The 40-time NASCAR winner offers opinions on the new NASCAR
Mark Martin is the best NASCAR Cup Series series driver that never won a championship. However, he finished 2nd, five times and collected 40 race wins along the way.
The 64-year-old made his NASCAR Cup Series debut in 1981. He made his final start in 2013 with Stewart-Haas Racing.
The driver from Batesville, Arkansas spent an incredible 31 years at the highest level of stock car racing. Along the way, Martin saw the sport change, drastically.
Since his retirement, NASCAR has taken extreme measures to the get the garage under control. In the 2022 season, NASCAR introduced a spec chassis. The chassis itself is identical from team to team. Many bolt on parts also come from a single-source supplier.
The playing field is more level than it’s ever been.
Mark Martin talks the Next Gen car
“I’ve seen the best racing in NASCAR history since that car’s come out,” Mark Martin stated via the Kenny Wallace show while speaking on the Next Gen car.
“The best in history. So, stop complaining about it. The other side of it is, I don’t like it. Would hate it, would hate to be driving now. And, they ain’t saved no money yet.”
“It looks like a sportscar underneath, it doesn’t look like a NASCAR car. I don’t like old people saying how great it was when they were growing up and how junk it is now. Because I young guy and I had to listen to that when I was coming up. And, I’m not going to do that.”
“The concept was solid. And the damn competition is unbelievable. It is here, it’s here to stay. Lets improve on it and go forward.”
“My voice, it matters to the fans. It doesn’t matter to the important people. It doesn’t matter that much to NASCAR. I never had NASCAR’s ear like Dale Sr had.”
With a spec chassis, it’s more important than ever to keep the garage within the rule book. And, NASCAR has a laser scanning inspection tent, checking the entire body to the thousandths of an inch.
NASCAR has set the tone, handing out penalties like candy. Last year, Joe Gibbs Racing placed a piece of tape over the nose of their machines. It resulted in a DQ for race winner Denny Hamlin.
Joe Gibbs Racing puts nose tape on display after NASCAR DQ (Video)
“I understand, NASCAR has to have tight tolerances.” Martin added, “I understand where we are today, it don’t make me like it.”
How did the sport get here?
“These penalties, have to done. What happened? Even in the mid-90’s, you’d get beat at the race track. You’d cut the body off, you could push the tail to the right and inch and push the nose to the left an inch.”
“You can’t do that, 0.07 will get you thrown out of here. And that’s the biggest tolerance.”
“There’s a reason for that. Because we kept pushing.”
“Dirt late models are the last, best, racing we have. They have some rules but they don’t have so dang many that you can’t breathe.”
“Asphalt late models, it’s over. It’s just like NASCAR, you can’t do nothing.”
“It’s the day we live in. There’s so many smart people pushing so many buttons.”
“First, you had a long template. Everybody cheated all over the car, everywhere.”
“Then, you put cross templates on it. You just cheated everywhere else.”
“Then, you put the claw on it. You just cheated in-between the claw.”
“And then you get the eagle eye scan thing. We forced it to be that way. There wasn’t 2-3 smart people around, there were 100’s, doing it everywhere.”
“You just shouldn’t complain about all this tech inspection stuff. It has to be tight and enforced.”