Hendrick Motorsports

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Take Five: Catching up with the No. 5 Kellogg's/CARQUEST team

FORT WORTH, Texas (April 7, 2009)—Bart Starr has logged almost 15,000 miles driving Mark Martin’s coach to NASCAR Sprint Cup Series events this season. A former blogger, Starr decided to share his insight before he makes the trek for Phoenix International Raceway:

“Just the other day I was at an appearance with Mark in Highland Village, Texas, and a fan in line asked me why I don’t write blogs anymore. So, here’s the first blog of the year.  And I know I’ve been slacking.

“I’ve logged about 15,000 miles on the coach already this year. I’ve been at every race so far, and I think that’s how the rest of the year will go. Sonoma is always questionable, but I’ll be at all the rest of them.

“I’ve been asked if it’s hard getting used to a new team, but really it’s no big deal. I used to drive the No. 6 transporter back when Mark raced that car, so I know “Squirrel,” the 5 team’s truck driver (Dean Mozingo) real well. I’m getting to know the rest of the guys, too, and I gotta say, this is a fun group. Mark really likes being around them, too. He seems pretty comfortable, which is always a good thing.

“Alan (Gustafson), the crew chief, is a fan of the Florida Gators, so when he heard Tim Tebow was at Daytona, we went over to meet him. I had to give him some quarterbacking tips, from one former quarterback to a future star. I think his game should be better this year…if he takes what I say to heart. I mean, I am a two-time Super Bowl MVP from my days with the Packers!

“Out in California, a buddy and I went down to Los Angeles and hung out with some new friends at the Rainbow Room on the Sunset Strip.  This place is bad, in the good sense of the word. The history of rock here and the people that have hung out here…it’s just a cool place. They play only rock music. And I met some celebrities, but I’ll keep those names to myself.

“In Vegas the following week, Mark had an appearance with some Kellogg’s guests at a go-kart track. I’m not one to just sit back and watch, so I got in and raced against Alan. He killed me. I had nothing for him. I think his go-kart was pretty souped up though. I couldn’t even get close.

“Vegas is one of my favorite places we go to because I get to see some old buddies. Not many people know, but Carrot Top, the comedian, is a big fan of Mark’s. He was hanging out at driver intros with us. And a new guy that I like a lot, Ron White, best known for his “Tater Salad” bit, was with us, too. These guys are funny. Like real funny. Not just putting on a show, but genuinely cool guys to talk to.

“Ok…so this week I’m driving to Phoenix. My buddies Archie, who drives Jeff Gordon’s coach and Rodney, Matt Kenseth’s driver, are planning to stop by Tombstone. This is the city the movie was based on. There are historical buildings there, and apparently they put on some shootouts that will be pretty cool.

“Going into Phoenix, though, one memory stands out. The past few races, it seems like Mark’s car runs out of fuel there a lot. So, last year, Kevin Woods and I were kinda helping to push the car back into the garage area. Mark wasn’t the happiest at that point, so he shoved the car in gear, which is basically like pulling the e-brake. That spoiler shoved so hard into my rib cage. No matter what happens, I’m done pushing cars.

“Oh… and about the picture. I was getting a little restless during Mark’s FOX shoot this year at Daytona. With all of us just standing around there, the wardrobe people should be smarter than to just leave a rack of costumes sitting out. I was tempted to keep the Superman cape. They’re lucky they got that one back.

“Maybe I’ll have a win to write about soon…”