MARK MARTIN, NO. 5 KELLOGG'S/CARQUEST IMPALA SS met with media and discussed the success of Hendrick Motorsports, the Richmond track, making the Chase and what that would mean, and more. WHAT'S THE PLAN FOR THIS WEEKEND? "Racing. We will just...
MARK MARTIN, NO. 5 KELLOGG'S/CARQUEST IMPALA SS met with media and discussed the success of Hendrick Motorsports, the Richmond track, making the Chase and what that would mean, and more.
WHAT'S THE PLAN FOR THIS WEEKEND? "Racing. We will just do our normal deal."
ON BEING AT ROUSH AND HENDRICK AND ANY DIFFERENCES IN THE TWO TEAMS, AND WHY HENDRICK IS SO SUCCESSFUL. "I haven't been there that long, so I'm not really an expert on that. I just see the right mix of people working together in the right areas. You know, it all comes down to people and if you didn't have great people and have them together in the right areas you don't get the maximum results. It appears that they have got really, really good people with great attitudes that all seem to be working in the right areas."
DO YOU THINK BECAUSE YOU HAVE BEEN AROUND SO LONG THAT IT MAKES IT MORE STRESSFUL LEADING INTO THE CHASE THAN IT WOULD BE IF YOU WERE A GUY THAT HADN'T HAD SO MANY YEARS HERE? "You know, I think every situation is different and for us I think probably you could be trying to make the Chase to try and save your season or you could be trying to make the Chase because you won four races and finished second twice and you know, and feel like you have a great shot at continuing a wonderful dream season and I think that is kind of where we are at."
SEEMS TO ME YOU WOULD DO BEST JUST FORGETTING ABOUT IT AND NOT LETTING ANYTHING CREEP IN YOUR HEAD AND KEEP DOING WHAT YOU HAVE DONE FOREVER. "Well, business this weekend is going to be the same as usual. No question about that. It's going to be the same. You know it's a great race, great fun place and I can't wait to do it and of course I will be glad when it's done and when it's over with."
DO YOU LIKE THIS TRACK? IS IT ONE OF YOUR FAVORITES? "Yes, it's definitely one of my favorite race tracks and its fun to race here and we've had a lot of good results so......."
WHO WOULD YOU SAY THE TEAM TO BEAT IN THE CHASE IS? "Uh............all of them. All it takes is just a ten-race roll to win that thing and everyone that gets in is capable of doing that."
HISTORICALLY THE GUY THAT HAS HAD THE NO. 1 SPOT AT THE BEGINNING HAS NOT HAD THAT MUCH SUCCESS. WHY IS THAT? "Because that doesn't really matter. It matters what you do in those ten races."
DO YOU FEEL YOU GUYS HAVE THE MOMENTUM GOING IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION ENOUGH TO PULL THAT OFF IF YOU GET IN? "I'm not ready to talk about any of that."
IF YOU ARE IN, HOW ARE YOU GOING TO SPEND YOUR SUNDAY? "It's going to take more than Sunday for me to recover. You know, I'm going to relax and take a deep breath and get all..............you know, clear my head and get ready to start getting things in order for the next ten weeks.
"It will require a little bit different approach than if you don't make it........for the next ten weeks in the things you do and the activities will be a little different. So for me I'm going to just chill out. I kind of feel like once you get in, the pressure is off till you get down to four to go again. That is the way I look at it."
DO YOU CLEAR YOUR CALENDAR SO YOU CAN CONCENTRATE ON WHAT LIES AHEAD IF YOU GET IN? "No the calendar gets worse if you get in.........much worse. So no that's not part of the thing. My calendar will be much worse if we make it."
IT'S NOT IN YOUR CONTROL? "I can't help those things and obligations that you have to meet. For me there is nothing extra-curricular on my calendar anyway, so we'll just kind of chill. Like I say it will be four races to go when I will talk to you about it. Till then, there is no sense in talking about it."
IN GENERAL, HOW MUCH CAN YOU RELY ON TEAMMATES TO HELP YOU OUT? "Depends on what we are talking about."
LIKE IN THE MIDDLE OF THE RACE, IF YOU NEED A POSITION? "Probably not much.......it will be unusual circumstances for that to work out and the thing that you really need to do is to have the performance that we typically have and have nothing go wrong, which we have no control over. So we just go do our race..........and this race is no different than last week's race. We had the performance and 500 miles was a long way to see if something was going to go wrong. And it didn't, so we got the same thing going here. We have to make sure we have a good car, make sure we have the performance, and we go run our race just like we do any other time."
IN YOUR CAREER, HOW HAVE TEAM ORDERS COME INTO PLAY AND HOW WOULD YOU REACT TO THAT? "I don't recall anything about team orders."
THOUGHTS ON THE MERGING OF YATES RACING AND RICHARD PETTY MOTORSPORTS "Really interesting. Lot of foggy details right now and a lot more of that will come but it's a big deal and it's pretty interesting and that is about as far as I can go with it yet."
DO YOU THINK THAT IT'S A MOVE THAT JACK ROUSH SAW NECESSARY SEEING WHAT HENDRICK AND STEWART-HAAS DID IN MOVING FORWARD WITH TEAMS AND TECHNOLOGY? "I see it being more about economics. That is what I see it being driven by........that's what I THINK it's being driven by. But I don't know..........I'm not inside those walls and I don't know what all goes on so I'm sure not an expert to make that assumption. For me looking at where we are right now it looks like a good move from an economic standpoint."
HOW DO YOU NOT LET YOURSELF GET WORKED UP ABOUT THE CHASE? "I don't know. I don't deal with that question in my head I guess. I don't know.......I am just focused on what we are going to do here.
"Do I wish it was midnight Saturday night? Kind of..........but I love racing too and we have to make sure we have good stuff and we do the right thing with it."
HOW TOUGH IS IT TO BE IN THIS POSITION GIVEN ALL THE SUCCESS YOU HAVE HAD THIS YEAR? "There's two ways to look at that. I could be frustrated and on the outside and not have a shot at it or I could be sitting where I am with good cars, and looking to make sure we have no issues tomorrow night which is better than being on the outside looking in.
"I certainly would like to be locked in and done with it and not having to race for it."
HOW SPECIAL HAS THIS YEAR BEEN FOR YOU TO RETIRE THEN UN-RETIRE AND HAVE THIS KIND OF SEASON? "I never retired, but this has been a dream come true. Really a dream season and I have had so much fun and been so happy. It's just been living a dream this year."
IS IT SURPRISING? "I'm surprised that it is as good as it is. You know I certainly wouldn't have let myself expect something on this level but you know - it's really been beyond my expectations."
YOU HAVE BEEN CLOSE TO WINNING THE POINTS TITLE BEFORE; DO YOU EVEN ALLOW YOURSELF TO THINK ABOUT WHAT IT WOULD MEAN LIKE TO WIN IT?
"There are two things to that. First of all......no I don't. And one of the reasons I don't is there is more to racing than points. I didn't start racing to score points. I started racing because it was fun, I love it, and I am pretty good at it, and eventually when I got wins.........that's what it's all about.
"So points are okay.......it's part of what we do, but that's not what we do."
ABOUT RACING WITH THE TEAM AND GUYS THAT YOU HAVE THIS YEAR, AND WHAT IT'S ALLOWED YOU TO DO THAT YOU HAVEN'T BEEN ABLE TO DO BEFORE. "I've just put a lot of the load on Alan Gustafson's shoulders and he carries it well."
ABOUT HOW CLOSE THE POINTS ARE IN THE CHASE AND GETTING IN THE CHASE AND IF IT'S WHAT THE DRIVER'S ENVISIONED WHEN IT CAME OUT. "I wasn't really thinking about this when they first came up with the Chase. It was a radical idea and hard to get your arms around, and after a while I saw that it was a great move."
IS THIS YOUR BEST CHANCE EVER TO WIN A CHAMPIONSHIP? "I didn't win one before so I guess that wasn't a very good chance. I don't know. What kind of question is that?"
YOU HAVE HAD GOOD CARS AND TEAMS IN THE PAST, AND JUST WONDERING IF WHAT YOU HAVE NOW IS BETTER THAN WHAT YOU HAD SAY IN 1998 OR 1990. "You can't answer that kind of question. If I had been luckier I would have won. So it didn't matter if my team would have been better. If I had more luck, I would have won. So I'm not prepared to talk about that."
-credit: gm racing