MARK MARTIN, NO. 5 HENDRICKCARS.COM/GODADDY.COM CHEVROLET met with media and discussed fuel mileage races and situations, the upcoming Michigan race, the new spoiler, and more. Full Transcript: WE ARE NOW HALFWAY TO THE CUT-OFF TO THE CHASE. ...
MARK MARTIN, NO. 5 HENDRICKCARS.COM/GODADDY.COM CHEVROLET met with media and discussed fuel mileage races and situations, the upcoming Michigan race, the new spoiler, and more. Full Transcript:
WE ARE NOW HALFWAY TO THE CUT-OFF TO THE CHASE. CAN YOU GUYS ASSESS WHERE YOU ARE? "Well, we are sitting tenth I think. You know the good thing is that we are hoping to peak right at the right time. Certainly we have some work to do to be a contender and we are working really hard at that and we feel like we have made some progress recently and know that we have got some more work to do to be a contender."
EVERYBODY WANTS TO COMPARE WHERE YOU ARE THIS YEAR TO LAST YEAR. ARE YOU GUYS BETTER? AND IF SO, WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE? "We are not better against the competition, but we are better. We are just not better when we measure ourselves against the competition. We are functioning as a team much better. Alan (Gustafson, crew chief) and I are working together and understanding things much better and we are really, really a strong unit. But you know, the competition is always cyclical and we have had a lot of our competitors step it up........and they needed to......and now it's our turn. We need to now, to be a contender."
DOES IT HELP WITH THE MINDSET THAT ALL YOU REALLY NEED TO DO IS GET INTO THE CHASE AND THEN CAN WORRY ABOUT THE WINS? "It's okay, but you can't just wake up and make the Chase and then decide you are going to run good. That comes over a long period of time. Sometimes longer than others but certainly there is usually a great delay in results versus the effort that goes into trying to get back on top of the competition so that's what makes racing what it is. It never stays the same and it's always a moving target."
THIS IS A RACE THAT CAN EASILY TURN INTO A FUEL MILEAGE RACE. WHAT CAN YOU DO AS A DRIVER TO SAVE FUEL AND HOW EARLY IN THE RACE DO YOU START THINKING ABOUT IT? "Well the best way to get great fuel mileage is in the garage. At the shop and in the garage. The driver can maybe make a half a lap difference, or a lap difference if he has such a great race car that he can slow down. If you don't have a great race car, you can't slow down and therefore you can only make a very minor difference in fuel mileage so a lot is made of it and people don't really understand it so there is a lot of big deals made out of drivers and what they do and don't do, and you can do this and you can't do that. The bottom line is that if you have a rocket ship of a race car then you are going to be in a position to back off and not use as much fuel. And if you don't have a good car, then you are going to be painted into a box and that box is pretty much whatever mileage your engine package and tune-up package will give you and that is all you can do."
HOW EARLY IN THE RACE DO YOU START THINKING ABOUT FUEL MILEAGE? IS IT ONLY AT THE END? "I have thought about it throughout most of my years but we think about it less now and more toward the last two runs."
WITH MICHIGAN COMING UP, AND SPEAKING OF FUEL MILEAGE, HOW DO YOU PREPARE FOR IT AT THAT TRACK? "It's the same as everywhere else. If you make your car super-fast, then you are in position. We won at the first Michigan race last year because our car was so fast that I could slow down and still stay ahead of people. Therefore I was able to save enough gas to make it all the way. The second race, my car may not have been quite as good and I thought I slowed down plenty and I let people go by me and run off and leave me and I still ran out of gas. So I wasn't so smart the first time, and I was lucky and I wasn't so dumb the second time and I was unlucky I figured."
I WOULD THINK YOU GUYS WOULD THINK ABOUT IT MORE NOW WITH THE POTENTIAL OF THREE GREEN/WHITE/CHECKERED FINISHES? "The last couple of runs are when I start to think about it. Racing is a lot different even than it was two years ago. You have got wave-arounds, you have got this, you have got that. It's different so I don't know. All I can tell you is I don't think about it all that much until we get down to the last two runs and then it starts to rear its head and you really have to deal with it."
YOU MENTIONED PEAKING AT THE RIGHT TIME EARLIER. IS THAT SOMETHING YOU GUYS CAN ACTUALLY ATTEMPT? "You can hope for that and you can say the 48 has done that. And one thing is that they have shown that they can rise to the occasion. And there may be some good fortune or not so good fortune involved in that. Certainly I am not saying with them, but with someone else. We hope to be fortunate enough that all of our hard work and determination culminates all at one time where it's at the right time and it all works out. You can only hope and all you can do is work as hard as you can. You don't control the result nearly as much as you control the effort. So we are working on the effort."
TALK ABOUT CAR CONTROL ISSUES WITH THE SPOILERS FOR SOME DRIVERS AND TALK ABOUT THE SPOILER HERE "The spoiler hasn't changed that much or made that big of a difference. The car control issues......you must be talking about at Charlotte. That wasn't the spoiler. You would have had that either way; it's a function of the asphalt composition and the tire that has to be made to accommodate that asphalt. Makes it very much like that.........and Darlington, and Vegas. Those three are all very similar in that respect."
SO YOU DON'T EXPECT TO HAVE ANY DIFFERENT RACING WITH IT THAN THE WING LAST YEAR? "You get great racing just like you had last year and just like you are having again this year. That's all I'm seeing."
WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO BE SUCCESSFUL AT MICHIGAN OR TO RUN WELL THERE? "It's a huge corner and the straight-aways are long but everybody's got what they got under the hood and you can't make a big difference there. But you can certainly make a big difference about those big corners and so the opportunity is there for excelling. Maybe your car handles and you have lots of options of where to drive it on the race track and finding something that works for you."
YOU WERE WITH ROUSH RACING FOR MANY YEARS. WHAT DO YOU THINK IS GOING ON OVER THERE NOW WITH THEM NOT BEING ABLE TO PUT THE PIECES TOGETHER? "I think they are running great. I think they ran really good last week and I think they have been running much better all year and I think those guys are on track. You know, they have made a lot of progress from last year."
YOU SEE IMPROVEMENT? "Yes, every week on the race track I see one of them driving by me or more so I think they are running good and have made a lot of progress."
TALK ABOUT CAR OWNERSHIP. HAS YOUR TIME AT HENDRICK MADE YOU MORE INTERESTED IN OWNERSHIP? "I am not that interested in ownership. You know, I wouldn't make too big of a deal out of that. I am all set in 2011 and am driving the 5 car and about this time next year I will weigh out what the options are for me to do what is exciting and rewarding for me to do and I will pursue that but for now I know what I am going to do next year and I am open to anything that is fun, challenging and exciting in 2012 and on."
-source: gm racing