MARK MARTIN, NO. 5 GODADDY.COM CHEVROLET, met with members of the media and discussed his thoughts on 2011 and '12, Joey Logano, the state of the racing today, road course racing, and more. TALK ABOUT COMING BACK TO A TRACK WHERE YOUR DEFENDING...
MARK MARTIN, NO. 5 GODADDY.COM CHEVROLET, met with members of the media and discussed his thoughts on 2011 and '12, Joey Logano, the state of the racing today, road course racing, and more.
TALK ABOUT COMING BACK TO A TRACK WHERE YOUR DEFENDING RACE CHAMPION: "We've always loved this race track and definitely ran strong both races last year here. I look forward to going to the race track every week with this group. Every week is a new challenge and we are ready to get started."
DOES IT BOTHER YOU THAT THE MEDIA SEEMS TO THINK YOU WON'T BE IN THE NO. 5 CHEVROLET NEXT YEAR WHEN YOU HAVE REPEATEDLY SAID YOU WOULD BE AND HAVE YOU HAD A CHANCE OF HEART ABOUT OWNERSHIP IN 2012 AND YOUR SCHEDULE? "I'm not letting it bother me, but, last year, I would say that I checked on what was going on in the racing world every single day and I've stopped doing that. It has affected me to some degree. I'm watching less of it on TV and reading less of it on the internet as of right now. I have to say that options are in the beginning stages of formulating for what '12 would bring with not a very high sense of urgency since I've actually made it clear that I'm going to be driving the No. 5 car next year. It is still real early to talk about '12 and I don't think that anything that we had initially had kind of thrown up in the air works great with me driving the No. 5 car in '11 and me getting involved in some other way with some other team. Although, you never know what might happen.
"For the time being, I've kind of said let's just wait until this time next year. I'll have a more a more clear picture but very well may not have a decision. I'm going to drive something in 2012, it will be what excites me and what motivates me and seems like fun and that may be a team that needs to take a step, or who knows. It might be another deal like the No. 5 car, who knows. I can't say. I've already answered questions before and then looked like a goose so I'm going to be careful and not answer question of what I think I might like to do or whatever because you don't really get to chose these options. They come up and when one comes up and you say, 'Yea, by the way, I think I like that one', that is what I am going to do."
IT IS THE TWO YEAR ANNIVERSARY OF DALE, JR.'S LAST WIN, YOU ARE CLOSE TO THE SITUATION, WHAT IS GOING ON THERE? "It is really, really hard to win in this series, no matter how well you run. Just look at how well Jeff Gordon has run the first half of the season without getting a win. It is just amazing. I think it's underestimated by so many people how difficult it is to win these races and how little things interrupt. They have run good enough to win some races last year and they've run well in some races this year, many of them have been foiled by one little issue here, one little issue there. They are dug in and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. is driving, in my eyes, he's driving harder than any race car driver out there. I can see it clear as day how bad he wants it when I'm on the race track with him. All the stars just haven't lined up to work out yet."
DO YOU FEEL LIKE JOEY LOGANO HAS THE REPUTATION OF BEING TOO GIVING ON THE RACE TRACK AND NEEDED TO KIND OF SHOW A LITTLE MORE MUSCLE AND DID ANYTHING AT THE END OF LAST WEEK'S RACE SURPRISE YOU? "No, on the first question which is he too giving. He is certainly not. He's a firm, hard competitor that races fair with great intensity. It is unfortunate that he has had multiple run-ins with a couple of different drivers. I'm not sure exactly why that has happened. But, as far as after the race goes, I was surprised to see his ferocity. I loved seeing Tom Logano's reaction and I'm a Dad. And anybody who would criticize that, a lot of them aren't Dads. I have a son that competed, not only in racing, but in hockey too. Heck, I stood up one day, yelled at him, hit him with his stick when he was playing hockey and a kid's dad was standing to me and I didn't care. So, I'm a Dad and I am a Tom Logano fan as well."
ON THE GREEN-WHITE-CHECKERED, LAST WEEK IT WAS 20-SOME LAPS TO GO AND THE RACING WAS SO INTENSE; HOW MUCH MORE INTENSE CAN IT GET? "I think that the finish of the race at Pocono, I'm just going to use rough numbers, we see stuff like that one in every four races today. I think in five years, we'll see one in every other race like that. And in 10 years, every race will be like that. That's where this sport is headed. And that's what we're going to do. When you put that many cars on the lead lap, you're always going to have cautions at the end of these races because we're going to run over one another and once we start that, then it's going to continue until they get the checkered flag out. I think what's most important is the spectator's point of view."
LOOKING AHEAD TO SONOMA, CAN YOU EXPLAIN WHAT MAKES A GOOD ROAD COURSE DRIVER? IS IT EASIER FOR SOME THAN OTHERS TO TRANSITION TO ROAD COURSES? "It is and I'm not sure why that is. Some guys do better on flat tracks. Some guys do better on banked tracks. Some guys do better on short tracks or long tracks. I don't know why it suits them that way but that seems to be the deal. For me, road racing always was easy because I grew up driving country roads in Arkansas and country dirt roads and my object was to drive as fast as I could and stay out of the ditch, which is exactly what road racing is. So, it just kind of came naturally to me. But the last couple of road courses I've run it didn't look like I knew how to do it. So, who knows?"
I'M A DAD TO AND I KNOW WHAT IT MEANS TO WANT YOUR SON TO STAND UP FOR HIMSELF. IN CERTAIN REGARDS, IS THAT WHAT WE SAW JOEY LOGANO DO LAST WEEK TO STAND UP FOR HIMSELF? AND IS IT POSSIBLE TO WIN RESPECT IN THIS SERIES WITHOUT STEPPING ON SOMEBODY'S TOES? "Well, if you want my guess, my guess is the rub with (Kevin) Harvick and the rub with (Greg) Biffle came from Joey racing really hard, not really easy. The rub came from Joey racing really, really, really hard and him being the new face at doing that, tends to get your attention. And it might even irritate you because I've had Joey race around me and run so good that I was irritated because Joey Logano shouldn't be able to run side-by-side with me for 10 laps. You know what I'm saying? So, I think the media needs to make sure they get their arms around that and understand that Joey hasn't been driving soft on the race track and then all of a sudden got run over. Joey's been racing hard on the race track. And eventually he will earn everyone's respect. He has earned my respect by racing hard and causing very little problem. Don't forget, most of the guys that come in here and are new at it and race really hard cause a lot of problems. Accidently; they don't mean to. But they do. And Joey is not. That's something to keep in mind as well. He is earning everyone's respect. It does take time, unfortunately, even for someone as bright as Joey Logano. It still takes him time to build that respect."
ON TONY STEWART'S COMMENT FOLLOWING RACE AT POCONO LAST WEEK THAT IT WAS SOME OF THE WORST RACING HE'D SEEN IN HIS CAREER. DO YOU AGREE? "I think racing has changed. Tony Stewart is one of my favorite people. And he told you what he thought and what he felt. The racing is changing. Years ago it didn't used to be that way. But it is this way today. Pocono lends itself to being one of the ones that would be more prominent for those kinds of moves and decisions and things. And you will certainly see more of that in the future; not less. And in some ways I'm glad I'm 51 and not 31 because I'm going to enjoy watching these things in the future instead of dragging them in on the hook."
IF YOU WERE KEVIN HARVICK, WOULD YOU THINK THAT JOEY LOGANO IS GOING TO GIVE YOU A SHOT BEFORE THE SEASON IS OVER? "If I was Kevin Harvick and I didn't know Joey Logano, I would say yes. I think Joey Logano still has enough integrity to continue to try to make that right and make that work without doing it. But I might be wrong. I'm not Joey. But if I'm Harvick, yeah, I'm going to figure out I've got one coming."
ON HOW RACING HAS CHANGED, IS IT SIMPLY OVER THE LAST YEAR YOU'RE SEEING WHAT YOU CALLED A DRAMATIC SHIFT? OR WHY ARE YOU SEEING THAT AND WHAT ARE YOU SEEING MORE OF NOW THAN THREE OR FOUR YEARS AGO? "This movement has been gaining momentum but when, through race cars getting more and more equal in speed and the field getting more and more equal in speed, more numbers of cars, same speed, more cars on the lead lap, now with that wave-around rule that really increases. And the double-file restart on top of that really magnifies it. So track position becomes ever more important and you can steal those spots by making a wild and crazy move that works inside the last 10 laps, you're going to see more of it. That's the future of our racing; that's where it's headed."
QUESTION INAUDIBLE "I don't think so because if you're coming in today you're going to adapt to whatever is needed as you did five years ago or as you did 25 years ago. Twenty-five years ago you needed not to wreck a car because if you wrecked very many, you would get fired. Now, it's different. So you had to drive a certain way and adapt to those circumstances 25 years ago or five years ago or today. And that's one thing that I will say that I've managed to do fairly well. And I'm going to fall right in there with them, you know? This is what we're doing today and I plan to be relevant."
-source: gm racing