Atlanta II: Martin - Saturday media visit

MARK MARTIN, No. 5 CARQUEST/GODADDY.COM CHEVROLET, met with members of the media at Atlanta Motor Speedway to discuss racing to get into the Chase, his car this weekend, racing at Richmond, and more. HOW'S YOUR CAR? "The car for race setup we...

MARK MARTIN, No. 5 CARQUEST/GODADDY.COM CHEVROLET, met with members of the media at Atlanta Motor Speedway to discuss racing to get into the Chase, his car this weekend, racing at Richmond, and more.

HOW'S YOUR CAR? "The car for race setup we were pretty encouraged with it, we were pretty happy with it. We're trying a great deal of new stuff this weekend and we're interested in placing it in competition and seeing how it fares over the long haul. We were disappointed in our qualifying trim, but if you're only going to have one, you would hope to be encouraged with your race stuff. It's hard to say. Daytime, afternoon practice and racing tomorrow night--who knows? My race car was more comfortable than usual--you get a lot of long runs here--so that's good."

WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON YOUR POINTS POSITION RIGHT NOW? "I don't think about it a whole lot. We'd certainly like to be in; we'd certainly like to get in there. We will make our very best effort just as we have starting at Daytona in February. For me and I think for our whole team. Staying focused on upping our game and improving our performance working toward trying to get back in the form that we were in last year is our number one priority. Points tally up how they tally and if you achieve that performance then you score a lot more points. We're just working hard every week and every day, and we're making our best. We'll see how it comes out. There are two races to go, so we'll see how it comes out."

ARE YOU GOING TO HAVE ALAN [GUSTAFSON, CREW CHIEF] LET YOU KNOW THROUGHOUT THE RACE WHERE THOSE OTHER GUYS ARE? "No. No. We need to stay focused on our game; we're not in a position to even guard or what have you. Hopes don't do you any good if you start hoping that something is going to work out, or doesn't work out, or whatever. It's just best to stay focused on what you're doing and if we were to score more points this year we wouldn't be in this situation. That's the bottomline. You can't wait until two races to go and say, 'Oh, we gotta do this man!' We had to do this back in February and you have to start right then. We've got work to do and we are working. We have learned a whole lot; we still haven't made our racecars really fast, but we are a lot smarter than we were eight weeks ago. I'm really proud of what we have accomplished and we will continue to dig until we get it."

YOU SAID THAT YOU'RE TRYING SOME NEW THINGS OUT ON THE CAR THIS WEEKEND. IS THAT KIND OF HOW YOU GUYS DIG--DO YOU SHAKE THINGS UP AND TRY EVERY LAST EFFORT TO GET IN TO THE CHASE? "Well Alan [Gustafson, crew chief] really makes the calls on that kind of direction. We haven't specifically discussed it, but he told me today as we were working through our stuff that we've got a lot of new stuff on this racecar and I really want to see how it plays out in racing. With that being said, I think that we're on the same page. We need to work on some things that would give us better results than what we've been doing status quo. We're going to have to find new stuff. We've got to move into the next chapter of whatever is it of our setups and stuff, and find something that gives us better performance than where we've been."

HAVE YOU BEEN AROUND SO LONG THAT IT DOESN'T AFFECT YOU MUCH AS FAR AS BEING A NERVE-WRACKING SITUATION? "I'm not nervous like I was last year because last year I knew that if we could make the Chase, we could win it. We almost did [win it] and it would have been a crying shame if we would have missed the chase; it really would have. This year, it's a different story. If we do make the Chase based on where we're at right now, it will be a long shot to expect to be a contender to win the championship unless things were to just turn overnight. Rather than worrying about all that and worrying about points and everything else I'm focused on trying to help this race team, trying to be better myself and trying to help this race team climb the mountain."

IS RICHMOND THE KIND OF TRACK THAT YOU ENJOY AS A DRIVER? "It's a great race track. I think all the guys like racing there. We had good racecars there last year. Every race is a new race. We had three great racecars at Bristol; the first three times we raced Bristol in the 5 car were awesome and this last time was about as bad as I've ever been. You never know what you're going to get. Right now we're working as a whole organization to try to raise our game. I think we're all--when we hit it just right we have good strong results--but we don't have the kind of strength and stamina that we had as a group last year where you could just be ok and be competitive. If you're just ok right now, we're not there. We're not competitive and we need to raise the level of the performance of the whole group right now. That's part of the competition. It comes and goes like that. You're never on top all the time; although Hendrick seems to be on top most of the time."

-source: gm racing

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Series NASCAR Cup