NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Mark Martin joined Dave Despain Sunday on Wind Tunnel and debunked rumors he is interested in becoming a NASCAR team owner upon his departure from Hendrick Motorsports at the end of the season. Following are excerpts from the interview:
Despain: Do you want to be an owner in NASCAR?
Martin: “No, Dave, I don’t. I am very interested and would love to commit to Jay Frye (Red Bull Racing vice president and general manager) and that organization to help Jay move forward and rebuild that organization in all forms. There‘s a lot of things I want to do in the sport still, including driving race cars, and outside of driving race cars. But as an equity owner, I can’t see it happening anywhere. I’m not interested in doing that.”
Despain: So, what are you interested in doing outside race cars?
Martin: “I just think that I’ve got something to offer to a race team. I love racing and I love NASCAR. I’ve done it ever since I was 15 years old. I thought in 2005 that I wanted to go home and sit on the couch for the rest of my life. That’s not the case … it seemed like a good idea at the time and I tried that. But I know what I want to do. I want to be a part of the sport that I love so much and all the people. Driving race cars is cool. My time is somewhat limited in that area and there are other things I can do to help race teams. I can bring something to the table. I’m interested in getting an opportunity to do that. I’m really excited about 2012 and opening a new chapter in my life. I’ve had the time of my life being part of Hendrick Motorsports. I’ve won eight or nine poles and five races, all big bonuses to what I’d expected when I was sitting looking at things in 2008. I’ve had the time of my life but it’s time to open the next chapter and I’m really excited about it. I couldn’t be more excited about what comes next and I’m not sure what that is. But it’s going to be fun and I’m looking forward to it.”
Despain: How interested are you in having driving be at least a component of what package you put together? Is it important to you to still be in the seat at some level next year or are you comfortable with the idea that you might not be doing that?
Martin: “Dave, I’m comfortable with the idea but all anybody in the garage wants to talk to me about is driving their stuff. So, for me to be involved in racing, it’s more likely that it will be in the driving part than anything else. I’m cool with it. On a good day, I still can hold my own out there on the race track but it’s not that important to me. What’s important to me is being a part of the sport and being a part of something that’s successful. Winning races is really, really awesome and I’d like to drive something that I can win races in, but also a great challenge is helping a race team who is not on that level try to creep toward that level also is a great challenge for me and something that I would look forward to, too. There are all kind of different things out there. This is going to be a crazy silly season. We’re going to be faced with the toughest year economically, I think, in 2012 that we’ve ever been faced with and I think there are going to be a lot of challenges. I think the silly season really is going to go down to the last part of the year. It may be November, December before I know exactly what it is that I’m doing and I’m fine with that because, like I said before, I do this because I love it and not because I need a job.”
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