Sunday, April 7, 2013
Following Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Martinsville, sidelined driver Denny Hamlin shared with Bob Dillner on NASCAR Victory Lane the struggles he faced watching substitute driver Mark Martin drive his No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota in the race.
Following are Hamlin’s comments to Speed TV:
Q: How tough was it to watch Mark Martin drive your race car?
Hamlin: “It was tough for me. It was easy for Jimmie (Johnson, winner). I told him he got a layup this time – it ain’t going to be that easy when we come back in the fall. But I’m proud of the effort that Mark Martin did. He is a guy that has been around longer than any driver in our sport but he wants to be treated like a rookie. He wants constant information all the time, and I just tried to do the best I could to give him the information when he needed it. Just proud to get a top 10 with Mark here. I think he did an amazing job and kept us going in the owners’ points like we needed to.”
Q: What was the most difficult part for you today?
Hamlin: “The start of the race was nothing like I thought it was. I thought I was over it before I even got to the race track and thought that (I was) emotionally tough enough to get through it, but the start of the race absolutely killed me. That was very, very tough to watch. So I didn’t realize the physical toll that coming out here all three days was going to take on me, so I might back off a little bit in the future … come for one or two days to keep from rusting out. But I just want to get on the race track as soon as I possibly can, and I’m going to do everything I can to do that.”