MARK MARTIN, U.S. ARMY IMPALA SS, met with members of the media at Michigan International Speedway and talked about racing at Michigan, Father's Day, Kyle Busch, Richard Petty, physical preparation for a race on a hot day and other topics. FIRST...
MARK MARTIN, U.S. ARMY IMPALA SS, met with members of the media at Michigan International Speedway and talked about racing at Michigan, Father's Day, Kyle Busch, Richard Petty, physical preparation for a race on a hot day and other topics.
FIRST OF ALL I WANT TO ASK YOU ABOUT THE HEAT LAST WEEK IN POCONO. YOU ARE KIND OF THE STANDARD FOR PERSONAL HEALTH AND WHATNOT. WHAT DO YOU DO PERSONALLY TO PREPARE YOURSELF FOR SUMMER HEAT? "I live every day like its going to be Pocono tomorrow. Every single day. I don't think there is anything in particular that you can do you know. In the old days people thought you could have a bowl of pasta and a good night's sleep before the race and you'd be ready. But I never subscribed to that.
"It takes so long for your body to change like making a weight loss or anything else. If you notice it takes a long time and a long term commitment to get in top physical condition. "
MARK, TALK ABOUT GETTING TO MEET MARY KAY ON SUNDAY. SHE HAS SIX SONS IN THE ARMY. "Well, I look forward to it. It's a great opportunity and you know, she must be one heck of a woman and I look forward to meeting her."
MARK TALK ABOUT THE NEW CAR AND JUST IN GENERAL HOW MUCH MORE OF A STRAIN IT IS. "They are a little hotter, the COT is. You know the rest of it's all determined by a good day bad day on handling and humidity. A lot is determined by the handling of the race car and how difficult it is, and how tough it is. I don't think in general it's tougher today than it ever was."
YOU TALK TO SOME DRIVERS AND THEY SAY THE NEW CAR JUST SEEMS HOTTER. "They do. They are certainly, but like I said before, in general, generally speaking they are not significantly tougher than the cars that I drove when I started Cup racing in the early eighties. A lot is determined by the humidity, by the handling of the car and then the only other thing is the intensity of the racing from green flag is higher. The first half of the race is just like the half of the race today, whereas you used to be able to pace yourself."
HOW MUCH TOUGHER IS IT MENTALLY OR PHYSICALLY? "I live everyday like tomorrow's Pocono. And that's all I can tell you. Everyday. I don't even think you can load up on water and make a difference. I myself don't think that works. I'm forty-nine years old and I have experimented quite a bit with all that stuff. I don't see an appreciable difference in a tune up before the race. You can't tune your body up like you can a car. It's not the same thing.
HOW MUCH OF IT IS MENTAL? "I don't know. It's hard when it's hard. No matter."
MARK, YOU AND YOUR DAD WERE SO CLOSE. FATHER'S DAY IS ON SUNDAY AND IT'S A SPECIAL DAY AND IT'S A TRADITION TO BE HERE ON FATHER'S DAY. "Yeah, you know I'm going to be up her by myself this weekend but in spirit we are all together. It's a real privilege to be a dad. And you know I am real lucky to have Matt and have such a fine young man and a wonderful wife for twenty-five years and you know, for me it doesn't matter that we are not in the same place together because our hearts are together in the same place."
I WANT TO ASK YOU ABOUT THE PETTY IMPACT ON THE SPORT. WHERE DO YOU THINK THE SPORT WOULD BE IF THE PETTY'S WEREN'T INVOLVED? "You know, Richard Petty was the king of the era that I came in. You know I didn't know about NASCAR racing prior to Richard. Richard Petty was the guy that I pulled for and he brought the sport you know, to another level based on his popularity and his success, his appeal, the way he handled people set the standard for any kind of sport."
LET'S TALK ABOUT THE TRACK AND WHAT YOU HAVE TO DO TO HAVE SUCCESS HERE. "You know this is a really big race track and they say you need horsepower and it doesn't hurt to have it. But really one-hundred percent key is going through these big turns. The corners are huge here and that makes it fun and challenging for the teams and drivers. Just making the cars go through the corners better. "
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON SOME OF THESE INVESTMENT GROUPS THAT ARE NOT NECESSARILY "RACERS" COMING INTO NASCAR FINANCIALLY? "It's different for sure. I am not really sure how to answer that. You know the old school in me wishes it was back the way it was in 1980 or 1981 when I first came here. On the other hand, nothing stays the same and nothing is like it was in 1981. So its progress. Its good things and bad things. The positives are that it's all about more job opportunities for people that want to be involved in racing and there is so much more opportunity than there was back then. And you know, when you bring investors in it helps the Petty's and it helps the teams, it helps Roush move to the next level and continue to compete on the level that they were competing on before. Otherwise it's very difficult and winds up forcing you out the way it did Larry McClure, Morgan-McClure for example.
FUEL MILEAGE IS ALWAYS A TOPIC WHEN WE COME UP HERE CHEVY VERSUS THE COMPETITION DO YOU GUYS FEEL LIKE YOU ARE GETTING AS GOOD OF FUEL MILEAGE AS MOST EVERYBODY? "You know, no we could probably use just a little bit better, but we'll probably be okay. We're middle of the road. You know not bad, but certainly not top of the heap either."
IF THE CREW CHIEF SAYS SAVE SOME FUEL HERE, CAN YOU GIVE US AN IDEA OF WHAT YOU MIGHT DO TO DO THAT? "If you want to put it simply, don't give it as much gas. Which equals slow down, which isn't a great option either. Only if you have the fastest car by a bunch like we did at Phoenix is where you can afford to do that. Most of the time you don't have the significant car that you need to be able to make a difference."
MARK YOU MENTIONED THAT YOU TRIED EVERYTHING YOU KNOW AND YOU TRY AND KEEP IN GREAT SHAPE EVERYDAY. WHAT ARE SOME OF THE THINGS IN THE PAST THAT YOU TRIED?"You know a bowl of pasta. You can't have a bowl of pasta and be okay tomorrow. You drink a gallon of water and what goes in has to come out. There's limits and it just needs to be a lifestyle."
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO COME BACK AND TO KEEP RACING AND RACE HERE AT MICHIGAN? "This is my family and it's all I have known for thirty-five years. Given a choice of sitting at home...what do you think? It's my life and the reason I am a race car driver is because I was better at that than I was at other sports and there is a certain amount of satisfaction and attraction at being good at something.
DO YOU THINK IT SAYS A LOT ABOUT YOURSELF THAT YOU ARE STILL ENJOYING A SUCCESSFUL RACING CAREER AND DOES YOUR SON HAVE OTHER INTERESTS OTHER THAN RACING AND DOES YOUR CAREER PLAY A PART IN HIS DECISION?"You know he's going to follow his passion just like I did I did mine."
THERE'S BEEN A LOT OF TALK THIS WEEK ABOUT THE LAWSUIT. WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THAT AND HOW MUCH PROGRESS DO YOU THINK NASCAR HAS MADE IN THEIR DIVERSITY EFFORTS OVER THE YEARS? "I don't know nearly enough to make a comment."
JUST FROM YOUR PERSPECTIVE, YOU'VE BEEN HERE FOR SO MANY YEARS, HAVE YOU SEEN ANY PROGRESS ON THEIR PART? "You know, I don't know enough about it. I'm not really prepared to comment on it. I haven't really...........I don't know. I don't know nothing, I don't know what happened there. I don't know. I don't know."
SHOULD PEOPLE LOOK AT KYLE BUSCH'S SEASON AS ONE OF THE MOST SIGNIFICANT SEASONS A DRIVER HAS HAD IN NASCAR OR SHOULD IT BE DISCOUNTED BECAUSE IT ISN'T ALL CUP? "Oh, that wouldn't be fair. I think if didn't win another race this year; I think it should be one of the more significant achievements of all of NASCAR. He has won in everything he drove. Especially winning for Braun Racing, additional significance because it wasn't the No. 20 car in Nationwide. The No. 20 car is pretty special. There are a lot of things that make him a hero there. One, is I don't think he gets paid to drive that truck, just for one. There are many others. I'm not going to sit here and pump Kyle to the max, but there is a lot of good stuff there.
"He has won four cup races this year, right? Forget all the rest of it; he has won four Cup races in a car that hasn't won in a long, long time. That should be enough, alone. See, he has won so much I can't even count 'em. I thought it was just two Cup races. So really that alone should be enough to rank it as a one of the significant achievements in NASCAR history. In my opinion. "One thing is my wins and record is old. Old is always forgotten, it is, let's face it. Kyle is the most current and that is a big deal. Plus if you look at his frustrations from last year, it also makes it more newsworthy, I think. Make more people talk about it I think because he wasn't very successful last year and he was very frustrated."
THERE ARE A LOT OF GUYS WHO SAY THEY WOULD DRIVE FOR FREE, WOULD YOU DO IT? "I did last year for the Wood Brothers. Don't think he (Kyle Busch) is the only guy that ever did it for free. I just never bragged about it. You might be the first person I told about it. I bragged on Kyle, I am not going to get up here and make everybody sick from bragging on Kyle. I paid him a compliment, a very very good compliment and I give plenty. But that is a significant thing that he drives, from what I understand, for the trophy. That is what I did with JTG/Wood brothers last year. So he isn't the only guy that has ever done that, there are many more. But it is still is significant. But he is also 23 years old. If you are in between, it may be more important that you are making a living than it is when you are like me or when you are first starting."
WHAT DID RICHARD PETTY MEAN TO YOU? "One of my heroes. Just a thrill of being on the same race track was huge for me. He was Richard Petty and I was a hillbilly from Arkansas wanna-be NASCAR driver. I remember the first time being on the race track and being awestruck that I passed him. Not only did I race with him, but on a good day, I could drive by him. That was pretty incredible."
-credit: gm racing