NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES
ATLANTA MOTOR SPEEDWAY
TEAM CHEVY DRIVER PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT
AUGUST 31, 2013
MARK MARTIN, NO. 14 BASS PRO SHOPS/MOBIL 1 CHEVROLET SS, met with members of the media at Atlanta Motor Speedway and discussed what the team will be working on in final practice today, his plans for 2014 and other topics. Full Transcript:
YOU WERE ONE OF THE EARLY CARS OUT YESTERDAY FOR QUALIFYING WHICH PROBABLY MEANS YOU DIDN'T GET THE LAP THAT YOU WOULD HAVE LIKED. WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE GET ACCOMPLISHED TODAY DURING PRACTICE?
"Just get a little bit more time to get the car more comfortable. The car is still quite a bit different than what I have been driving for a couple of years. The car felt pretty good. We did some race trim stuff yesterday before we went into qualifying trim and the car actually seemed to have good speed and felt pretty good. We definitely have some things we thought about and want to work on today to try to improve the car and work all over the race track to check out the multiple grooves. It's going to be hot and slick for sure and it will be a challenge for us to get those things handling good in this heat."
CAN YOU GIVE AN EXPLANATION WHY YOU FOR NEXT YEAR WILL LEAVE THE MICHAEL WALTRIP TEAM? WHAT WAS THE MAIN REASON?
"Because everybody won in that situation. Brian Vickers, MWR (Michael Waltrip Racing) had secured Brain Vickers for a two year contract to race for a championship. Aaron's had signed on board to fully sponsor the car for the next two years. Everything that Michael (Waltrip) and I hoped to accomplish when we entered into that scenario was accomplished. It was a win for them to get a chance to start with Brain. Get a head start with Brain and because Tony (Stewart) asked me if I could come do that. That is why."
AS A GUY WHO HAS DRIVEN A LOT OF DIFFERENT THINGS OVER THE YEARS CAN YOU FEEL ANY DIFFERENCE AT ALL FROM THE DRIVERS SEAT WITH THE NEW DUAL TREAD TIRE?
"You know what I thought the tire had exceptional grip yesterday for the pavement. We have really complained as drivers quite a bit about the grip level the last few years here. The combination of the Gen-6 and the tire seem to work pretty well. The biggest thing is that hopefully it gives us the durability that we really need for these high speeds and these long turns. I think it's probably a really good scenario because it pushes the teams to protect themselves by putting softer rubber on the outer part of the tire it pushes the teams to try to get out there on that instead of the fast inside shoulder which is problematic. We certainly don't need to abuse the inside shoulders here and fail right-front's at this race track with these speeds. I think it's a very smart move because it encourages the teams to take a little camber out maybe and it gives us better grip than we would have if had the really hard stuff all the way across the tires."
ANY PROGRESS ON 2014 WHAT YOUR PLANS MIGHT BE?
"You know I was thinking about it and had some discussions before Tony's (Stewart) injury. I will be real honest with you I could care less about 2014 right now because I am doing all I can to tread water. Making this change was pretty huge because not only is it different crew guys work on the car which really isn't a huge thing, but it's a whole different thought process, it's a whole different bunch of guys that I didn't have a chance to go to test in February and go hang out in the shop. Just jumping right in it added, I don't know, about three races to my schedule what I had so I picked up three additional races. So I am really pushed and driven to try to get immersed in this team and figure out what I like in these cars so that we can start putting that in there week to week. We are still just throwing stuff at the car and me saying ‘nah, yeah that's better, nah'. When you find something that really feels good to you there is a sense of continuity from track to track you can use that same logic. You might not use the same springs and all but you can use the same logic and you can simulate it out and shoot for those same kind of feels at other race tracks. We are not there yet obviously. This is not like making a change over the winter. It's not like stepping out of a MWR (Michael Waltrip Racing) Toyota into even a (Joe) Gibbs Toyota like I did at Martinsville. There is just a lot going on.
"And I'd like to say one more thing to Wolfgang (media member with question). I think everybody in here heard what I said in February. I'm not a candidate for the No. 55 car for 2014. I did not want to drive that car. It was because I wanted to see those guys run for a championship, which is something I'm not going to do. So, I had really built a strong relationship with those guys and they're championship material and I want to see them be able to go out there and go after that. So, for me, making a decision on what I do in 2014 is not important right now. I'm in no hurry because I'm not really worried about what I do. I do have a focus on what I can do in NASCAR. I want to do more in NASCAR than drive race cars. I want to do more than that. I had a good time at MWR and they let me be a part of that organization a little bit more than just to show up and drive, driver; and I want to grow more of that. So that's of great interest to me and is where my primary focus was before Tony's (Stewart) No. 14 car came up. After that, it's like I'm not worried. I've got to stay focused on what's in front of me."
HAVE YOU AND ARLENE MOVED TO NORTH CAROLINA AND MADE THAT YOUR RESIDENCE AS OF NOW?
"You're on to something but not completely. This is the craziest thing. My son, Matt, lives in our house in Arkansas and we live in his house in North Carolina. So, I'm not sure this is working like it's supposed to. But he has a place in North Carolina and we do spend a good bit of time there. He's going to school in Arkansas, so he stays at our house in Arkansas. So, that's kind of what we're doing right now. We don't have a permanent residence there but we've got a place to stay. I spent a lot of time there last year and am going to spend more time going forward because like I said before, I am going to find a niche in this sport that goes beyond driving. And so if I'm going to do that, I've got to be around more."
WHAT YOU JUST SAID ABOUT BEING MORE INVOLVED WITH NASCAR, A MOVE TO THE CAROLINAS OBVIOUSLY MAKES SENSE. ARE YOU STILL KEEPING YOUR PLACE IN FLORIDA?
"Yes, we're not giving it up. We've been there 20 years. We're not giving up on that. But right now we have a lot going on in the Carolinas and enjoy getting back to Arkansas as well. I do have a place in Batesville and we enjoy getting back there. But, the business at-hand is really in Charlotte. We have been there for a couple of years now, more than we used to. And we do have a place to stay there. So, I'm getting in position. I'm positioning myself for the future, long-term."
YOU WERE THE FIRST GUY TO INTRODUCE US (MEDIA) TO JOEY LOGANO. AS IT TURNS OUT, IT LOOKS LIKE HE'S GOING TO BE OKAY (LAUGHTER). WHAT DO YOU SEE IN KYLE LARSON? IF KYLE LARSON CAME TO YOU FOR ADVICE ON HOW TO HANDLE THIS JOB OFF THE RACE TRACK, WHAT WOULD YOU TELL HIM?
"To answer the last question first, I would answer his question in specifics. He wouldn't ask me in general like your question was. He would ask me with more specifics and I would answer him honestly on my opinion on whatever specific thing that he was pondering. What I see in Kyle Larson is the same thing as what you guys see. Strapped in a race car, one that didn't normally always run in the top 5 and almost normally does run in the top 5 now with little or no experience, whether it's a car or a truck or whatever he's done. It's just real plain. You just turn on the TV, watch the race and say he's never done that before but it sure looks like he has. It was a little bit like when I saw Joey Logano and he was 11 years old here at this track and I saw him race. I'd already heard about him. And when I saw him race, he raced like a man, not like an 11 year-old kid. So, different, but Kyle Larson is very obvious (laughs). It's just obvious. You just look at his results and they are amazing."