Martinsville: Mark Martin - Ford inteview

Mark Martin, driver of the No. 6 AAA Ford Fusion, has posted four top-10 finishes in the first five races and finds himself fourth in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series point standings. Martin spoke about this weekend and other issues prior to Friday's...

Mark Martin, driver of the No. 6 AAA Ford Fusion, has posted four top-10 finishes in the first five races and finds himself fourth in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series point standings. Martin spoke about this weekend and other issues prior to Friday's practice session.

MARK MARTIN -- No. 6 AAA Ford Fusion

WERE YOU SURPRISED WITH WHAT HAPPENED LAST WEEK BETWEEN JEFF AND MATT? "Yes and no. That's slightly out of character for Jeff Gordon, but so is blackening Mike Bliss' eye at the airport too last year, so I guess you can believe that his character is changing a little bit over the years."

HOW MUCH DO YOU WORRY ABOUT GETTING CAUGHT UP IN SOMEBODY ELSE'S MESS? "You don't have time to worry about all that. Whether it's retaliation or a lack of patience it's all the same -- it's still a wreck. One is not much worse than the other. They're both mistakes."

DO YOU HAVE ANY CONCERN ABOUT THE FRUSTRATION LEVEL AT THESE TRACKS? "Because two are back-to-back that doesn't really concern me. Obviously you have a little more of it, but the race track itself -- it's not the short track that causes it -- it's Bristol and Martinsville. If we were doing these races at North Wilkesboro, for example, there would be much less because there's a lot less frustration on that particular race track. So it has a lot to do with the layout of the track and how frustrating it is and Martinsville and Bristol -- not so much the size of the race track, although that does play into it."

HAVE YOU SEEN A CHANGE IN JEFF GORDON OVER THE YEARS? "Who hasn't changed over the years? I think everyone has. Everyone is the sum of all their experiences and everything that has happened to them in the past and the things that they've learned and experienced, so I don't see him that much different than anyone else."

ARE YOU SURPRISED HE WAS FINED? "I didn't know what to think. NASCAR is a little bit harder to predict today than they were five years ago. I've seen a lot of firsts and a lot of things. I didn't know what to expect there. It might have been a high profile thing, but it wasn't a big thing. It really wasn't that big a deal, it was just sort of a high profile deal with two champions involved in it. That's my take on it."

HOW IMPORTANT IS A SPOTTER HERE? "It was real important last week, but it's not as important here. Things don't happen as fast here and you can see a little bit further ahead. Spotters are very critical everywhere nowadays with the visibility that we have, but at a place like Bristol they're crucial. Here, it's more like a lot of other places."

DOES IT TAKE SOME TIME TO GET USED TO A SPOTTER? "A spotter is a relationship. It's just like a crew chief is a relationship. You can have a great driver and a great spotter and not work well together, or have a great driver and great crew chief and not work well together just because the relationship doesn't work as well as another one."

DO YOU LIKE A LOT OF TALK ON THE RADIO? "If they're talking too much I tell them not to talk so much and to be quiet. Last week I asked Pat not to give me lap times, which is the last time I can ever remember. There was so much going on that I didn't want a lap time every time by, so you just work that stuff out. There was a lot going on at Bristol. It was pretty intense."

Matt Kenseth, driver of the No. 17 DeWalt Ford Fusion, is the points leader going into Sunday's DirecTV 500. Kenseth spoke about the end of last week's race at Bristol after practice on Friday.

-ford racing

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jeff Gordon , Matt Kenseth , Mike Bliss , Mark Martin