The NASCAR Winston Cup Series officially begins its summer swing this week when the circuit heads to Dover, Delaware for the MBNA Platinum 400. Ford driver Mark Martin talks about his season so far and what lies ahead in the future. MARK MARTIN...
The NASCAR Winston Cup Series officially begins its summer swing this week when the circuit heads to Dover, Delaware for the MBNA Platinum 400. Ford driver Mark Martin talks about his season so far and what lies ahead in the future.
MARK MARTIN --6-- Viagra Taurus
HAS YOUR SEASON GONE AS ANTICIPATED AFTER THE CREW SWAP WITH KURT BUSCH? DID YOU EXPECT TO WIN EARLIER, RIGHT NOW OR A LITTLE LONGER?
"On one hand I expect to never win again and I think that's the best way to expect it. That doesn't mean that we don't give our very best, but I said before, I've probably been more successful than I deserve and I've had a lot of great times in my career. I know how hard this stuff is and it's never been more apparent how hard it is than it was in 2001. We made the change because we thought it would be better. Jack Roush and I have been together a long time and we know a little bit about what we're doing and we believed this would be a better thing for all of us. I don't know if I'll win 10 more races this year or never win again. I don't know. These things are not that easy to win and they're not that easy to predict, but I'll be honest with you, I think that we can go and contend at Dover. Lowe's Motor Speedway is one of my favorite race tracks. So is Dover. So is Pocono. So is Michigan. So it's coming. My time of the year, and Ben knows it, is coming. It starts here. We've gotten the thorns in our side out of our way and there are a bunch of them that hit at the beginning of the year. We ran fourth at Richmond the other week and I told them that was just like winning. 'If you run fourth with me at Richmond, you all won.' I'm very pleased and honored to be working with some guys that seem to respect and admire me for who I am and what I've done. I'm really blessed and fortunate."
YOU'RE STILL IN THE CHAMPIONSHIP RACE.
"Yes, that's right. We're not out of the race. Unfortunately, we did get in two wrecks, but, performance-wise, we're a contender week in and week out. Now if we want to go and win this thing, then we're gonna have to put some races up like Charlotte. This is the first week, along with The Winston, that we had the kind of performance that we need to be able to put forth to be a contender and then everything else has to go right too. This race team can do it. Now the trick is, can we go to Dover and contend? And go to Pocono and contend. And go to Michigan and contend. If we start doing that and start running like we ran at Charlotte, then this could be the year. It may be this year. It might be next year. It might be the year after. It might be the one after that because we've got a long-term commitment here between all of us. It might not ever happen either, I don't know, but I'm beyond expecting. Do I expect a championship? No. Do I expect to win? No. I expect to do good though. We've got good people and good cars and good stuff and I expect to do good. I came to Charlotte expecting to do good and it turned out to be a nice one."
THERE'S BEEN A LOT OF TALK ABOUT THE YOUNG DRIVERS. DO YOU LIKE HAVING THE VETERAN TITLE AND WHAT ABOUT YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE WEEK AT CHARLOTTE?
"My philosophy is gonna be quite different. I'm happy to be 43 years old and a veteran. I would hate to be a 43-year-old rookie. I'm very happy with the opportunities and the things that I've done and been able to do in this sport. I'm also real excited about the young guys. I'm a big fan of racing and they're not taking anything away from me, in my opinion. And, I don't want to be 23. Most of us that are my age don't want to be 23 again. I certainly don't. I'm happy with that been there, done that kind of thing. Things are different now and I'm happy to see drivers like Kurt Busch get an opportunity to win races at such a young age. That is just a lot more promise for kids like Matt and a bunch of the kids that he races against, and friends and stuff. It's a different world than it was in the early eighties when myself and a bunch of others got started. It's a different world and it will never be like it was in the early eighties and I don't expect it to be. You guys didn't have personal computers and none of us are mad about that. Maybe I am because I don't know how to use one very well."