Martin - Thursday media visit

Texas

Mark Martin, Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet
Mark Martin, Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet

Photo by: Action Sports Photography

MARK MARTIN, NO. 5 GODADDY.COM CHEVROLET met with members of the media at Texas Motor Speedway and discussed racing at Texas Motor Speedway, superspeedways and other topics.

DOES YOUR KNOWLEDGE OF BUILDING RACE CARS HELP YOU WITH TODAY’S NEW TECHNOLOGY IN THE RACE CARS?: “It matters a whole lot less now.”

IS IT MORE FEEL TO THE RACE CAR?: “There’s so many layers of information and technology and people that work specifically on areas instead of one guy that works it all from the aero to the shock to the setup to the spring and the whole thing. You have all that stuff and all the simulation and everything and it is critical that you give good feedback about what you feel in the race car and what you need to help you go better. That’s what’s critical. Before, years ago, you told them specifically -- raise the panhard bar, put a rubber in the right rear, stop in the right front, needs a smaller bar. You don’t do that anymore and you can’t do that anymore. Crew chiefs can’t do that anymore without the boxes and the engineer -- there’s a lot of layers to it.”

HOW CHALLENGING WILL IT BE TO ADJUST FOR THIS NIGHT RACE WITH DAY PRACTICES?: “It’s been dark before when we’ve finished this race -- multiple time and really dark before. It is what it is -- the same for all of us. I’m glad we’re racing on Saturday night myself. We will have Sunday off and that will be great.”

WHO IS THE BEST CLOSER IN THE CUP SERIES RIGHT NOW?: “Hard to go against Jimmie (Johnson) and Chad (Knaus, Johnson crew chief).”

WHY THEM?: “Results. They’re past results. It would be hard to go against those guys.”

WOULD YOU RATHER HAVE LUCK OR HORSEPOWER AT TALLADEGA?: “Everybody’s got horsepower. I want some luck.”

IN A SHORT PHRASE, DESCRIBE TALLADEGA: “Big.”

WHAT IS THE TECHNIQUE TO RACING AT TEXAS MOTOR SPEEDWAY?: “I think of this place as Texas -- it has its own personality. It is fast and it’s flat for as fast as it is. It doesn’t have a lot of banking in relation to the speed that you’re able to make around it. It’s amazing. It’s a great place to race. The location as well as the facility. They put a lot of money into this place and I think it represents our sport well.”

CAN YOU FEEL THE SPEED AT TEXAS?: “It’s the same as Martinsville. You’re almost a wreck at Martinsville and you’re almost a wreck here. If you’re not almost a wreck then you’re not driving fast enough. The miles an hour isn’t what scares you, it’s the loss of control.”

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN WINNING AND RUNNING 20TH WITH THE CURRENT COMPETITION? “Very little really. There’s a little bit in speed and a little bit in track position, but the cars are relatively close nowadays. You squeeze every ounce of time out of every single component in the whole sport. You can’t leave anything alone. You’ve got to squeeze every bit of it from pit road speed to pit stops to restarts to handling and everything.”

HOW WOULD YOU RATE WHERE YOU ARE RIGHT NOW IN THE SEASON?: “I think that our race team is really strong. I feel like we’re doing some really great work in the garage sorting through our race cars and getting the race cars fast. We’ve been pretty darn fast the last three races. Where we are right now, we still have a little bit of room to improve on speed, but the communication is outstanding. I really think that it wouldn’t take hardly anything for us -- we haven’t had a better finish than we ran in these last three races. We’ve had a worse finish than we ran, but not a better. If we hit a spell where we get some better finishes than we run and we run as good as we’re running right now --we’re a top-five in that category. Hopefully, we can continue to build strength to where we can run there and not have to have a good day to get that.”

I feel like I know what we’ve got, which is a pretty doggone solid speed race car.

Mark Martin

IS THERE A TIME OF YEAR WHERE YOU FEEL YOU HAVE WHAT YOU’VE GOT?: “I feel like I know what we’ve got, which is a pretty doggone solid speed race car. Terrific communication and lots of opportunity -- we just have to hit on something that I really, really like in the race car and if we do that, where we are right now if we do that -- we’ll be strong, really strong.”

WHAT DO YOU THINK WE’LL SEE IN QUALIFYING AT TEXAS?: “I have no idea -- hadn’t even thought about qualifying. We have a bunch of practice and race setup stuff to do. Qualifying hasn’t really made an impression on my mind. It is what it is -- we’ll get ready to do it when the time comes. Not time to be contemplating that right now. We’re really contemplating race setup.”

HOW IMPORTANT ARE THE PRACTICES AT TEXAS?: “It’s a tough schedule to be honest with you. I don’t know why we’re even practicing today. We should do the whole thing tomorrow. We’re doing the best that we can to try to maximize the practices and the short set of tires -- I don’t really like the one less set of tires to get ready to race on. It doesn’t give us enough and for all that we spend -- one set of tires per race is not very much. It would make it a lot less difficult on the teams and a lot less guesswork. We’ll try to maximize the practice and the sets of tires that we have for the whole thing.”

DO YOU PREFER DAYTONA OR TALLADEGA AND WHY?: “No.”

IN THE TWO-CAR DRAFT, WOULD YOU RATHER BE THE PUSHER OR THE LEAD CAR?: “Well, I don’t care. As long as we’re going fast.”

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN BEING THE PUSHER AND BEING THE LEAD CAR?: “You can’t see where you’re going if you’re the pusher. If you’re in front, sometimes you wish you couldn’t see where you were going.

“Sometimes you run up on stuff -- it’s pretty tough on you sometimes when you’re running up traffic and you have a guy pushing you that doesn’t really see that. It’s something else. It’s about equal either way.”

DO YOU HAVE TO REALLY TRUST YOUR DRAFTING PARTNER?: “We have to trust each other -- we have to. Like them or not, you have to.”

IS THERE A TRACK YOU HATE GOING TO?: “I can’t answer that one for you.”

HAVE YOU HAD A BETTER CAR THAN WHERE YOU’VE FINISHED?: “I didn’t really say that. I just said that we haven’t finished better than we ran yet. Which you knew and some days you finish worse than you run. We finished worse than we ran in California. Certainly at Bristol and Martinsville we didn’t finish better than we ran. I’m not complaining about our finishes. I’m just saying that we’ve had a pretty fast car the last three races is what I was saying. My point being that and the difference between finishing 10th at Martinsville and fifth is nearly nothing. That’s all I was saying. I don’t know what you were getting at -- that’s all I was saying.”

Mark Martin, Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet with Rick Hendrick
Mark Martin, Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet with Rick Hendrick

Photo by: Eric Gilbert

DO YOU LIKE THE ATTITUDE OF YOUR TEAM?: “We’re good. We finished poor in California because of the speed and we lost three spots at the end of Martinsville because of me -- not because of them or not because of the car. I would say that I didn’t get on it just right in either of those occasions and we had fast race cars and I think we’ve had good, strong finishes this year. We finished well wrecked three times this year. Took wrecked race cars and finished well. I think this race team is strong and solid. They definitely have thick skin. They went through what they went through the last couple years and they’ve got thick skin. Certainly, I am their cheerleader, but it’s not really necessary. They don’t need that specifically. What we need is to have a day where when I go this way, it turns out to be the right way. When I go this way, it turns out to not be the right way. That’s what I was saying, that’s what I meant about those finishes. It’s more like on the last shuffle, if everything went right then it could look different with the kind of speed that we’ve had in our race car, which has got to get better yet, but it really coming. The last three races, I’ve been really pleased with. I think we’ll continue to get better, stronger as we learn what really is working for me with this tire and this nose and everything always changing. I’m still looking for that thing that sets me on fire that I really like. Once we get onto that then we’ll be stronger every week.”

IS THAT SOMETHING DIFFERENT FOR ALL YOUR TEAMMATES?: “It’s a little different. It’s a little different.”

HOW DOES BEING CALMER HELP YOU TO GET BETTER RESULTS?: “You must see more of that then I do -- I don’t see much of that which you just described as far as people messing up the closing deals. When you have a restart at the end of the race, for example, and you choose to do something, what everybody else does determines if that was the right thing or the wrong thing. Not what you chose to do -- what they chose to do made it right or wrong. I see racing happening where things turn out to work good and things turn out to not work in their favor -- whoever it is.”

HOW MUCH DOES YOUR MIND WORK ON YOU IF YOU ARE UPSET IN THE RACE CAR?: “You can hinder yourself and your team if you get too frustrated. That’s obvious. Most of the time most of the guys get composed fairly quickly. Some of the time it takes longer. It takes longer, it’s harder to recover in that race run.”

DOES AGE AND MATURITY MAKE THE RECOVERY ANY QUICKER?: “It can in general, but not in every situation. It can in general. You can take an old guy and put him in a situation and have him go bad and it be as frustrating as a young guy who was in a situation who has never experienced a win and had it go bad. In general, maturity helps you with all those kind of things. There can still be exceptions to the rule. In general maturity helps, time helps.”

HAVE YOU GOTTEN MAD LATELY?; “I haven’t gotten mad enough to throw everything away.”

WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE GUYS THAT HAVE TO VENT ON THE RADIO?: “Most of the guys recover from that fairly quickly. I have been one. I’ve done the same thing. Less now than when I was younger, but it still happens. Most of the time the recovery is within a short -- these races are long. There’s enough time to get over it and get back to business.”

-source: team chevy

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Series NASCAR-CUP
Tags chevrolet, martin, sprint cup, texas