A move to Hendrick Motorsports and the #5 Chevrolet has rejuvenated Mark Martin's career to the tune of four victories and three poles in 2009.
After two years of running partial schedules, why has Martin been able to return to full-time Sprint Cup racing at age 50 without missing a beat? Is he as good as ever?
put those questions to Martin, who is eleventh in the Sprint Cup standings going into Sunday's Allstate 400 at the Brickyard...
"I'm short in some areas, where I've diminished a little bit, but what I do is use the strengths that I have and accentuate those strengths. Let me give you an example. You can't measure this, but I know that my reaction times — it may be a millisecond — but I know that my reaction times are not what they were 15 or 20 years ago. I know that. But I also know that what I do when I react is tempered by those 20 years of experience.
"There's a limit to my talent, but there is nobody in this sport that works any harder at this than I do, or pays any more attention or anything else. A lot of times that diminishes — how much you're willing to give as you do this for a long, long time. I'm either all the way in or all the way out.
"I'm insanely driven, and I came back full time so that I could drive the #5 car because I thought that I might have a chance to win driving equipment that good, and I want to still experience that while I can, before that's not an option in my life anymore. And I'm really blessed with the opportunities that I have.
"I'm pretty competitive, and pretty obsessive-compulsive, and I'm able to give these guys everything I've got. I'm not distracted by other things in life right now."
By Mark Martin, as told to Reid Spencer