With John Carollo
I’m one of you. Long before my first article or big name interview and for as long as I can remember, I’ve been a stock car fan. So for that reason, my name doesn’t matter and neither does my photo. It’s more like we’re just sitting here in the grandstand before the race, talking about Chevys and NASCAR. Hey, you want a cold one? --JC

Mark Martin is Fired up!

e done got a complete wrap up of all our doin’s at the NASCAR Sprint Media Tour hosted by Lowe's Motor Speedway that you can see on another page of MaxChevy. So we’ll talk about a guy we caught up with there. He’s a driver we’ve always admired and now that he’s wheelin’ a Chevy, we talked him up right there.

A few years back it looked like Mark Martin was gonna retire. He was drivin’ a Roush Ford and most every time we saw him, he didn’t look to be having all that much fun. But that seems to be gone now and we’re happy to report ‘ol Mark is grinning like one of those Wall Street fat cats getting’ another bail out check. Yep, Mark is a happy boy these days. He’s got hisself a top ride and should have made its maiden run in the 51st Daytona 500 by the time you read this. Driving the Kellogg's/CARQUEST #5 Impala, Mark is running his first full season since 2006. Now, this ain’t the first time Mark run a Hendrick Chevy. He drove a Nationwide Series Chevy owned by Rick Hendrick three times in 2007, getting a second at Darlington. Last year, he wheeled up and won Las Vegas for JR Motorsports, which is co-owned by Hendrick and Dale Earnhardt Jr. His current Hendrick contract is for two years and the plan is to run a full season this year and then see what happens in 2010. ‘Course, he’s in some mighty powerful company with Jeff Gordon, Jimmy Johnson, and that Earnhardt cat for teammates.

Mark got to talkin’ recently and it’s easy to see he’s fired up. "I have been waiting for this day for nearly eight months now. The season could've started up the day after Homestead, and that would have been fine with me. I've gotten to know these guys through some tests. And I've been to the shop and really have gotten to see how they work and what all goes into this race team, and it's just incredible. These guys are working so hard. I'm just ready to see something come out of it all and so are they. I'm just so excited. Getting into that car at Daytona can't come soon enough."

And yeah, Daytona is still on Mark’s mind, "I came so close in 2007 and had a great car that year. This year, I think I'll probably have the best car I've ever had for Daytona and probably the best opportunity to go out there and win it. I want to have a great race car, and I think that's important. But there will be about 10 really good cars out there, and only one guy will have all the luck. I'd rather be lucky than good when it comes to the Daytona 500."

So is he really ready for a full time season? "I feel more prepared for this season than I ever have before. This team is really prepared, and they've been together for a long time, so there's nothing that I have to go and check up on, to ask about, to confirm. They have it all figured out. So, for the first time really, I only have to take care of myself. I've been able to really concentrate on working out. Eating healthy has always been important to me, so I've been paying a lot of attention to that -- getting the team a little healthier, too! I can't imagine anybody being more ready for 2009 than I am."