Darlington: Martin - Friday media visit

Mark Martin, No. 01 U.S. Army Impala SS met with members of the media at Darlington Speedway to discuss racing at Darlington, Dale Earnhardt, Jr.'s decision to leave DEI and other subjects. ON RACING AT DARLINGTON: "I have had some good time...

Mark Martin, No. 01 U.S. Army Impala SS met with members of the media at Darlington Speedway to discuss racing at Darlington, Dale Earnhardt, Jr.'s decision to leave DEI and other subjects.

ON RACING AT DARLINGTON: "I have had some good time here. Kind of feels like old school here at least until we strap in to our Impala. It is really good to be here.

ON DRIVING FOR HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS IN THE BUSCH SERIES: "I don't think I can describe what he means to me to have the opportunity to drive a Hendrick car with the kind of effort with the kind of effort that goes in to it. This is not just a car, it is the No. 5 car, that was All Star Racing back in the mid-1980s. Harry Hyde and Rick Hendrick were just getting started and I was there. We have been friends and competitors ever since. It means a whole lot more to me than the casual fan probably realizes. Incredible people and I get a chance to work with more people that I am a fan of. A lot of Saturdays and Sundays I watch as a fan, I watch them work and admire."

ON WHAT IT MEANT TO WIN THE ALL STAR RACE AT CHARLOTTE: "The first time I won was so much fun. Jeff ran out of gas on the white flag lap and I was running second. We didn't know we were going to win until it was almost over. It was such a big surprise. Winning in 2005 was an incredible accomplishment for all of us. It was one of those nights when we didn't have the best car. Usually every move I make is the wrong move, but that night it all lined up. Bu that night, every time I did something, it was the right move and we wound up in the front. It was a really exciting race to win especially when you feel like you have something to do with it."

ON DALE JUNIOR ANNOUNCEMENT HE IS LEAVING DEI: "I probably have the same as thoughts that most fans do. Disappointed that he wasn't able to work things out at to continue on at DEI. But Dale Junior is one of the strongest men in this sport. He is the man in NASCAR and he needs to do what is right for him. I am going to watch with excitement and enthusiasm. He is a tremendous leader and do great wherever he lands and dominos are going to fall.

"I think that anybody in the garage would be thrilled with the opportunity to have Dale Junior and certainly, I think I can speak with Bobby Ginn and Jay Frye, we would certainly like to talk to him."

ON WHAT A DRIVER FACES AFTER MAKING AN ANNOUCEMENT IS LEAVING A TEAM AND THERE ARE MANY RACES YET TO RUN: "75 percent of the time, it doesn't have any affect. Everyone there respects one another and will continue to dig deep to win every race. That is why they race, that is why they are in this business. 25% percent of the time the chemistry goes bad. It probably wasn't good in the first place otherwise the driver wouldn't be leaving, so there was already stress there and that makes the stress worse. Then you can't get the job done together because of the feelings and emotions. There are times when that does happen but for the most part, it doesn't affect the performance of the team usually."

ON REPAVING DARLINGTON: "It changes every time we come here. It really wasn't that long ago when they repaved this place. It was a different Darlington when they repaved it; a set of tires lasted a fuel run and were just as fast at the end as they were at the beginning. The asphalt they use in this area just deteriorates really fast and it won't be long after they repave it again, we will be back to the same old Darlington."

ON STANDINGS IN POINTS DESPITE RUNNING A PART TIME NNCS SCHEDULE: "No, I didn't have any idea we would be this high in the points when we announced this schedule because it is of no interest to me so I didn't have any idea we would be here."

THOUGHTS ON CAR OF TOMORROW TO THIS POINT: "It is going to perform terrible here at Darlington. We haven't run a big track with it yet. Theoretically it is going to be worse on a big track than on a small track on the aero side. It may mechanically not be quite as crippled. Short tracks are almost pure mechanical things while big tracks are much more aero things. The aero on them isn't great and the mechanical on them certainly is not good. Mechanically the cars can be so much better, if they had put that splitter seven inches instead of four inches so that we have front suspension. I don't really have any major problems with the wing, the size of the greenhouse for that additional safety or even the additional weight that is on the right side. Those are all small issues that we as teams can deal with without any major stress. Trying to limit the front suspension to 50% of what we have been using, is a real problem for all of us. And the guys that have got it best have the least problems but it is still where the challenge is in the COT is the front suspension. Possibly front down force, but I think if we had front suspension in these cars, we wouldn't be screaming like we are."

"I feel like we have a long way to do. We are not prepared to go make that progress because of the growth of this organization; we are doing all we can do. Right now, immediately we are not prepared as an organization to do any major development on the COT. We have got what we have got and we are going to work on making it better each race, but that is going to be a slow process, a very slow process and that is where we are right now. A spectacular group of people in a spectacular organization that is in a growth phase, who in my opinion, have spectacular versions of the previous cars. The COT we haven't been in a position to develop the car and we have more work in front of us than we can take care of in the next few weeks. It is going to take a good long while for us.

"That the car is just more of a driver's car is just something people are saying. You take the old race cars and you cut the spoilers off of them and then it is in the hands of the drivers. This is the other way. They took the front spoiler off of it, left a big back spoiler on it and it is all about the car and technical. You want to see who can drive, take the wing off that thing. Or cut the spoiler off the old car. Then the driver will have to step up and really really drive. These cars won't turn. No driver in the world can help that. If they are spinning out, then the most skillful drivers will hold on to the car and go faster. You asked my opinion; I will tell you that is my opinion. I think we are at the mercy of the car more right now, today with the COT than with the other car. "

-credit: gm racing

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Mark Martin