Mark Martin, driver of the No. 6 Viagra Taurus, will be entering his 17th NASCAR Nextel Cup season with car owner Jack Roush and Roush Racing. During that time, he has finished in the top 10 of the final point standings 13 times and has won 33 ...
Mark Martin, driver of the No. 6 Viagra Taurus, will be entering his 17th NASCAR Nextel Cup season with car owner Jack Roush and Roush Racing. During that time, he has finished in the top 10 of the final point standings 13 times and has won 33 races. Martin spoke about the season during the first day of testing for next month's Daytona 500.
MARK MARTIN - No. 6 Viagra Taurus
HOW DOES IT FEEL TO BE BACK AT IT? "It feels too soon, but it is a little earlier in the month than we usually start testing. Usually we're about a week later than this and it doesn't feel like the team had a lot of time to get ready. We're here testing, but you can get a lot done in a week especially the first week of January because the holidays are kind of slow. So it feels like, 'Wow, I can't believe we're here at the track again.' But I have a lot to look forward to this year. You don't see all of that the first day of Daytona testing, but I'm pretty excited about my team. We've had very little change here and have had some slight modifications that I'm really, really excited about. That should tune things up a little bit. I love Pat Tryson and I think the team does, too. I'm really optimistic about having Pat with us for the whole year."
YOU ONLY HAD THE LAST TWO RACES OF '03 WITH PAT AS YOUR CREW CHIEF. WHAT IS IT THAT YOU LIKE ABOUT HIM OR HIS STYLE? "I liked Pat before, but I was a little apprehensive about making the move because you never know for sure. He's very assertive and I liked the way the races went last year. I especially liked Homestead and the way things went there, but I've liked the way he's handled the shop and the team over the winter even more. That's what has really been the key for our enthusiasm coming into the year. We should have stronger cars than we had last year. That's what we all work for and that's what they work so hard for, so we're looking forward to it."
THE CAR IS A BIT NEW AND THE ENGINE HAS SOME NEW CYLINDER HEADS. WILL THAT HAVE ANY IMPACT? "In my opinion it's not really a new car because it's not a car that was developed with a clean sheet of paper. It's still the basic Taurus shape with some improvements in the front and the back and those improvements will have a slight effect on the performance, but it's not gonna turn the world upside down. The cylinder head is gonna have a slight performance enhancement, but it won't turn the world upside down. We as a team are the ones that have the real task at hand and that is to turn the world upside down with the sharper tools that we're given to go into 2004. The real challenge is us. It's not the tools that we're getting that's gonna make us run, it's what we do with them that is gonna make us run. I feel good about it. We've done some things at Roush Racing that we think are gonna be key to making better cars. We're always working on having better cars, better engines and better pit stops."
THERE HAS BEEN A LOT OF TALK THE LAST FEW WEEKS AND EVEN TODAY ABOUT A PROPOSED NEW POINT SYSTEM. HOW WOULD YOU FEEL IF THE TOP 10 WERE PART OF A PLAYOFF STYLE SYSTEM OVER THE FINAL 10 RACES OF THE SEASON? "My initial thought and reaction is that it's not good. It might be good for TV ratings or something like that, but I'm not very well educated about playoffs. I don't even know how a playoff works. Once I find out about it, maybe I'll be more sold on the program, but right now I'd hate to see it change. I will tell you this, the France family has brought this from the sand on the beach to what it is today and I'm not gonna second-guess them. I have my personal feelings and then I have the real world and the real world says they've brought the sport to this point and I'm not gonna criticize them for anything. Personally, though, I wish it wouldn't change."