MARK MARTIN, NO. 5 CARQUEST/KELLOGG'S IMPALA SS, met with members of the media at Kansas Speedway and discussed No. 5 and No. 48 at NASCAR R & D center, racing at Kansas, success this season, being in the Chase, Joey Logano accident, physical ...
MARK MARTIN, NO. 5 CARQUEST/KELLOGG'S IMPALA SS, met with members of the media at Kansas Speedway and discussed No. 5 and No. 48 at NASCAR R & D center, racing at Kansas, success this season, being in the Chase, Joey Logano accident, physical fitness and other topics.
WHAT IS YOUR REACTION TO YOUR CAR FROM DOVER BEING A LITTLE TOO CLOSE TO THE GREY AREA AND NASCAR NOT ALLOWING YOU TO BRING IT BACK TO THE TRACK IN THAT SET UP? "Well, the five car has been to the R&D center more than any other car on the circuit. We went five times...they take the winner every time. And every time, it's been legal. We were the random car at Dover and that particular car has been there I think a couple of times already this year. And it's close, but it's legal."
HOW IMPORTANT IS IT TO A DRIVER TO HAVE A CREW CHIEF THAT DOES PUSH IT TO THAT VERY LIMIT? "I don't know. I worked on these race cars when I was younger...a lot. And we always pushed everything that we had. Just like we do on the racetrack. You push everything, every rule, no matter what it is...that's racing. That is why it's called racing and that is what you do.
"So the car we have here has won two times this year and has been over there twice and they took another good look at it...my guys did...before they brought it here to the racetrack and we are good, we are racing."
ON JIMMIE JOHNSON'S COMMENTS THAT HE WANTS OTHER COMPETITORS TO BE AFRAID OF THIS ORGAINIZATION AND WANTS THEM TO BE DISTRACTED BY THIS NON-ISSUE "I don't know. That is a little deep for me. I'm just really proud to be driving this five car and working with these guys. The engine department has done an incredible job for us this year, the team has built wonderful chassis, the fab shop has been spot on. The race cars are beautiful, they're fast, and we have had great teamwork. And we have earned the position that we are in right now and the racing will tell whether we can stay there or not."
WITH THIS BEING THE FIRST 1.5 MILE TRACK IN THE CHASE, HOW MUCH WILL BE LEARN ABOUT WHO WILL BE GOOD THE REST OF THE WAY? "Well, it's still going to be only thirty percent. Let's let the racing decide the champion, not fortune tellers. You know, that is how I feel about it. You know it's....we've had a great year. We've had great engines, chassis, fabrication, teamwork and I am real proud of what we have accomplished this year and let's let the racing decide."
ABOUT WHETHER WINNING AT CHICACO MAKES YOU FEEL BETTER ABOUT COMING TO KANSAS? "It does but it's not everything. You still have to do it here. Last year in the eight car we ran real well at Chicago and then we came here with that set up and it didn't work out well for us at all.
"I believe that this car will be more forgiving in that way and I am hoping and we expect to be able to use that same logic to be really strong here. But if not, we will find our way. We were lost last weekend at Dover and we found our way and that is what this race team does. You know, Alan, and the guys and all the teamwork that we are doing on and off the race track....we have been successful in finding our way so I expect that we will be strong."
MARK, YOU HAVE A 1.5 AVERAGE FINISH IN THE CHASE. CAN YOU KEEP UP THAT PACE? "History says we can't keep up that pace, but it sure feels good right now. I am just really proud of the things that we have been able to accomplish. There is one thing that we do have that I think we have more of than any of the other 11 in the chase. That's the heart. My race team has the biggest hearts in the world and I feel really good about what we have accomplished especially considering that we started together in February kind of new and have really learned our way and have managed to peak about halfway through the season and I am proud of all that and no matter what the racing from here on out decides, as far as I am concerned, we won't lose. We might not score as many points, but we won't lose."
ON WHETHER THE NO. 5 TEAM HAS ANOTHER LEVEL THEY CAN TURN IT UP TO AND HAVE WE SEEN ANOTHER LEVEL NOW IN THE CHASE: "Well, it's too early to be fair and say. If I answered that, I would answer yes, but that's based on twenty percent of the Chase. So if I read somebody said yes, I would say, 'listen to them', you know....it's twenty percent. So I really don't want to answer that as a yes, I would like to answer that as we certainly have based on twenty percent of the Chase.
"We have got to let the racing decide and that is the one thing that is cool about all this points stuff. You always want to talk about the points stuff, but the races decide that. We have got a lot of racing to go, and a lot of excitement, and I think that everybody needs to stay in tuned to these races."
WHEN IN YOUR HEAD IS IT OKAY TO START THINKING ABOUT THE CHAMPIONSHIP? "I think with four to go we will have a much clearer picture. With four to go."
ON WHEN YOUR FITNESS PROGRAM STARTED: "January 1988. When I hooked up with Roush, that was the first time that I didn't have to physically work on the race cars in the shop every day. And so that is where I had time then to start it."
ON WHETHER YOUR ROUTINE HAS HAD TO CHANGE NOW THAT YOU ARE IN THE CHASE "Well, in some ways you could say that I have been training for this Chase for 21 years. But I trained just as hard last year racing a limited schedule and when I don't drive anymore, I will continue to train just as hard because it's an important part of my life. Not every day am I excited or thrilled about going to the gym, but I do love it and it's an important part of my life."
WHAT IS IT THAT YOU DO AS PART OF YOUR TRAINING? "Strength training four days a week, and I do cardio three. My cardio is not brutal because I am very lean and I eat a lot of food and I don't have any intentions of getting any leaner or skinnier. So I limit my cardio to three days a week and I lift heavy and hard. Some people, if they lifted as hard as I lift and ate as much as I do would be pretty big."
ON WHAT IT MEANS TO YOU TO BE IN NASCAR ALL THESE YEARS AND NOW THEY HAVE A HALL OF FAME FOR THE SPORT "I think it's great and I think they will have five inductees a year and that's going to mean it's going to take a long time to see a lot of our heroes in there and I hope I am around to see a lot of them."
DO YOU HAVE A FIRST FIVE THAT YOU THINK SHOULD BE IN THERE? "That would be very unfair. Without thinking about it very much I would think that I would want to put 25 in there the first year."
YOU ARE GOOD FRIENDS WITH LAGONO. DID YOU TALK WITH HIM THIS WEEK AT ALL ABOUT THE RIDE HE WENT ON OR GIVE HIM ANY ADVICE? "No, Joey has kind of slipped by the advice think a bit. He hasn't been checking in with me very much lately and he has been doing very well. But I have thought about him, and I have thought about his dad. I really like his dad a lot, but we haven't spoken since Sunday before the race."
SOME PEOPLE SAID THEY WERE SURPRISED THAT HE SAID HE WAS SCARED DURING IT. WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT A DRIVER SAYING SOMETHING LIKE THAT? "I think it's an honest answer. That is just him being honest. It scares me to think about it. So I can certainly think that the ride itself would be scary. Some guys are just a little bit different and that kind of ride might not scare them but I think honestly the ride would scare a lot of people. But driving a race care sure doesn't scare him."
DO YOU DO ANY SCOREBOARD WATCHING DURING THE RACE WEEKEND AND SEE WHERE THEY QUALIFIED AND SUCH? "I'm a race fan. So I do that, Chase or no Chase. Every week."
WHO HAS BEEN A DISAPPOINTMENT TO YOU SO FAR IN THE CHASE? CARL EDWARDS? "I haven't seen any disappointments in the Chase other than Kasey (Kahne) having an engine problem. So no, it's just really, really tough out there and everybody in the Chase is running good."
HOW MUCH ARE YOU ENJOYING THIS CHASE, THIS YEAR AND THIS POINT IN YOUR CAREER? "Well we are just getting started right now with the Chase part of it but there is a lot of pressure off of me now. We had to fight our way into the Chase with all the trouble that we had at the beginning of the year, but now that we are in here we are having fun again but its dream come true and I certainly never thought we would be having this kind of year."
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA WAS JUST SAYING THAT NO MATTER HOW WELL THEY DO YOU ARE CONSTANTLY OUTRUNNING THEM. HOW SATISFYING IS IT TO BE PUTTNG UP SOME BIG NUMBERS IN THE CHASE SO FAR? "Its pretty satisfying but I keep thinking the same thing about him. I predicted that he could win this Chase and surprise a lot of people and so far he has proven that they are ready to contend for it.
"But it's a lot of fun to drive and work with such great people and drive a great race car. It's all about the people who build this race car. If I had a less competitive race car I would be stuck in the middle of the pack."
-credit: gm racing