MARK MARTIN, No. 5 GODADDY.COM CHEVROLET, met with members of the media at Auto Club Speedway and discussed his record in the Nationwide Series, working out of the same shop with Jeff Gordon, what it takes to run well at Martinsville and more.
WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT GILLIAN BEING HERE? “I’m really excited. It’s fun to meet her. She’s got a lot of energy, Wow! It’s really cool. I’m not so much worried about the workout myself, I’m looking forward to the media members that are going to work out with us. That’s what is going to be really fun.”
ARE YOU HAVING A LITTLE FUN WITH THE NATIONWIDE RACING WITH KYLE BUSCH? “The media is having fun with it. I’m a realist, I know that record is not going to stick. It will probably stand to mid-season this year and that’s it. But the media is having fun with it. So fine, may as well have some fun with it. You know Kyle is going to get it and he’s going to pass it this year probably by mid season the rate that they run. It’s all good. So it’s a lot of fun. I’m having fun with the Dollar General team and Trent and all those guys. We got lucky and won our first out together and that’s pretty cool. We’ll try to have a better race car and get up there and fight for another one.”
TALKING ABOUT THAT, THERE ARE A LOT OF PEOPLE THAT THINK KYLE IS COMING OVER AND KIND OF POACHING ON THE NATIONWIDE TALENT, IS IT THAT EASY TO SWAP BACK AND FORTH FROM A CUP CAR TO NATIONWIDE CAR? “Well Kyle has to beat Carl (Edwards) and a bunch of other great veteran race car drivers, so people will say what they want to say. What can I say?
“To me that’s nothing. It’s all about having great race cars. If you’ve got great race cars, you adapt going from one to another. It’s not like going from Indy cars to stock cars. It’s a different stock car, so it’s not that big of an adjustment and it never was a big deal to me.”
YOU’VE GAINED A LOT FROM LAST YEAR FROM WHERE YOU WERE IN POINTS, FROM THIS TIME LAST YEAR TO NOW, WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE? “I don’t remember but I guess the biggest difference for us right now, I think we were up pretty far in the points last year. You’re thinking about ’09. In ’09 we broke an engine the second race out and it really hurt us and I think we broke one the third race as well, so that put us in the hole. This year the reason we are where we are is because the race team has done an incredible job. I’ve had accident damage in three of the four races and we still come back with our best finishes in those three events with tore up front ends so it’s pretty amazing what we’ve been able to do or what they’ve been able to do with the repairs they’ve been able to make and our good fortune and have good finishes.”
YOU’VE GOT A NEW ROOMMATE THIS YEAR IN JEFF GORDON, HOW HAS THAT WORKED OUT WITH HIM AND DO YOU SEE NEW FIRE IN HIM AND NEW ENERGY ESPECIALLY AFTER WINNING IN PHOENIX? “He’s very, very energized right now and he’s with a race team that’s very energized. That very excited group that are fun to go to the race track with and I think he’s really enjoying life right now. It’s in the beginning. We’ve got four races down and a lot to go and we’re continuing to grow and work together and be stronger as we get more races under our belt.”
DO YOU THINK THE TWO TEAMS TOGETHER ARE STRONGER THAN THE TWO TEAMS LAST YEAR? “I think that’s yet to be seen but it certainly is our goal. We made every effort possible last year to make it the super team and we didn’t succeed at that and we’ll make those same efforts this year to do it and hopefully we will do a better job of that.”
HOW DOES IT BEING A 400-MILE RACE AS OPPOSED TO 500 CHANGE THE CHALLENGE FOR THE TEAM? “You know I don’t think it’s a big enough change in distance to really have that kind of impact. I’ve always said that after the first lap its only so many to go, so if it’s a shorter race or a longer race you start your strategy after you get the first one behind you. You start counting down from there and basing your strategy off of what’s left in the race. I think 400 miles is still a long enough race that it doesn’t really change things that much for us.”
WE SAW A MORE INTERESTING RACE LAST TIME WE WERE HERE, TALK ABOUT WHAT YOU THINK IS INTERESTING ABOUT THIS RACE TRACK, THIS RACE. “It’s just a spectacular race track and it’s just got great ability to have multiple grooves. It’s wide like Michigan and usable. Sometimes race tracks are wide and not usable and every inch of this race track is usable and it makes for great racing.”
WHAT DO YOU THINK BURTON AND BIFFLE ARE THINKING RIGHT NOW AS FAR BACK AS THEY ARE? “They’re disappointed. Everyone is that’s back there, whoever is back there is always disappointed. They’re disappointed and they’re going every week is a new week and they’re going to every race with the mindset of having a great race and hopefully getting a win. If so they will start to march back toward the front. That’s what you really focus on. That’s the down side to points racing. It’s just one day in a whole lifetime. A bad race, that’s all it is, just one day in a whole life time but when you’re points racing its everything. That’s why it’s fun to go racing when you are not racing for points because you can race hard and if you have a bad day you just prepare for the next week. If you are points racing, you do the same thing you just prepare for the next week but you carry that burden around of how bad it was to have a bad week last week for a long time until you dig yourself up out of that hole.”
SPEAKING OF NEXT WEEK, WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO BE SUCCESSFUL AT MARTINSVILLE? “The same as everywhere else, good engine, good handling, good crew, good brakes, fast through the corners. The only difference is the brakes are a really important there and they are not at most places we race so that’s a
-source: team chevy