Mark Martin, No. 01 U.S. Army Monte Carlo SS, met with media to discuss the DEI / Ginn Racing merger, his new teammates, his '08 schedule, his role in the driver development program, the Car of Tomorrow and former teammate Matt Kenseth. Select...
Mark Martin, No. 01 U.S. Army Monte Carlo SS, met with media to discuss the DEI / Ginn Racing merger, his new teammates, his '08 schedule, his role in the driver development program, the Car of Tomorrow and former teammate Matt Kenseth.
Select quotes from driver interview:
HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THE MERGER? "It is pretty overwhelming. Monday was my first time at the DEI shop. When I opened the door and stepped in, I realized the magnitude of this. It's something that I could have never scripted or dreamed that it would happen. It just wound up that way. It transpired very quickly. But I'm really excited about it. There are a lot of distractions right now for my team and me and all of us and I really can't wait to strap in the race car and get on the race track so that we can focus on the performance, which is what the U.S. Army team really needs right now. We need to get on the race track and get to work and focus on the performance of the race car. It's been a difficult week for everyone. As we move forward, we will hopefully be able to integrate and make our performances even stronger. This week, we're in two different chapters. We're not on a different page, but in a different chapter with everything. I can't wait to get on the race track."
WERE YOU SURPRISED ABOUT ALL THIS? "Bobby (Ginn) and I had a long range plan. I don't think either he or I anticipated it. We wanted to get to a certain place in five years. Well, in six months, we have arrived almost there. We have taken kind of a bumpy, crooked road here, but this is a huge step in reaching where we wanted to go. And it's something I don't think either one of us anticipated. It did happen really fast. It was something that needed to happen. I'm excited about it. I think it makes for a really, really strong and exciting opportunity from the marketing side, from Bobby's side, and the things that he can bring and from DEI's side and the things they can bring. When we put all that together, I'm still able to do all the things I'd hoped to be able to do when I signed up with Ginn Racing, and more. So for me, it's terrific."
HOW MUCH OF A CHANGE WILL THIS MAKE FOR YOU THIS YEAR AND NEXT YEAR? "My duties have increased. Everything that I did at Ginn Racing, I still have those duties, but they are even more now. I have all the things with the driver development program and the leadership and all those things. There is more to do now."
DO YOU REALLY LIKE WORKING WITH THE YOUNG UP-AND-COMERS LIKE MARTIN TRUEX JR, REGAN SMITH, AND PAUL MENARD? "I do. I've always wanted to help people that wanted to help. For them to think that I can provide some kind of leadership to help them, is great. I'm not sure I can. But if they think I can, then I will. That's what is special. I'm not sure that I have had any impact on Kurt Busch or Regan Smith or anyone else that's come along, but they think so. So that really makes me feel good. I know that Paul Menard is a tremendous raw talent. He's excited. He wants to absorb that 25 years of experience and hopefully those guys can sort through that stuff that's been official and the stuff that's just old fogy stuff. I know when I came in and I listened to the old timers, they spent a lot of time talking about how much better it was back in the old days that it is today. I wasn't really interested in that. I was more interested in how could we make today and tomorrow better. Hopefully they'll be able to sort through that when they're around me. Hopefully I can have some positive impact on their careers."
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ABOUT THE CAR OF TOMORROW? "Well, it's a step backwards in technology. The car is definitely as step back from a speed and a technological standpoint. But if everyone has the same car, then we'll work on it and make it better. A year from now, those cars are going to handle good compared to how they handle today, as the teams figure out how to make them better and better through racing them and through experience. So I think the Car of Tomorrow is what it is. It takes some more creativity away from the teams and that's different."
-credit: gm racing