Michigan: Martin - Saturday media visit

Mark Martin, No. 01 U.S. Army Monte Carlo SS, met with members of the media at Michigan International Speedway. He discussed the performance of his Chevy this weekend, being on standby for Jeff Gordon next weekend, his thoughts on the NASCAR ...

Mark Martin, No. 01 U.S. Army Monte Carlo SS, met with members of the media at Michigan International Speedway. He discussed the performance of his Chevy this weekend, being on standby for Jeff Gordon next weekend, his thoughts on the NASCAR schedule and other topics.

ON HAVING GREAT SUCCESS HERE AND HOW HE FEELS FOR TODAY'S PRATICE AND TOMORROW'S RACE: "I'm looking forward to this practice. I have real high expectations, I think the whole team does. We like the track a lot. The car had plenty of potential yesterday and we need some more time to get everything out of it that is there. This is the car, I guess with the exception of Charlotte, every time I've run it it's got us a top five and it wasn't out of the question to pull a top five off at Charlotte. With the gas thing we wound up 11th but I think we were running sixth before all the gas stops started occurring. We have a lot of confidence in this car. It is my favorite car and one of my favorite tracks."

FROM THE RACE FAN INSIDE OF YOU, WHAT ARE YOU INTERESTED IN SEEING FROM JUAN PABLO MONTOYA NEXT WEEKEND AT SONOMA? "He was phenomenal in Mexico, absolutely phenomenal and to be real honest with you, he's been phenomenal in his own right and on the ovals just a few steps behind that but still just as phenomenal because of the differences that he's had to go through. Obviously (I'm) going to be watching with great excitement and enthusiasm to see how he stacks up at Sears with the best of the best, all of the best of the best, but certainly I expect him to do better than he's been doing on the ovals for sure and he does as well. He said that from the start before he ever got in the cars that he expected to do well on the road courses and he sure showed that in Mexico."

SINCE YOU ARE ON STANDBY FOR JEFF GORDON NEXT WEEKEND IS THE PLAN FOR YOU TO GET IN THE 24 AT SOME POINT IN PRATICE TO GET FAMILIAR WITH THAT CAR: "I don't think so. I am there for those guys. I'm here for 'em. All they got to do is call. Whatever they need I will do. Believe it or not it's still a little early to make plans on this. We have real high hopes that it won't be necessary for me to get in the car and maybe it won't even be necessary for me to be there but whatever it takes I'm going to have gas in the plane on Thursday and we're headed to California unless we get a different word and we'll be standing around in case he needs us if we need to go out there. Hopefully everything works out where they have the baby before California and he gets to drive his car. I really hope it works out that way for him."

HOW MUCH IMPACT CAN A CREW CHIEF HAVE ON A RACE? WHEN A CREW CHIEF IS MAKING A CALL TO TAKE A GAMBLE, HOW HARD IS IT FOR THE DRIVER TO BE SOLD ON IT? "From a crew chief's standpoint, the really great ones almost every time what they do is the right call. That's what makes them great. From standing back looking every call you make is subject to things that you can't control so it can be the right call and the caution comes out and then it was just the opposite, the wrongest call ever but the best ones out there are right way more than they're wrong. Your relationship with a crew chief will temper how you feel about those calls that go wrong. You got a great relationship, you love and adore your guy, then the first thing you do is console him. But that's what makes all these teams great. When I drive it into the wall, see what I'm saying, (if they said) 'Well see if he hadn't run it into the wall,' they start making excuses for me or say 'that's why we love you because you're in the gas,' they find a way to make a positive out of it. That's what really over the long haul makes these teams really strong and really click. It all depends on how strong your team is. We all make mistakes. We all make wrong decisions, every one of us - drivers, crew chiefs, all of us - and the way we react to those really determines our future performance in the long haul."

IF YOU COULD HYPOTHETICALLY RUN NASCAR, WHAT DO YOU THINK IS THE PROPER AMOUNT OF RACES? "Twenty-nine points races was wonderful. That's what it was when I started running with Jack and that would be seven more weekends off than what we have and I would still run full time."

COULD YOU SEE EVER SHORTENING SOME OF THE RACES? WOULD THAT MAKE IT MORE FAN FRIENDLY AND LESS WEAR AND TEAR FOR THE DRIVERS? "I don't have an opinion on that. They were 500 miles when I started. There were less cautions when I started. I don't know. I tell you, if I ran NASCAR we wouldn't be where we are today. I would have it all messed up. I've disagreed with a lot of things that they've done along the way and at the end of the day they've been right nine times out of 10 and I've been wrong nine times out of 10. The first question you asked me I could answer with conviction but the rest of them, I know I'm wrong about most of it."

WHAT DOES SEVEN MORE WEEKS MEAN TO YOU MENTALLY AND PHYSICALLY? "If you're in your 20s, it means that you're going to be hunting a race to go to. If you're in your 40s and your kids are almost grown and you've done it for 20 years and you're physically and emotionally and mentally spent from all the things that you do especially if you're a top-10 driver.from a driver's standpoint it means everything. It means a chance that you get to step away from this for one minute. From a crew standpoint, it's very much the same thing. It's a young man's sport today. I look around on my team here and I see some of the faces that were here when I got here. That's rare. There's not a lot of those so even from a crew standpoint it's becoming more of a young man sport because only a young man is willing to work 24/7 and that's what this sport requires. That might mean a Sunday on the lake or a weekend visit to your parents or whatever to those guys that they almost never get and we love what we do and this is what we love. Over a period of a time it really takes it's toll and you start to evaluate what you want for the rest of your life because you're happy to give everything you had to a certain point, but there comes a certain point where you look around and say 'I only have so much more time. What do I want to do with it?'"

IS THERE A PARTICULAR AREA WHERE YOUR FANBASE IS PARTICULARLY STRONG OR IS IT CONSISTENT NATIONWIDE? "I've always felt like it's really strong in the Northeast. Pennsylvania has forever been the number one fan club member state and I've never really understood it completely but the Northeast seems to be very strong for us."

-credit: gm racing

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jeff Gordon , Mark Martin