MARK MARTIN, NO. 5 CARQUEST/KELLOGG'S IMPALA SS, met with members of the media at New Hampshire Motor Speedway and discussed racing at New Hampshire, getting in the Chase, Hendrick Motorsports and other topics. WELCOME TO A WEEKEND IN NEW ...
MARK MARTIN, NO. 5 CARQUEST/KELLOGG'S IMPALA SS, met with members of the media at New Hampshire Motor Speedway and discussed racing at New Hampshire, getting in the Chase, Hendrick Motorsports and other topics.
WELCOME TO A WEEKEND IN NEW HAMPSHIRE: "Yeah, it's been a while since I have been here. Looks beautiful and I noticed that coming in yesterday. It's good to be here and I can't wait to strap into that number five car."
SINCE THEY ANNOUNCED SEVERAL YEARS AGO THEY WERE GOING TO COME UP HERE TO THE BOSTON AND NEW HAMPSHIRE AREA TO RACE WHAT WERE YOUR INITIAL THOUGHTS. AND SINCE IT'S ALL COME TO FRUITION, IT SEEMS TO HAVE WORKED OUT QUITE WELL FOR ALL PARTIES? "Well the Northeast is really, really strong with race fans. I had always noticed it because like Pennsylvania was my number one state for fan club members which didn't make any sense to me. But the fan following is really strong and the support for this race track has been overwhelming for this track from day one."
NEXT WEEK LOOKING AHEAD TO DAYTONA WHAT DO YOU SEE AS THE DIFFERENCE THERE FROM FEBRUARY. IT LOOKS AS IF THE STARS ARE ALIGNING FOR WHAT COULD BE A PRETTY GOOD SHOW. "In some ways it's not the Daytona 500 but it's in some ways, and I will choose my words carefully, but in some ways its better. It's shorter, and it's hotter and slicker so handling is more a factor than it is in February. I like all those aspects of it and now we are throwing in double-file restarts so it couldn't possibly get any crazier than that. So I am expecting a great show."
OVER THE NEXT FEW WEEKS ALL ANYONE IS GOING TO TALK ABOUT IS THE CHASE TO GET IN TO THE "CHASE". CAN YOU PAINT A PICTURE FOR THE FANS ABOUT HOW INCREDIBLY HARD IT'S GOING TO BE FOR ANYONE TO GET INTO THE "CHASE"? "Well it really is and it seems like right now the heat is really hot around that eighth to sixteenth range. So its going to be interesting to watch and its just tough in this business to have success period. And to be able to have it consistently is even tougher. So there is a lot of bouncing around that is going on out there from eighth to sixteenth."
HAVING BEEN AROUND THIS GIG FOR A WHILE, HAVE YOU SEEN ANYTHING COMPARABLE IN SCOPE TO WHAT GOODYEAR IS DOING TO GET ONE TIRE FOR ONE RACE RIGHT? ITS LIKE SEVEN TESTS, FORTY CARS, THIRTEEN THOUSAND MILES. HAVE YOU EVER SEEN THEM EXPEND THAT MUCH EFFORT TO GET ONE RACE RIGHT IN THE TIME YOU HAVE BEEN IN THIS SPORT? "No, but I also haven't seen one of the top two most visable races go quite as bad as last year either. So, a monumental effort but one that is warranted based on what happened last year. Special circumstances for that race track because its been very difficult with the diamond grinding that is at this race track this time versus other times seems to react different, but the diamond grinding is key to these cars racing well on it so I am glad that the race track is diamond-ground and I am sorry that it was so difficult this time to get a tire that would work well for this car but hopefully its going to be awesome this time."
MARK, TALK ABOUT YOUR ROLLER COASTER SEASON. I KNOW THAT YOU HAVE HAD OTHER ROLLER COASTER SEASON'S IN THE PAST BUT TALK ABOUT THE THREE WINS THIS SEASON AND THE EFFORT TO STAY IN THE TOP-TWELVE. "I wouldn't trade much of what has been going on for anything. I'm just really elated to have the opportunity to experience three wins and the opportunity to work with Alan and my team with the five car and everybody at Hendrick Motorsports. And I am really, really, really proud of them and proud of what we have accomplished and we'll just keep fighting every day. But I certainly wouldn't trade our season for a consistent one that hadn't won. That's for sure."
CAN YOU JUST TALK ABOUT WHAT ITS LIKE TO RACE HERE IN LOUDON? "This is a tough race track. Its kind of tough to pass on and its tight quarters and its like an expanded version of Martinsville in some ways. So it can be fun if your car is really good, but if your car is not really good it can sure be a challenge racing around the middle of the pack and trying to make passes are a challenge if you don't have a really good car."
YOU WON PHOENIX AND YOU HAVE THE SAME RACE CAR HERE THIS WEEKEND. DOES THAT GIVE US A HINT THAT YOU MIGHT BE ONE OF TWO OR THREE FAVORITES THIS WEEKEND? "I think its too soon to say, but its obvious that the big obvious is there. The car and the similarities to the race track corner configuration, but you know, every weekend is a new weekend so we'll just wait and see. I am certainly optimistic about how our car will be and I am optimistic about what our team can do and I am looking forward to it. I wish we were racing today."
-credit: gm racing