would be all they could do to beat some of the local guys.
But you throw those local guys in a Cup car and they wouldn't even qualify. So that's just the nature of the sport. And that's just a natural thing that occurs is he's only going to do what he has to do to win.
But no one is really in his league, though. There really is no one in his league.
Q: Ricky, I watched you stay night at the Citrus Bowl 42,000 fans screaming your name and now everything is going to be a little different this Saturday night. I mean mentally, do you have to readjust your thought plan because basically you're just starting out another new career here?
RICKY CARMICHAEL: Absolutely. It's a whole new thought plan. And for me it's my first race. So I can drive the car; it's just now being in a racing situation, I think it's a really great time for me to learn some more. Every time I get behind the car it seems like I learn and learn.
And now being out there with some other drivers, it's going to be tough. To be honest with you, I don't know what to expect. I just want to do my best and be in there. And I'll have a better guideline of what I think my potential is as a racer after this weekend.
Q: Have you ever even seen Columbia Motorsports Park?
RICKY CARMICHAEL: Just from what I've seen on the Internet. Just from that. But, no, I've never been there. As long as I've lived in Florida, I haven't been there.
Q: Mark, are you going to be in radio contact with Ricky during the race?
MARK MARTIN: Yes. I probably won't be with Matt. The last time I spotted for Matt I stood there and watched a wreck happen in front of him and watched him drive, drive, drive right into it and I never said a word. So I quit spotting because I kept thinking about what would I do, what would I do, what would I do.
So, yeah, I'll be on the radio with Ricky and Matt and the guys that help him normally do an incredible job. And I'll just be a proud dad of Matt. But I'll watching them both.
Q: Regan, difficult enough to just jump in a Cup car after the season started like this, but can you talk about what it's like to be in the point leader's car?
REGAN SMITH: Obviously it's an honor and privilege first off to be getting into the point leader's car and to further that, it's an honor and privilege to share a seat with Mark Martin. I've watched Mark since I was a little kid and I think that's been well documented all year that it's somebody I grew up watching and had a lot of respect for just the way he handled himself around the racetrack and on the racetrack and just in general, the respect he's had for the sport.
And it's a pretty big shoes for me to fill, definitely. And I just want to go out there and do the U.S. Army team proud. And a finish is going to be great for us this weekend especially if we can finish all the laps. If we don't finish all the laps still finish the race and be clean all day long. That's going to be an accomplishment.
Q: Do you anticipate being racy or just kind of -- you're not getting paid to ride?
REGAN SMITH: I definitely don't get paid to ride. I'm a race car driver, I'm a competitor. Any time I'm on that racetrack I'll be racing I'd love nothing else to be rubbing shoulders with Tony Stewart for the end of the race. But the he same time you've got to grow and you've got to mature. I've never been in a 500-lap race before. This will be the first one for me.
So there's going to be a little bit of a learning process there to where I've got to learn how to take care of the car for that long and to pace myself to make sure we're around at the end and to make sure we're good at the end.
So I'm definitely going to go out there to be racy. I'm not riding, that's for sure.
Q: Do you take any inspiration maybe from how quickly Montoya has adapted? If he can come in with no stock car experience at least you've got a leg up on him from that perspective. Doesn't seem like the transition phase is as difficult as maybe has been in the past.
REGAN SMITH: I don't know. He's a talented race car driver first off. If you take a good race car driver place them in any situation they'll figure out how to make it work.
With that being said, I've raced against a lot of these guys for three years now on and off full time last year and full time with the Busch car this year. I know I've gone with them and I know I've got the talent and ability and we've had some good tests and I'm confident in myself, definitely. It's just a matter of getting through that first race and not doing anything stupid.
There's always little things as a rookie you're going to have to learn as you go and they're going to see that stripe on the back of the car and it's going to remind them it's not Mark Martin this week, definitely. I was joking with the guys, I was at the shop here earlier today and the stripe on the back of the car is neon yellow. It's not like even Army yellow it doesn't fade in with the race car. Stands out pretty big time.
Q: I want to talk to Mark and ask him: Mark, number one, when you finish the top in points and walk out that way in consecutive finishes it's kind of a cool way to do it in a way. And I was talking to Jeff Burton about that last night but how did you feel with the point situation and stepping out the way you did on the full schedule?
MARK MARTIN: Well, it feels good. Certainly the way that you would like to do it. And it's been a long consecutive number, 621 and the last four have been some of the best of my career. So I look forward to moving forward and carrying out my plan, and I look forward to watching the race on Sunday.
And I'm just really grateful for all the fan support that I've had, especially over the last year. And the incredible effort that's been made by Ryan Pemberton and all the guys that have worked so hard for so many years at that race team and suffered so many setbacks.
I think that they finally have gotten the recognition and the credit that they deserve. Incredible race team, having Ernie taken from them, Jerry taken from them, having gone through so many drivers. They've had an incredible team. And they've got a chance to show it, really show it this year.
Continued in part 2