RICHMOND, Va. - Mark Martin has never been one to mince words, and he seems even less inclined to worry about ruffling feathers now that he's racing part time.
Take the topic of burnouts, for example, that moment after a victory when many drivers smoke their tires so much that the car is enveloped in a cloud, often to the delight of fans.
"I think they're real juvenile," Martin said. "It's disrespectful to the equipment, but it makes good TV. ... If I did a burnout, I would wreck, so I'm not going to do it."
Martin said the closest he's come was when his car slid onto the grass at Lowe's Motor Speedway after he won the Coca-Cola 600.
"That was a stretch for me," he said. "I'll just collect the hardware. I'd rather take the checkered flag and hurry on to Victory Lane and get there so I can start enjoying it."
Many drivers, however, don't share Martin's view.
H.A. "Humpy" Wheeler, president of the Charlotte area track, has added a burnout competition to the activities associated with the all-star race May 17th. Competitors will spin their tires, do two doughnuts and then spin into Victory Lane before the main event.
Five drivers will compete in the burnout competition.
Jimmie Johnson, whose 33 career victories have afforded him plenty of practice, said the key is getting the car into second or third gear to get the tires really smoking hot.
The coolest burnout he's seen, he said, came when Jack Sprague got his tires going so fast they caught fire. He's tried matching that feat, but said his tires always blow.