MARK MARTIN, NO. 5 CARQUEST/GODADDY.COM CHEVROLET met with media and discussed his views of Daytona and Talladega, taking his family to Europe, Hall of Fame nominees, and more. CAN YOU CLAIM DAYTONA TO BE YOUR HOME TRACK? "Yeah, I can. It's kind...
MARK MARTIN, NO. 5 CARQUEST/GODADDY.COM CHEVROLET met with media and discussed his views of Daytona and Talladega, taking his family to Europe, Hall of Fame nominees, and more.
CAN YOU CLAIM DAYTONA TO BE YOUR HOME TRACK? "Yeah, I can. It's kind of strange but certainly can do that. I've been here since 1994 so (wife) Arlene and I were just talking about that. It's been a long time. I've been down here a long time. Matt (son) was just a little bitty fella."
AS WILD AS TALLADEGA WAS BACK IN THE SPRING, COULD IT BE EVEN WILDER OR IS THE HANDLING FACTOR GOING TO SEPARATE THINGS OUT SO WE WON'T SEE ANYTHING SIMILAR? "Well, that's a really good question. It can't lend itself to quite the last Talladega because of exactly what you said. Wore-out pavement, bumpy, and that wore-out pavement by the way, I think every one of us is partial to it. And it is more narrow. So when we come back in February, it will lend itself more toward the last Talladega race but it's still going to be not quite as wide. So it's still going to be a little bit more hairy. This is going to be a blend, a nicer blend of handling and drafting and packs and it's going to be a nicer blend I think than Talladega. But the thing that I saw in February here that I was really surprised, we weren't able to separate ourselves like we had been in the past. We stayed packed up or locked on to one another even when it got almost down to one-two-three-four cars running together. We weren't able to shed one another like we had been in the past. So we may still have that. And that may have been a function of the tire being better or something, but we weren't able to shed these guys like I'd like to. I like to race Daytona where after a little while you can really do one-on-one racing and not rely quite as much on packs and pushes and those kinds of things. I don't think it's going to separate out that much even this time based on February. But it'll certainly be a nicer blend."
ON DALE EARNHARDT JR. RUNNING THE NO. 3 WRANGLER CHEVROLET IN THE NATIONWIDE SERIES THIS WEEKEND "I think it's really an awesome sight. I know that a lot of our fans weren't around during that era but a lot of them were, too. And for all the ones that were, they really get it. I certainly share the same feelings and it's good to see Junior in it and it's good to see it happening. So, I think it's met with really warm reception from everyone that was around in that era."
YOU'VE NEVER BEEN A FAN OF RESTRICTOR PLATE RACES, BUT DO YOU FAVOR DAYTONA OVER TALLADEGA? "Yes, without a question, yes."
AND THE NEW PAVEMENT WILL CHANGE THAT? "Yes. That will change that as well. But you know what's weird about that? I won twice at Talladega. So that's how ironic it is. But I do enjoy racing here more than Talladega because of what we just discussed about it being more of a blend of handling and a little bit more one-on-one kind of racing than just 100 percent total major chaotic pack whatever line you're in works or doesn't work and you don't always have a lot of input on the results the way the Talladega race goes today. And so with the new pavement, it will lend itself more toward that. It's still going to be Daytona. It's still going to be narrow. And it's going to probably be pretty doggone hairy. I would have to say that it should be incredibly exciting for the fans because it's going to be all new everything and it's definitely going to pack the cars up and going to lend itself to what we do. It's going to lend itself to what we do at Talladega even more. So pull your straps down tight and let's go."
DO YOU HAVE ANY OFF-TRACK ACTIVITIES LIKE AVIATION THAT TAKES YOU AWAY FROM IT BUT THAT GIVES YOU AND EDGE TO YOUR RACING? "Well, I am an avid aviator, but I'm a business aviator. And I say that sort of unfortunately because I think doing aerobatic flying and lessons would make me a better business aviator but I'm not really into that. I don't really like getting sick to my stomach and I don't like really getting scared and all those different things. So to answer your question, I do have some thing on the pilot side that are coming up that are exciting for me; moving in and moving forward and stepping up one step in aircraft and in training and those kinds of things. But I have promised Matt and Arlene I would take them to Europe and obviously I thought I was going to be retired by the time he graduated. And when I made the deal to not be retired when he was graduated I decided that I would buckle down and do it. They waved the green flag on signing the deal with the No. 5 car and I'm waving the green flag on our European vacation. So we're going after Chicago and we're pretty excited about it."
HOW IS BEN KENNEDY DOING IN YOUR LATE MODEL CAR AND DO YOU THINK HE HAS A FUTURE IN DRIVING? "Oh, he rocks man. He is doing so awesome. He's top three every week. I think we got a win with him about the second time out, or third time out, and he's racing against David Rogers, who has got a couple of years on me. When I came down here as a kid he was hard to beat. And he's racing David Rogers and Tim Russell and the Andersons, who are legendarily tough to beat in Late Models down here. And he's beating some of them every week. There is usually maybe one in front of him, or two; but some of those cats are behind him as well. To answer your question, I think he could do this without question. I just don't know if he will. And the part about the wheel part is probably will be pressure from external pressure for him to use the things that he's learned as a driver to help in the business side. Now I'm just guessing. He's been in my program now for two and a half years and I think from what I've seen, I see that. I tell you what. He is such an incredible young man and Lisa should be so proud of him. He is just really, really a fine young man. And he's racing tonight and he's going to show up right before qualifying and not practice the car and qualify the car without practice because he's in school. School comes first. And he loves racing. Last year when I went to the race track, and I got to the pits, he was cleaning his race car. And all my guys were off running around doing whatever they were doing. So I don't mean to be long-winded about this but I really am impressed with Ben Kennedy. He's such a fine young man and he's one hell of a race car driver too. And he has so much talent that I think he can do this but I don't know if he'll follow it all the way to the Cup level or if he will have pressure to move him into the other side of that. But whatever he does, what he's doing now will make him better. I think being a driver is going to make him better if he ever does get into the management or any facet of NASCAR because he'll understand the other side as well. He's a very impressive young man."
IS MATT (MARTIN, HIS SON) STILL MARINES BOUND? "No he's not. He just straightened his Mother out though, I will say straightened her out night before last when she said that she sure was glad he was going to college instead of the Marines. He said "I still might go to the Marines, I'm just going to college right now". So he hasn't closed the door on it, but I think we all are excited that he is going to be around instead of shipped right off. We would miss him. He's going to go to college right here in Daytona and get acclimated to college life because he has done home school since fifth grade so it is going to be a little bit different for him. So that is where he is at right now. Not interested in racing. I'm very very proud of him. He is really turning out to be a fine young man. He is smart."
YOU ARE THE ALL-TIME LEADER IN THE NATIONWIDE SERIES WITH 48 WINS, KYLE (BUSCH) JUST PICKED UP NO. 36 AND DOESN'T SHOW SIGNS OF STOPPING ANY TIME SOON, FIRST OF ALL WAS IT TOUGHER TO WIN WHEN YOU WERE COMPILING YOUR RECORD OR DO YOU THINK IT IS TOUGHER TO WIN IN THAT SERIES NOW? AND ESPECIALLY WITH THE NEW LOOK OF THE NEW NNS CAR, DO YOU EVER HAVE THE INKLING OF MAYBE GETTING BACK IN ONE OF THEM? "I guess I will work backwards here. The inkling of getting back in one of those, I have to say, not presently, but that can always change. I'm not dying to get back in it, although the change in car is interesting. A new challenge always opens it up for excelling the learning curve beyond your competition or whatever. It's not crossing my mind. I'm really focused on the No. 5 car and working with Alan (Gustafson) at this point in time and a little bit of energy conservation. I expend quite a bit of energy with my training program and probably more than I ever did before. Between that and what I do with the No. 5 car and all was really a nice load on my plate. I like the load right now that is on my plate. I'm able to really spend quality time with family and stuff.
"Records are going to fall and I am going to stand there and watch them. Just as Jack Ingram stood and watched his fall. It is not going stand the test of time, but that is ok too. That still doesn't lessen what I did, what I managed to do. It is a different time, just as Jack Ingram's stuff was a different time as well. It is a different time and Kyle is an incredible talent that got started really young and didn't have to ride around in middle-of-the-pack stuff proving himself. He is an incredible talent and so is Joey Logano and he is incredibly young too and has lots of time.
"Is it harder to win? I say may be as hard as it has ever been or harder right now to win if you are not one of those Gibbs car. They really, really have it going and that's probably how the competition felt about my car, the No. 60 car. They probably felt like that but there wasn't two of them (LAUGHS). The No. 60 didn't run when I didn't drive it which was an additional talent really to not be there every week and still be sharp enough to be on your game when we did run. I think the Nationwide races are really hard to win right now. It is obvious if it's not the No. 18 and the No. 20, they are pretty scarce."
WE HAVE A NEW LIST OF HALL OF FAME NOMINEES COMING OUT TODAY, A LIST YOU MIGHT BE ON SOMEDAY IF YOU DECIDE TO STOP DRIVING "I think that will be a long way down the road, there are some very important people that are going to be on there for a long time to come."
IF YOU ARE A VOTER, HOW DO YOU GO ABOUT COMPARING DRIVERS, WITH WINS OR CHAMPIONSHIPS, OR HOW WOULD YOU MEASURE THEM FOR CONSIDERATION TO BE ELECTED IN THE HALL OF FAME? "My thinking would be that it should not be on numbers. I think people in the sport know, they just know. I don't think you use crippling numbers. They know about the sport and they know who rose about and who did what and was able to do and accomplish what with what, with what group, in what period of time or whatever. There are some really really important numbers guys too like David Pearson. I don't or exactly sure what Cale's (Yarborough) numbers look like. I was just starting to get a taste of the sport in their heyday as a kid. So I don't know, I'm not from NASCAR region. I didn't come in the '60s, I wasn't here. I don't that much about... I don't know an enormous amount about prior to those guys. To me, it is really really important to the integrity of the Hall to put the guys back there, the important people back there need to go in. I know it's good to bring...I just think that Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon are going to have to wait. If I was voting, I would have to say that the people the sport and got this thing going. You asked my opinion and my opinion is we are going to have to stay strong on putting in the people that built this sport and did the stuff before we get to the more current or the people that have great numbers."
-source: gm racing