MARK MARTIN, NO. 5 GODADDY.COM CHEVROLET met with members of the media at Phoenix International Raceway and discussed racing at Phoenix, the Daytona 500 champions and other topics.
DO YOU LOVE RACING AT PHOENIX?: "I do love it and it's really good to be here. Excited about the weekend and just getting to work. Can't wait to get out on the race track and start working with my team and get back in the swing of things. Looking forward to it."
HOW DIFFERENT IS IT TO COME TO PHOENIX AFTER LEAVING DAYTONA?: "Well, it's cool coming here. It's cool going to California too, but this feels normal. It feels a little different, but it's a good place to start the season off with a restrictor plate race behind you. We have 34 events in front of us that all relate somewhat to this and only three more events this year that relate to what we just did last week. This is the beginning of the meat of the season. This is a great race track for racing. I remember from the first time that we came out here to race in '88, it's always been met with such great enthusiasm from the fans and it has through the years just always been a good race track to race on. A great facility and met with a lot of enthusiasm from the fans here."
DO YOU VIEW GETTING OUT OF DAYTONA WITH A TOP-10 AS DODGING A BULLET AND HOW COMFORTABLE ARE YOU WITH LANCE MCGREW?: "We dodged a bullet at Daytona for sure because I was in that first wreck and damaged the car and got three laps down. To get a top-10 is pretty incredible. We were eighth with the next to the last restart and we didn't get very far and they had another restart and we were in fourth. We had come from three down and thought anything can happen here and it did. But it didn't happen for the good, we lost some spots there on that last restart. We still felt like it was a great day even though we got teased with a chance there at the end. We still view it as a great day. Great recovery, great team effort, incredible display of team effort. I feel comfortable with Lance (McGrew, crew chief). We will learn more and more as we go forward, but I'm comfortable and excited. The enthusiasm within the team is really high. It feels good to walk into my garage and be around my guys. That's half of it right there. I'm anxious to get into the meat of the season here."
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON 'TREVORMANIA' THIS WEEK?: "I think it's great. I'm one of his bigger fans. I think it's really great, but for me, it is overshadowed by how great it is for the Wood Brothers. To me, it's much greater for the Wood Brothers than it is Trevor Bayne. Trevor is a really fine young man and I am so proud for the sport that I love so much to have him represent our Daytona 500 champion. That being said, to me, having the Wood Brothers win is a bigger deal. Trevor will win many more races. I was in the grandstand in '76 when that car painted that way won that race. That means a lot to me and it means a lot to me to see them win because we're not talking about a few years of history in NASCAR. We're talking about 50-range. One of the very few that have been around for that kind of -- the Woods and Petty's -- are important to our sport. Put it this way -- they're important to me. They are very important to me. That was huge. That was very, very cool and I'm still giddy over it. I would have liked to have won the race myself, but I couldn't possibly be more happy for any other situation than to have the Woods celebrating and driver-wise, we're represented very well by Trevor Bayne."
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE THE OVERALL ENTHUSIASM AT HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS?: "That's hard for me to answer. I'll know more about that this evening after our debrief and I think the teams will too. They will certainly rebound from that quickly, especially if they go out today and have fast race cars. This evening, after the last practice we'll have our debrief and we'll see whose got smiley faces and who may have a long face -- I don't know. Right now, I think everybody is still optimistic about what we're doing. We have a great, great plan. We're looking at all different areas through with the four teams as far as what's going to work the best and we're going to be sort of looking at different avenues for setup stuff through the first several races. Then eventually probably migrate toward all the pieces that seem to be working the best. We have a good plan for today."
ARE YOU SURPRISED AT THE FAME TREVOR BAYNE HAS SEEN THIS WEEK?: "One of NASCAR's biggest initiatives for 2011 was go to after the kids, the young people -- it's perfect, just perfect. We're talking about the Daytona 500 champion. What's not big news about that? Second Cup race, first 500 -- there's plenty to make a big deal out of. You're sure not going to get me to say there ain't no big deal here. It's a big deal. It's good for our sport. No, I'm not surprised. It is a big story -- it is a big story, big story."
HOW ARE THINGS DIFFERENT AT HENDRICK THIS YEAR AND ARE THINGS DIFFERENT WITH JEFF GORDON THIS YEAR?: "We're just getting started so I could answer that question better six or eight races down the line I think -- you should ask me that again. So far it hasn't changed. Jeff (Gordon) has been very, very good to me and very respectful and seems to be genuinely excited about everything -- the way it's setup now. We will work slightly closer together than we did before, but mostly the difference will be that the 5 team group and the 24 team group will work closer together than they did. That's really where the difference will be is more in the shop, in the manufacturing of the body, the cars and those kind of things. They will work a little closer together where before it was the 5 and 88, now it's the 5 and the 24. That's where you really see it. Jeff and I have a great relationship and we may work slightly closer together, but it won't be dramatic because we worked fairly closely together anyway. It will mostly be in the shop."
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE UPCOMING REPAVE AT PHOENIX?: "I'm really excited about it on one hand and on the other hand I think it's great now. Anything new is exciting. We'll have to wait and see. They're plans are to make it even better. I think we'll find out here in several months just how it turns out. It's exciting, it's a change."
WHAT HAPPENED AT THE END OF THE DAYTONA 500?: "We broke apart. We were a little slow getting attached. It took a little longer in bumping him forward. While we were trying to do that, Kurt (Busch) got in between us and that still wasn't death to our challenge, but as we started to exit turn two for reasons that we can't determine right now, those things break apart when other cars are around and we broke apart and Tony (Stewart) didn't immediately know it. So by the time he realized it, we were far enough apart that it was too late now. Our chance was over. It was just a matter or circumstances, racing. We can't control all that stuff. I thought we had an excellent, excellent shot at it, but as it turned out we didn't get the run that we hoped we would and the wind from the other cars broke us apart. It wouldn't have been any big deal if we would have had five laps, but we only had a lap and a half left and we were broke well apart -- four or five or six car lengths. At that time, then Bill Elliott picked me up and so I couldn't pick Tony up. I had to go with what I had going. Just what happened."
IS IT HARD TO BECOME TEAMMATES WITH A DRIVER THAT WAS YOUR RIVAL A DECADE AGO?: "I think that Jack (Roush) and Ray Evernham were more budding that Jeff (Gordon) and Mark (Martin). Jeff and Mark were pretty much competitors and we were heated competitors, but we never had an issue one. The issues more came from inside the teams. It wasn't Jeff -- Jeff and I never had a problem, never. We have never had a problem on the race track. First of all, before that and after that, Jeff and I really respect one another and kind of like each other too. But really respect overrides it all and between really respecting each other and kind of liking each other, that kind of takes care of all that. You'll have your day, you'll have your scrapes and stuff. No, no problems."
HOW MANY RADIO CHANNELS DID YOU HAVE IN YOUR CAR AT DAYTONA?: "I had AJ (Allmendinger) and my teammates -- my three teammates and AJ. AJ had mine and I know Tony (Stewart) had mine and I don't know who else. I'm sure Jimmie (Johnson) had mine because he talked to me in practice once. I never talked to one of my teammates all day. I was on AJ's channel a good bit. AJ and I talked some, but I was on his radio so AJ's spotter spotted us both. In the race where Tony and I ran together, Tony got on my radio and my spotter spotted us both. That's how that worked, that's what we did. Hopefully this week everybody cleans the radios up. I don't think that's necessary going forward. I'm not sure it would be a good thing to be able to talk to a competitor of mine. I would be better off keeping that to myself or sharing it with my spotter and my crew chief."
DO YOU EXPECT TO SEE MORE BUDDYING AROUND IN THE FUTURE OR WAS THAT JUST A PRODUCT OF DAYTONA?: "I don't foresee hanging out with AJ (Allmendinger). I don't foresee going out to dinner with him, but I do like AJ and I'm a big fan of AJ's. AJ is the guy that I wanted to run with in the 500 because I knew that he would be loyal to me. I knew that I could count on him and that meant a lot to me. I also knew from experience on the race track that our cars worked well together. But I would have run with somebody I didn't like if it made me run better. I'm not sure how to answer your question. I don't think you have to be buddies to talk, you have to be in a position to help one another and then if you are for the day you're buddies. You make the best of whatever the situation is."
IS IT BETTER TO MAINTAIN THAT KILLER MENTALITY ON THE RACE TRACK?: "It's hard for me to say for sure. I only can tell you that I am very good friends with Jeff Burton and I'm really good friends with Matt Kenseth. But I have a high level of respect for a bunch of people that I'm not friends with. I don't consider them my friends, but I respect them and respect overrides all. The pecking order of respect is how I treat people and by the way, my friends are at the top of that respect list. There's some that I'm not friends with that are right up there beside them or probably tied with them. I treat people with the degree of respect that I have for them, not so much as if this is my hanging out buddy or not. I've only got a small handful of hanging out buddies and I don't know what the recipe for success is -- hate them all, friends with them all -- I can't tell you what the recipe is. It could be different for different people. Respect has always been king in my world."
-source: team chevy