Mark Martin, No. 01 U.S. Army Monte Carlo SS met with media to discuss the 2007 season in review, racing in the final Busch Series event, coming up two feet shy of winning the Daytona 500, his part-time racing schedule, Robbie Reiser being...
Mark Martin, No. 01 U.S. Army Monte Carlo SS met with media to discuss the 2007 season in review, racing in the final Busch Series event, coming up two feet shy of winning the Daytona 500, his part-time racing schedule, Robbie Reiser being promoted to GM of Roush-Fenway Racing, the success of Hendrick Motorsports, and on Jeff Gordon's position of running second at the finish, and on the challenges of the car of tomorrow in '08.
WHAT HAS BEEN THE BEST PART OF THIS SEASON FOR YOU? "The whole year. It's been the time of my life; the happiest I've ever been in my life. It came up 2.5-feet short of winning the Daytona 500, which is really what I wanted to do in 2007. The opportunity to work with the U.S. Army has been a real honor. And my time working with this team, Brian Pemberton and all these guys; it's been unbelievable driving these Chevrolets and making that change has just been awesome. And then winding up being a part of Dale Earnhardt Inc., I can't tell you what that means to me and what I'm willing to do to try to be a part of DEI and make this company proud.
"There are all kinds of things. And there's also the chance to drive for Rick Hendrick in the Busch Series. It's just been a dream year."
TOMORROW NIGHT IS THE LAST BUSCH SERIES RACE. HOW IMPORTANT HAS IT BEEN FOR YOU TO BE A PART OF THAT? "The Busch Series has been my career. I mean I would have struggled at times in Cup racing if it wasn't for the success I was having in the Busch Series. It's meant an awful lot to me. It's been really good to me. My challenge now is to win that for Ricky in Rick's number 5 car."
WHAT DO YOU REMEMBER MOST ABOUT THIS YEAR? 'This has been the greatest year of my life. I'm going to remember this as being happier than I've ever been. We've had great racing, having a shot at the Daytona 500, having a great run at the Brickyard, driving for a wonderful team, and the whole thing."
ARE YOU DISAPPOINTED THAT YOU DIDN'T WIN THE DAYTONA 500? "Yes."
DO YOU MISS RACING FULL TIME? "No. Believe me, I've had opportunities to change that. I've stuck to my guns 100 percent. I can't think of any scenario that would bring me back full time. I love what I'm doing in working with the Army and Dale Earnhardt Inc. and with great young drivers, and teaching. I really feel like I've got the best gig in NASCAR."
WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT ROUSH-FENWAY RACING PROMOTING ROBBIE REISER TO GENERAL MANAGER? "Finally (smiles). That's what I think."
WHY WOULD HE BE GOOD AT THAT ROLE? "I've been trying to get Jack (Roush) to do that for the last three years; more probably. I'm not counting this year. I've tried to get Jack to do that for the past couple of years anyway. I think Robbie is the man 100 percent. That company will greatly benefit from the changes that are being made there. I never thought I would see the day that some of the changes that are taking place now, after being there 19 years, I thought some of those changes would never happen. But I think it's great."
WHY WOULD ROBBIE DO SUCH A GOOD JOB? "Because he's a racer. And I think a racer like Robbie will do well in a general manager role; especially when he has his fingers in the competition side of it. I think Robbie's role will be a lot more competition than your average general manager, where it's more of the business. That's the way it's structured at Roush Racing. I just see him being sort of, a little bit competition director as well as general manager. I see it more like that. In my eyes, that's what I vision there."
HE'S MORE SEAT OF THE PANTS GUY THAN HE IS ENGINEERING, RIGHT? "He's more get out of the way and do it like this. Stop holding us back. He's that kind of guy. There have been a lot of holdbacks there for years. I'm a racer. Don't get in my way. Get out of the way and let me race. That's how Robbie Reiser is. He don't even ask. He just does it. He was the only guy there; that's probably what took him so long to get that job. He was the guy who always did what he needed to do. And if he thought if he asked a question and the answer would be no, then he wouldn't ask the question. I like that. I'm a huge fan of Robbie Reiser's."
-credit: gm racing