CONCORD,N.C. -- This past Friday evening, Mark Martin stood on stage beside Hendrick Motorsports owner Rick Hendrick as they were both inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame class of 2017.
The two men have a history, as Martin came out of retirement to pilot the No. 5 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet from 2009 to 2011. He finished a close second to teammate Jimmie Johnson in the 2009 season standings and visited Victory Lane five times.
The two new members of the Hall of Fame shared the spotlight again Saturday during NASCAR Fan Appreciation Day.
As the duo took part in a question-and-answer session, Martin reflected back on the 2009 season as one of the best times of his life.
"It was an honor beyond belief to be a part of Hendrick Motorsports and work with the incredible people and organization he (Hendrick) has there," Martin said. "Every single day that I came home from that race shop I was beaming with a smile and I felt like I had just gone to NASA and was their main test pilot. What an organization that was to work with."
Hendrick was just as thrilled to have Martin come aboard and said the driver contributed so much to the organization during his time there.
"You made us better," Hendrick told Martin. "If you watched Mark Martin’s career, everywhere he’s been, that organization’s gotten better because he's laser-focused. He’s got so much talent."
Meanwhile, Martin lauded Hendrick's way with people as one of the big reason's the organization has flourished since 1984.
"Rick has a vision and that’s why he’s been so successful," Martin said. "He has a way with people. I worked there -- I know every single human being in that place wants to succeed for Rick, not for themselves. And that’s a real talent that I don’t know if you can teach that or not. I’ve tried to implement that in my life but I’m not near as good at it as Rick.”