Phoenix: Mark Martin Friday media visit

BEHIND THE HAULER CHAT WITH MARK MARTIN, NO. 01 U.S. ARMY IMPALA SS Mark Martin, No. 01 U.S. Army Impala SS, spoke with members of the media at Phoenix International Raceway about his semi-retirement and his first race in the Impala SS. ON ...


Mark Martin, No. 01 U.S. Army Impala SS, spoke with members of the media at Phoenix International Raceway about his semi-retirement and his first race in the Impala SS.


ON HAVING A LOT OF PEOPLE AROUND HIM ENCOURAGE HIM TO STAY IN THE CAR AND GO FOR IT: "I had some people around me. They certainly weren't all saying that. I am really happy, I have the greatest life any one could ever ask for. The best family you could ever dream of, you know, I am cool with it."

ON HOW MUCH PHYSICAL FITNESS PLAYS IN TO HOW COMPETITIVE HE STILL IS: "I don't think I am a better driver than any of these guys. So there has got to be some reasons for my success and I don't think it is the driver part of it. Part of it is the physical fitness, part of it is the fire and to manage that fire, it might be difficult when I am 75. I am 48 now and I have it, I won't race if I don't have it. I am not racing 38 races this year if that tells you anything. I still have it and it is hot, but I don't know if I have enough for all of it. I am starting to build a desire and a fire for other things in life. Since I was 15 years old, this has been it for me, number one. Taking precedent over everything. There are a lot of things that have to do with me being able to still be as competitive as I am on the race track. I don't think I am as good as I was 15 years ago but it is hard tell.

"Part of circumstances without question and part of it is that old thing that you make your own luck. You don't make it all but you can make part of it. Part of it is I have been in good situations. Part of it is I am able to inspire people around me, I have worked with people who believe in may and I may not be as good as they think I am but it doesn't matter as long as we get the result and that is the truth. I don't view myself as a better driver than many of these guys, but I certainly wouldn't be happy with the results that a lot of them get. I will do anything, anything to run good. It doesn't matter if it require working your guts out on a sponsor, or working your guts out on a team of working with my own hands at the race track, testing. You know, there is a lot more to this than just strapping yourself in and mashing the gas.

"The people that work on your cars have to love you, they have to believe in you. There is a lot of that. I don't know, I can't answer your question. You have to ask that the people around me, those question. But I know there is a lot more to it than just strapping in."

ON WOULD HE STILL DO THIS IF HE WAS IN A SITUATION LIKE DALE JARRETT FOR EXAMPLE WHERE HE WENT BACK TO ABSOLUTE SQUARE ONE: "No, I am already at a limited schedule based on 2003 and 2001. Those two years were way substandard and unacceptable to me. So I made my plans and I am sticking to them."

ON MORE ADVICE AND INFORMATION SOURCES TO BE AVAILABLE TO THE YOUNG KIDS COMING IN TO THE SPORT NOW TO HELP THEM COPE WITH THE ENVIRONMENT: "I definitely think they need more financial advisors, and a lot of the young guys, their parents are good for that or are savvy didn't. They didn't get here by being stupid to start with. The kids didn't and their parents didn't who helped get their kids here. Financial advisory is very critical in making the most of your career. For the most part I think we have a great group of young drivers. We have different drivers working in different areas to improve themselves whether it is physical fitness or their mental state, anything else. In order to succeed in this business, you have to excel in more than one area."

ON NOW SEEING WHY CHEVY HAS BEEN DOMINANT FOR SO MANY YEARS: "You know, I won't know how to answer that question other than that NASCAR does the very best they can to regulate the competition. A lot of the results have to do with the people working on it. What you do with what you have to work with makes a big difference. There are certain times when a manufacturer has a clear advantage big time like in 1998 I remember that the Ford had a big advantage. But not very often do you see that in this business. What you see is teams working together and excel with whatever it is they are working with. I feel that the field is very level out there right now and on any given weekend the results would be different with just a drop of a hat.

ON WHY HE IS SO AT PEACE WITH HIS LIFE RIGHT NOW: "Because respect means more to me than that trophy. I don't know how much respect you can hold on to when you are fighting a losing battle. Respect is the main ingredient of what really makes me tick and also satisfies me. I am not walking away from racing. I might have a tough time, I don't know. It wouldn't be as easy if I had hung up my helmet that it was to set it aside every two weeks once in a while. If I hadn't raced Cup this year, I would have raced something. I can't imagine in the next 10 years driving something sometimes because that is what I want to do. Any professional who has done something all of their life, whether it is writing or racing or shooting basketballs, or whatever, if that is what is what they have done since they were a little kid, and they were really, really good at it, it is not going to be easy for them to quit doing that.

"It is a problem for not just athletes, but for everybody. I think that is the standard for everybody, it is hard to quit doing something that you love for so long."

ON WHAT HE WILL BE DOING NEXT WEEKEND WHEN HE IS NOT RACING AT TALLADEGA: "I will be racing with Ricky Carmichael and Matt (Martin, his son)."

ON CAR OF TOMORROW: "Well, it going to be all new to me except I have been at all of the tests so far and have driven at all the tests and all. I don't really have much thought about it. I hope it goes as good as everything else. This team has been incredible. I have had huge horsepower with the Hendrick engines and great reliability. Some of the best race cars I have ever driven. I am sure if this one isn't, we will fix it for the next time. This is a great team and so far our testing has been competitive.

"A lot of people have speculated that this car would suit the old guys. It won't suit my driving style if it doesn't turn and that is the main problem with these cars. If anything it is going to be anti my style. I can't stand a car that pushes. There is our challenge. It was pitiful the first time I drove it, it was fair at Bristol, wasn't so good Caraway. It was really good a Richmond. Feel wise I felt the car was as good or better than any car I have ever driven there. We weren't the fastest car but I really like the way it drove. So I was real encouraged to come here. This will be my first event in the Impala.

"I don't know that the aero will be a big thing here. Everybody has got the same car. I don't think we are going fast enough to have major aero issues. This is a good track for this car. Richmond and here I think is good. Maybe more interesting at Darlington. I think it will be real real interesting at bigger tracks. I think if we had had it at Texas I don't think it would have been so great. We were complaining about the other car not turning well and this car inherently has a huge issue because we have been limited to half the front suspension we had with the other car. There is nothing about the COT that is a big deal other than that. The wing, is no big deal. More room, bigger greenhouse, none of that stuff is no big deal. But taking half the front suspension away is going to have the teams and the drivers squirming, it is a real challenge."

ON KYLE BUSCH LEAVING TRACK LAST WEEK: "It is the crew chief's decision is whether he wants to work on that driver's stuff. He shouldn't really have a decision on what the driver does, he should just have a decision on what he does and everybody is different. It is everyone's own decision.

ON HIS OPINION ABOUT DALE, JR. JUMPING IN THE NO. 5 CAR: "Now you are asking me for my opinion and It is my opinion that everyone who is talking about what Dale, Jr. did last weekend, everyone who is saying that was wrong are wrong. Why not, what is wrong with that? In Dale, Jr., case it probably needed to be a Chevy, but beyond that, what is wrong with that.

"Like Dale said, it is a throw back to the old days. What is wrong with respecting the way it used to be a little bit. That is just my opinion. Other people are probably going to have the opinion that well that was three points the No. 5 might knock you out of the Chase over. Back in the day, we didn't worry about that so much because we were racers. When a friend or people you like, he (Dale, Jr.) likes and respects the people that work on the No. 5 car and when they asked him, he was honored by that. You know that he is going to do that. He didn't get a committee together and consult them, he did what he felt like he wanted and was right to do. That is what I think, I support him 100%."

ON WHAT IT WILL FEEL LIKE TO WIN AT CUP LEVEL WITH ANOTHER TEAM: "These guys deserve to win. They are so incredibly good. Ryan (Pemberton) and all the guys on this team. The big deal to me will see them, their enthusiasm their excitement, it will be about them, it won't be about me. The thing is I have driven for so many different teams, Jack Roush and other teams. I won races for Bill Davis in his Busch car and others, mostly Roush Truck, Cup and Busch but so many different teams. So many different dashes, switch panels and all that stuff, the thing that I remember about those wins are like the Mike Beam and crew at Daytona or whenever we won a truck race. Or Ben Lesley and the guys at Charlotte in 2002. A lot of those guys had never been in victory lane. They had never won a Cup race, maybe never even won a race at all, I don't know. I know they had not won in Cup. That is what I remember, not anything about me and what I felt like. I don't know where the trophy is. I know it is in the museum somewhere but I haven't walked up and looked at it. That is not what I remember; I remember the faces and the thrill and the team and how much they enjoyed it. That is what this would be about if we were able to make it happen, that is what would mean the most to me. I wouldn't think about Jack Roush or Bobby Ginn, I would think about Jay Frye and Ryan and the other guys who have given their guts for this and deserve it."

-credit: gm racing

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Ricky Carmichael , Jack Roush , Mark Martin