MARK MARTIN, NO. 8 U.S. ARMY IMPALA SS, met with members of the media at Richmond International Raceway and discussed being on the bubble heading in to this race, improvements in ECR engine program, Joey Logano, the Chase and other...
MARK MARTIN, NO. 8 U.S. ARMY IMPALA SS, met with members of the media at Richmond International Raceway and discussed being on the bubble heading in to this race, improvements in ECR engine program, Joey Logano, the Chase and other subjects.
WHAT WAS IT LIKE FOR YOU IN '04 AND '06 BEING IN A BUBBLE POSITION GOING IN TO THIS RACE? "That was tough. Especially '04. We were more comfortable in '06. That was as much stress as I have ever been under for a period of time. The frustration really started to build at Indy when we had a flat tire with two laps to go. That was tough. It meant a lot to me to make it. I know it does to everyone, but it really meant a lot to me."
TALK ABOUT THE ENGINE DEVELOPMENT YOU HAVE DONE FOR EARNHARDT CHILDRESS RACING AND THE IMPROVEMENTS YOU HAVE SEEN: "They have made some gains and obviously the reliability is there to go with it. Right now our engines are capable of running with anything on the race track. Out running a lot of them and running with the best ones on the track right now."
IS ANYONE GOING TO BE ABLE TO CONTEND WITH KYLE (BUSCH), CARL (EDWARDS) AND MAYBE JIMMIE (JOHNSON)? "Remember last year? Just thinking of Clint Bowyer. I just think I would be careful making that kind of statement when I thought about last year. I think that anybody that is in it, all they have to do is put together a 10-race, unexplainable hot streak. Don't tell that has never happened. (LAUGHS)."
HOW MUCH CREDIT TO YOU TAKE IN HELPING JOEY LOGANO GET HIS BIG BREAK? "None. I didn't do it, he did it. And his Dad. His Dad deserves maybe more than 50%. His Dad molded the man that he is and helped him realize his dreams. The kid has got in there and done it ever since he was 10 years old."
DOES IT SURPRISE YOU THAT THEY TRUSTED HIM BEHIND THE WHEEL OF THE FAMILY CAR AT SEVEN YEARS OLD? "That doesn't really surprise me. In this day and age, it might be different. That sounds like the early '70s to me where I came from. Some people do a lot of things really good, more people do one thing really good and they are lucky that they can. Then some just aren't that blessed. He is one of those that is blessed by certainly being able to do that well everything in conjunction with the racing thing."
WHAT WAS IT THAT CAUGHT YOUR EYE THE FIRST TIME YOU SAW HIM? "I know what I am looking at. I knew he was better than the rest. Same thing you see today, just amazing. Same thing. He is fast; he knows what he is doing. I am not going to ever answer that question."
HOW DO YOU EVALUATE YOUNG TALENT LIKE THAT WITHOUT A DRIVER DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM? "It would be like the high jump. One guy does five feet. Another guy does six feet and another guy does seven feet. Nobody has ever done eight and this guy does eight. I think he is better than the other guys. It is that simple. You are making a very complex question out of something that is, to me, very simple. It is just not that complex. He is better than everyone else in his league."
HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT HIM MAKING HIS DEBUT IN THE LAST RACE TO MAKE THE CHASE? "What is wrong with that?"
SOME PEOPLE HAVE COMPLAINED ABOUT THAT. "Who is that? He will probably out run them."
IS THIS RACE SORT OF A WILD CARD RACE? "No, it's still a race. Everybody is here to race. It's not that much different, really."
DO YOU VALUE YOUR OFF-WEEKENDS MORE AND MORE NOW, KNOWING THAT YOU WILL BE RACING FULL-TIME NEXT YEAR? "Oh, you'd better believe it. We're really making the most out of them. It's really been good. I'm living a dream, I really am."
BEFORE MOTOR COACHES, WERE DRIVER LOUNGES USED AS A GATHERING PLACE FOR DRIVERS? "I never did use them. I didn't know there were any to speak of. I don't know that they were ever used as a gathering place. I've been around since '82. If they had them and people gathered there, I didn't know about them. I raced through 1990 without a lounge in the trailer. Roush had work trailers. There were no lounges in them. We came to the race track and hung out in the trailer and when we finished, we went back to the motel or went to the motor home. I got a motor home in 1989. I was one of the first handful of drivers that had motor homes. Morgan Shepherd and Jeff Bodine had motor homes and that was about it."
GOING INTO THE CHASE, DO YOU LIKE IT BETTER WITH 10 DRIVERS OR 12 DRIVERS? "Well, I liked better it when it was 10. And then the first year they went to 12, and I thought that was too many. And then I got used to that idea and it's fine, and sometimes wonder if it should be 15. They make the rules and we play by them."
-credit: gm racing