This Week in Ford Racing - Mark Martin

This Week in Ford Racing January 28, 2003 Roush Racing visit Mark Martin interview Roush Racing had an outstanding year in 2002 with 10 wins and three drivers among the top 10 in the final NASCAR Winston Cup point standings. The four...

This Week in Ford Racing
January 28, 2003
Roush Racing visit

Mark Martin interview

Roush Racing had an outstanding year in 2002 with 10 wins and three drivers among the top 10 in the final NASCAR Winston Cup point standings. The four returning Roush drivers from last season - Jeff Burton, Kurt Busch, Mark Martin and Matt Kenseth - spoke about the coming year during last week's Charlotte media tour.

MARK MARTIN - No. 6 Viagra Taurus:

YOU SEEMED TO KEEP THE TITLE CHASE IN PERSPECTIVE LAST YEAR. WILL THAT BE YOUR APPROACH AGAIN THIS YEAR?

"I have to consistently explain to writers why my career is not in a crisis. My glass is very full. There probably is room in it for a couple of things that aren't in there yet, but it's very full. I've had a fantastic career and I'm very proud of it."

SOME RACERS, LIKE STERLING MARLIN, FEEL THEIR CAREER MIGHT NOT BE COMPLETE WITHOUT A CHAMPIONSHIP. "He doesn't have four IROC championships and 33 Winston Cup wins and 45 Busch wins and all that stuff, I guess. I would hate to think that my career would be a failure without that. The failure of my career is long past behind me. I don't think there's any jeopardy of my career being a failure. I don't feel that at all. I'm very, very proud of what I've been able to accomplish."

WHAT IS MATT'S PLAN FOR THE YEAR?

"He's gonna do the Bandalero and quarter midgets both. We haven't gotten a schedule together yet, but he's gonna be doing quite a bit of racing this summer while he's out of school. He won two track championships and a Florida state championship and a lot of races."

ARE YOU AMAZED AT HOW TALENTED THE YOUNG KIDS ARE THESE DAYS?

"It's unbelievable. They were probably talented like that 20 years ago, but they hadn't done it yet. They didn't have the opportunity for the experience. There are so many more who can start racing now at five, six, seven years old. It's amazing. I'm a fan. A lot of you guys criticized me for talking about this stuff two years ago, but now everybody is starting to get interested. I think it's exciting. I don't think that's anything that should be a knock against me. I'm a race fan first and foremost. I mean, I'm a race driver but it's not all about me. I love racing and I think it's real exciting to see the talent and see these kids coming along. They're gonna be the stars of the future."

WHAT OPENS UP OPPORTUNITIES FOR THE YOUNGER GUYS?

"Twenty years ago, if you were 22 years old and incredibly talented, you couldn't get in a winning Winston Cup car to save your life. It wouldn't happen. Now, you could bump a veteran right out of the seat if you were really good. That's a change in this sport."

WHY? "First of all, things just change. But the real reason is that there are more sponsors so any car can be a winning car now, not just the top six or seven. Those top six or seven were always manned by headliners - the guys that had been there forever - and you weren't getting them out. No one was gonna take a chance on anybody else because they didn't need to. They could go with Bobby Allison and Darrell Waltrip and Cale Yarborough. Why in the world would they put myself or Rusty Wallace or somebody like that in at that time. It's different now and Jeff Gordon is largely responsible for that change. The sponsors are probably the ones who take the biggest responsibility on that."

IS IT FOR DEMOGRAPHICS DO YOU THINK - THE 24 YEAR OLD?

"Well, it's just a case of what if that's the one? If they sign him and they've got him and he turns the whole world upside-down like Jeff Gordon did or like Kurt Busch is fixing to do, man, that's so much better than going along with a lukewarm situation for years. It's a gamble that they're taking that seems to be a risk worth taking today that wasn't worth taking in the past. With a sponsor, they could take a chance on somebody but if they don't get it done - sponsors were hard to have back then and the next thing you know, your deal is gone. You couldn't risk it 15 years ago like today and, first of all, it's hardly a risk. There's so much support in this sport that you can make it work. If you put the right people around someone who has talent, they know that you can get it done now, whereas, in the past, they didn't know that."

Jeff Burton
Kurt Busch
Matt Kenseth

-ford-

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About this article
Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jeff Burton , Jeff Gordon , Darrell Waltrip , Matt Kenseth , Rusty Wallace , Kurt Busch , Bobby Allison , Mark Martin