Mark Martin, driver of the No. 6 AAA Ford Fusion, is sixth in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series point standings with five races remaining until the Chase for the Nextel Cup begins. He spoke about his position in the standings and this weekend's race ...
Mark Martin, driver of the No. 6 AAA Ford Fusion, is sixth in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series point standings with five races remaining until the Chase for the Nextel Cup begins. He spoke about his position in the standings and this weekend's race before Friday's practice.
MARK MARTIN - No. 6 AAA Ford Fusion
ANOTHER YEAR AT WATKINS GLEN. "Yeah, I was thinking this morning driving in that I've been here quite a few times."
WILL YOU BE HERE NEXT YEAR, TOO? "I don't know about that. I don't think so. I'm not worried about it."
CAN YOU TALK ABOUT YOUR FUTURE AT ALL? "No, I really can't. I'm not worried about it."
IT'S REALLY CLOSE FROM THIRD ON BACK. THERE'S REALLY NOT MUCH ROOM FOR ERROR IS THERE? "We could have been 10th. If we would have had to pit there under the green with 20 to go, that would have dropped us to 10th. It's a dogfight from third on back, really. To be honest with you, third is not that far ahead of us and it all comes down right now to bad luck. We should be fine barring problems, but we've got four races to go yet and there are a lot of opportunities for things to go wrong and sometimes you just can't recover from those. I think that everyone in the top 13 or 14 are vulnerable to those kind of things."
ARE YOU TRYING TO BE MORE CONSERVATIVE AT ALL? "No, I got in a good position by racing like I race and that's what we'll continue to do."
DO YOU SEE THIS TRACK AS AN OPPORTUNITY TO CEMENT YOUR SPOT IN THE TOP 10? "I don't. I don't see this as an opportunity at all. This is just a level water line kind of race for us. We run good pretty much everywhere. I certainly don't feel that I run better here than anywhere else that we're coming up on, so we just keep on racing and give it everything that we have. I've put an awfully lot into this season and I'm looking forward to seeing how it turns out, and I'm looking forward to opening a new chapter in my life in some ways. I've been doing this stuff a long time and there's not much time for anything else, so I look forward to exploring some new things."
WHERE DOES YOUR TRUCK SITUATION STAND RIGHT NOW? "We have all the commitments done, except for Ford. Ford has not made their commitment for it yet."
SO YOU'VE SIGNED THE CONTRACT? "No. I won't sign a contract until Ford's commitment is done."
CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THE AAA DRIVER INITIATIVE? "I think we've been really effective, but you've got to keep going. You can't get the message out there one time and then let it go. We have to continue to follow up and then support it and back it up with more. They're talking about an eventual change in thinking and the way people think and the way that things are done going into the future."
IS IT FOR PARENTS OR TEEN DRIVERS? "It's for both. The best role models out there for teen drivers are their parents and they are, in a lot of ways, provide direction and leadership for the young people."
DO YOU HAVE A TEEN DRIVER IN YOUR FAMILY? "I have a teen race car driver, but he's 14 so he's not driving on the road yet."
DO KIDS DRIVE BETTER OR WORSE TODAY THAN YEARS AGO? "The world is different than it was, so the world has become more safety conscious. There's more traffic and there are more intersections and more opportunities for things to go wrong. We're a lot more safety conscious today than we were when I was growing up, so there have been gains made, but there's still room for improvement."
ARE YOU SATISFIED WITH THE SEASON? "It's been a good year. It's been great working with AAA on important issues and issues that are important to me. We've had some great performances on the race track and I'm glad that I was able to help our team out, AAA, and the 6 car, and Roush Roush, and everything, and not much considering doing it again."
WAS IT A DIFFICULT DECISION TO COME BACK FOR ONE MORE YEAR? "A little bit, but to put it plain and simple, when I need help and I ask somebody to help me, I want them to do it."
THERE HASN'T BEEN QUALIFYING THE LAST TWO YEARS HERE. WHAT'S IT GOING TO TAKE TO HAVE A GOOD LAP HERE? "It's the same as it's been for the 19 years I've been coming up here - a fast car and getting a good lap."
DO YOU THINK YOU'LL BE ABLE TO DO THAT WITHOUT HAVING QUALIFYING THE LAST COUPLE OF YEARS? "It depends on my car."
WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT MICHIGAN NEXT WEEK? "I hadn't thought about Michigan yet. I love the race track, I really do. I always look forward to going up there and race, but I haven't thought much about it yet."
HAVING THE START-FINISH LINE FURTHER DOWN THE COURSE HERE, WILL THAT PLAY A ROLE IN THE RACE? "I don't think so, but it might change a little bit of how the restarts go or something, but, for the most part, I don't think it'll make a big difference."
YOU DON'T THINK SOMEBODY MIGHT FEEL THEY'VE GOT MORE ROOM TO GET TO THE START-FINISH LINE AND MAYBE GET INTO SOMEBODY'S BUMPER? "No."
DO YOU THINK THEY SHOULD ADD THE CHASE FORMAT TO THE BUSCH AND TRUCK SERIES? "Yes."
SHOULD CUP GUYS HAVE TO RUN THE ENTIRE BUSCH SCHEDULE AND NOT BE ALLOWED TO DO THINGS LIKE ONE-OFFS? "I don't know what they should do. I really don't. The Truck Series seems pretty healthy and it's pretty much on its own. The Busch Series would be pretty weak right now if there were no Cup drivers in it. I don't know what the answer is. It sure would be a different look if you pulled them all out right now. I don't know if there would be a full field of cars. I don't know."
-credit: ford racing