Mark Martin has driven a lot of different cars throughout his racing career, but the Hendrick Motorsports’ machine he’s driving in 2009 has energized the 49-year-old veteran.
Martin spent Wednesday and Thursday testing tires for Goodyear at Las Vegas Motor Speedway with his new team.
“The switch to a new team has certainly rejuvenated my career,” Martin said. “It’s such an honor to be wanted by this team and to be welcomed to a new team is very flattering to me. Now the pressure is really on and I will have to work hard to keep up with the other guys. It’s unbelievable to be able to work with (crew chief) Alan (Gustaffson) and (team owner Rick) Hendrick. The depth and knowledge of that group is unbelievable and I am looking forward to the 2009 season. I’m a lucky dude.”
Martin was joined at the two-day test by Carl Edwards, Brian Vickers and David Stremme. Edwards, who won this year’s Sprint Cup event at LVMS, is hoping for a repeat performance. With NASCAR’s ban on testing in 2009, Edwards hopes test sessions like these will help him back to the Winner’s Circle.
“As far as testing, we would be fine if we didn’t, but it is nice to have the opportunity,” Edwards said. “Hopefully, these two days of testing will help us put on a lot of good races in 2009.”
The four drivers were not only testing for Goodyear, but also looking to improve their chances at a posting a victory in the Shelby 427 on March 1.
“Is it possible that this test session could be an advantage?” Martin asked. “I think that any experience you can get will be a premium factor in 2009. Drivers with experience can bring a little more to the team, test session or no test session. It’s about the time you’ve spent on the track.”
There were no incidents during the two-day session.