Loudon II: Martin - Friday media visit

MARK MARTIN, NO. 5 CARQUEST/KELLOGG'S IMPALA SS met with media and discussed 2010 primary sponsorship with Go.Daddy.com and HMS contract renewal, the Chase, his age, diet and exercise, and more. YOU COULD HAVE TOLD US ABOUT THIS ANNOUNCEMENT ...

MARK MARTIN, NO. 5 CARQUEST/KELLOGG'S IMPALA SS met with media and discussed 2010 primary sponsorship with Go.Daddy.com and HMS contract renewal, the Chase, his age, diet and exercise, and more.


ON THE GO.DADDY.COM SPONSOR ANNOUNCEMENT "We're hooking up with Go.Daddy.com. They've been a part of Hendrick Motorsports since 2007 and have grown in their participation each year. They're an industry leader in their field. It's absolutely unimaginable to think that they register a domain every second, every day. That's something that I just recently learned because I guess I didn't completely understand how big their business was. But that's pretty incredible.

"It's neat to be associated with a fast, edgy company that's aggressive and out there doing what they do like we do on the race track with our race teams. It's a cool thing to be looking forward to year and having different colors and there is more to come. But it's a neat day and it's a great company to be associated with."

ON EXTENDING HIS CONTRACT WITH HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS TO KEEP RACING FULLTIME THROUGH THE 2011 SEASON "Yeah, we're signed through 2011. That shouldn't come as any big surprise. Who would want to quit?"

WHAT IS THE BIG DEAL ABOUT YOUR AGE? GODADDY.COM DOESN'T SEEM TO DISCRIMINATE ABOUT AGE, CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THAT COMPANY WITH RELATIONSHIP TO AGE? "When you're registering a domain every second, every day, you must be reaching a broad spectrum of people. Yeah, it is nice that they didn't pass on the opportunity to sponsor the No. 5 car because I'm going to be 51 next year. That's pretty cool. It's great to be in a race car with a race team that can perform like we've performed this year. It's not the best of times for sponsorship acquisition and so it's another success I think.

"It's funny and you're exactly right on the age thing. As a matter of fact, it was kind of a big deal for a 22 year old to be getting a pole in 1981. Now it's not such a big deal at all. Times are changing. We're talking about almost 30 years ago and things have changed a lot. The fact that a big deal has been made out of my age now really doesn't surprise me because I would expect that no matter who was getting it done if they were getting it done right now. The times have changed. It has lended itself more toward younger drivers where before engineers, before technology had infiltrated NASCAR, the driver was the data acquisition and he was very important and he could not do that when he was 22. He had to have many years under his belt.

"There's no reason why more guys my age can't be doing what I'm doing, other than it takes a lot of elements to line up you know. Personally, you have to really be willing to give the health and fitness side of it more than most, and everything else."

HAS THAT ROLE OF A MATURE DRIVER IN A MECHANICAL SENSE PRETTY MUCH VANISHED NOW? "That's true. I still work with (crew chief) Alan (Gustafson) and I still make suggestions. I still feel things and say yeah, I felt that last time. It's this, you know. But 15 years ago, I probably would have said put this spring, this spring, this spring in to go to New Hampshire. I don't find out until I get to the trailer what's in the car for here. And if I don't happen to find out, that's not a big issue either. I'll drive the car and I'll feel the car and I'll tell him what it's doing. If I feel something specific, I'll say it feels like the right rear is too big. It feels like we're on the bump stop too much on the right front. You know, whatever.

"But nothing like the kind of stuff that Alan Kulwicki and Rusty Wallace and myself and a number of other guys did for years, which was really to make most of the calls on what was under the car."

COMPARE WHAT IT TAKES TO DO THESE RACES NOW VERSUS WHEN YOU WERE 30 YEARS OLD "After a good race, I feel exactly like I felt when I was 30. I heard something funny many years ago. Someone said I'm in energy conservation mode. I do manage energy a little bit to make darn sure I've got just as much as anyone else when duty calls. So I do that, but I don't feel 25. I don't know what you're supposed to feel like at 50, but I feel pretty good. I manage my energy and everything a little differently than I did when I was 25."

YOU HAVE NO BODY FAT. TALK ABOUT DIET AND EXERCISE. "For 21 years I've strength-trained. I'm better and more knowledgeable today than I've ever been or than I was even a year ago, about nutrition and strength training and cardio fitness as well. I'm doing all that and I'm smarter now than I was a year ago."

HOW MUCH DO YOU WEIGH? "125 (pounds)."


TALK ABOUT THE MENTAL ABILITY TO ACCEPT THE CHANGES THAT HAVE GONE ON IN THIS SPORT "One of the more difficult ones was when we quit running normal front springs about eight or nine years ago or somewhere in there, and started running the real soft front springs. It was not as simple as that and it required a different aero package. To learn all that stuff was slow and difficult and we weren't at the cutting edge of it. It was disappointing to me. We finally got there. But it took quite a while and it was discouraging. The CoT scared me. But after about a half-season of messing around and the opportunity of working with Ryan Pemberton we started to get on some things and then it really came along and I learned more working with the No. 8 team last year. Yeah, you have to be able to adapt and conform to the changing environment and over 30 years I've seen a lot of that."

TO DO WHAT HE'S DONE FOR THE PAST THREE YEARS, WHAT ALLOWS JIMMIE JOHNSON TO SEPARATE HIMSELF FROM OTHER DRIVERS? "I think it's a very overlooked fact about Jimmie Johnson that he works harder at it than anybody in the garage. And I don't think people see that. I sure didn't until I got over there."

WAS THERE ANY HESITATION TO COMMIT TO HMS THROUGH 2011? OR WERE YOU TRYING TO CONVINCE THEM TO GO THROUGH 2012, '13, OR '14? "No it was still Rick's (Hendrick) initiative. And I didn't have any reservations really when we talked about 2010. 2011 is a long way out. It's a long term commitment. But I understood Rick. He had to make some decisions about some long range things and he really wanted it. This was his first choice. With the success that we were having, I don't see me falling off a cliff anytime soon. I hope that I'll be able to do the job and I'm having a blast. I understand that it works better for sponsor commitments and those kinds of things. And so I'm pretty comfortable. There's no place I'd rather be today than at the race track. I didn't always feel that way. And so I did something about it. And now I feel that way. So now I'm doing something about that."

WHEN NASCAR SWITCHED TO THE CHASE FORMAT, HOW LONG DID IT TAKE YOU TO ADAPT? JIMMIE JOHNSON SAID IT TOOK HIM A COUPLE OF SEASONS TO EMBRACE IT. "I don't know. It's easy for him to say, he's got it right. He's won three in a row. I couldn't be such an authority on where I stand on it. We were in the first three and a lot of how you do in that is how well your equipment performs and what kind of luck or whatever, that you have, also plays a part in it. And so I hope to think that I know how to do it, you know? If we don't have any bad luck and if we don't have any poor performances and we continue the kinds of performances that we have, I don't see why we wouldn't be a contender for it for sure."

JIMMIE JOHNSON SAID MAYBE THEY AREN'T QUITE ON THE STRIDE THAT THEY WOULD LIKE TO BE. HAVE YOU BEEN ABLE TO DETECT THAT THEY COME INTO THE CHASE LESS IN THEIR GROOVE OR AT THEIR STRIDE THAN NORMAL? KNOWING THE PEOPLE, CAN YOU SENSE THAT? "Well, just like you I sit here and watch them step it up when the Chase started before. And so that might be the case. Obviously they're the ones that are the most concerned based on their past history. Sure, they've not been quite as ferocious on the race track the last few races maybe, but all they have to do is just hit it. Nobody is going to beat a five or 5.5-place finish. Anybody that does that for 10 races is going to hold that trophy. I'll be surprised if anyone can do that this year with the way it looks like the contenders are. It's going to be a great race between all 12, I think. It'll take five races. You're not going to know anything after this race, I'm telling you. You could have a terrible finish and run here and then come back and rebound from it. It's going to take five races to see. And then when it's four to go, the picture is going to get much clearer. I wouldn't get too carried away about how everything lands in this race."

SO MANY GUYS IN DIFFERENT SPORTS SAY THEY WANT TO RETIRE ON TOP. IS THE CHAMPIONSHIP DRIVING YOU OR IS IT JUST THE LOVE OF RACING? "It's the love of racing. It really doesn't have anything to do with the championship. I didn't take this job with hopes and dreams of winning the championship. I took it because I knew it was going to be a fast race car and I wanted to drive a fast race car and have a chance to win another race and we've exceeded my expectations and we certainly will race with every ounce that we have for the championship that's 10 races away, and who knows what happens between now and then. But it's because I love what I do and because I'm still competitive."

-credit: gm racing

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Rusty Wallace , Jimmie Johnson , Alan Kulwicki