Las Vegas: Martin post qualifying interview

MARK MARTIN , NO. 8 U.S. ARMY IMPALA SS will start third in Sunday's UAW-Dodge 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup race, round 3 on the 2008 tour of 26 races. ON HIS QUALIFYING: "We made all the right changes to the car. And it was a great lap. The car...

MARK MARTIN , NO. 8 U.S. ARMY IMPALA SS will start third in Sunday's UAW-Dodge 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup race, round 3 on the 2008 tour of 26 races.

ON HIS QUALIFYING:

"We made all the right changes to the car. And it was a great lap. The car really stuck well. We were 27th fastest in practice. I told those guys that I was getting all of it then. It wasn't like I had a whole lot left (laughs). I've got to give those guys credit. They have such big hearts and such a good attitude. It really is fun to go to work everyday when you're working with those guys."

CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THE SENSATION OF SPEED AND HOW FAST YOU'RE GOING HERE?

"For me, the sensation of speed wasn't very big compared to testing here in January. We were about one second slower, all of us, the times in the Nationwide cars and the Cup cars and everything. It didn't seem so fast. Qualifying was a little bit better. The speeds were getting more like it. I think you really noticed it when something goes wrong (laughs)."

AS WELL AS YOU'VE RACED HERE OVER THE YEARS, WHAT IS YOUR CRAZIEST LAS VEGAS STORY?

"Well, I don't know. There are a lot of things that come to mind. We won that first race and those big ol' tall showgirls were up there. I remember that vividly. I'm not saying they were pretty. But they were something else, for sure. They're all in the pictures from that. I'll tell you. We won that first race. And you know I never took a minute to think about or to enjoy any of that. All I could ever think about was how were we ever going to do this next week. But we stayed a long time because it was the inaugural race. There was a lot of press stuff afterwards. The place was cleared out quite a bit by the time I left by helicopter. I remember when the helicopter lifted up and I could see down, that's when I realized what I had accomplished; that's burned into my mind, that look down, and realizing because from behind the wheel, it's the same thing as winning at the local short track. It is just a race, when you're doing it. It might be a big race, but it's still a race. I guess that's the memory that I have. Just for one second I realized what we accomplished. And it was a big accomplishment. As you remember, it was a new team and three races into a season and I was sweating pretty big the change that I had made -- even though it was still the No. 6 car."

EVEN THOUGH IT'S EARLY BUT KYLE BUSCH NOW HAS SIX RACES, SIX TOP FIVE FINISHES, A POLE TODAY. ARE YOU SORT OF IN AWE AT THE STAR OF THE YEAR HE'S HAD BECAUSE OF WHAT IT TAKES TO DO THAT?

"I've seen this coming for quite some time. Right now, he is the wheel man of the series. I can't us the explanation that I might in the garage. But he's doing it. He's getting her done this year. He's doing it." When you watch Jeff Gordon drive, Jeff Gordon goes really fast. But you don't see a whole lot there other than going fast. You watch Kyle Busch drive and not only is he going fast, but you see he's taking your breath too (laugh). I've been there before. When you're at the very, very top of your came. He's got car control and he's smart enough to be able to make it. He's not wrecking them and bringing them back on a roll back. He's putting it all together."

ON DRIVING FOR DALE JUNIOR IN THE NO. 5 CHEVY IN THE NATIONWIDE SERIES:

"This is our kickoff to the season in the No. 5 car this season. Delphi is on the car and Dale Jr. has been really good in it the first two races with a third and a seventh place finish. The car is good enough to be a contender, I think. It's always hard to tell but we tested really well here and I've been relatively pleased with the car of today. I'm looking forward to it and it's such a privilege to work with the folks from Hendrick Motorsports and Dale Junior and his whole organization. I've been over to his shop several times and boy, I'd sure like to get that trophy for all of us tomorrow."

TALK ABOUT WORKING WITH LANCE MCGREW THIS WEEKEND, INTERIM CREW CHIEF, AND HOW THAT SWITCH IS AFFECTING YOU THIS WEEKEND

"For the past 14 months, it's been put the blindfold on me and spin me around and jerk it off. So it's just one more new guy. It actually is working well. I worked with Alan Gustafson last year with the No. 5 car until we got down to Homestead and then it was Chad (Knaus) we had a great run there. We were starting to know each other pretty well because we did the test out here. And now with Lance, another great guy with tremendous depth coming out of the Hendrick organization and all those guys that work on that car, worked on it last year when I did three races. So, I'm comfortable. I'm with new guys in my Cup car too and to be real honest with you, I can't even tell it. I know all their names now (laughs) believe it or not, and I'm very comfortable working with them. I've been working with a lot of people and as long as they give me great race cars and they give me good communication and feedback, it seems to be working well."

HAVE THEY FIGURED OUT THE TIRE FOR THIS TRACK AND THE COT?

"We didn't see any tire trouble in the test and some guys did long runs in the test. But the grip was so high during the test that I wasn't really super comfortable. The grip level is a lot lower now, which makes me feel a little bit more confident in the tire being able to hold up. So, we'll find out some more tomorrow, but we didn't see any troubles in the test.

-credit: gm racing

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About this article
Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jeff Gordon , Kyle Busch
Teams Hendrick Motorsports