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Q&A: Mark Martin

Q&A: Mark Martin

Lee Spencer

Mark Martin, 46, gained a berth in the Chase for the NASCAR Nextel Cup in what was supposed to be his last season as a full-time driven But his planned retirement might be put off a year, giving him one more chance to add to his Cup legacy.

TSN: Are you going to stay in the No. 6 car next year?

MARTIN: I couldn’t say that definitely, but it looks real strong–and every day it looks stronger. I don’t think if I were Chip Ganassi that I would let Jamie (McMurray) go. You know? He’s an awesome driver. I thought he was the most sought-after driver in the garage. I thought it was a coup when Jack (Roush) signed him up for ’07. Jamie had choices, and he made the choice to come here.

I’m committed to this team. They put me here. They put me in this Chase. They made supreme sacrifices so I could be in this Chase. That’s what I asked them to do, and I respect that 100 percent. I refuse to leave them hanging. That’s not me. I’m not going to leave them hanging. I’m not going to put them in a position to do a one-year driver and then deal with three drivers in three years. We’re not going to do that. That’s the man that I am. That’s my commitment.

TSN: How has the merger between the Roush and Yates engine programs improved your cars?

MARTIN: The merger was fantastic for everyone. Last year, we had really good cars, and a lot of that came from the engineering group, the crew chiefs and the drivers. But the engines are fabulous. Last year, we had some mechanical failures–I broke four engines. This year, I haven’t broken any–period–and the horsepower is awesome. That’s what we need. We need that kind of reliability and horsepower, and we have both.

TSN: What can you say about Jack Roush having five cars in the Chase?

MARTIN: I love it. Jack has worked for it. He deserves it. That says something about the man.

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