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ALTON -- The last time Dean Martin, driver of the No. 52 Rehagen Racing Ford Mustang GT, raced at Virginia International Raceway (VIR) he left with the GRAND-AM Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge 2009 Drivers’ Championship. This weekend Martin heads back to VIR coming off a win and ready to get back to one of his favorite tracks.
Q. YOU’RE COMING OFF A WIN AT BARBER MOTORSPORTS PARK. HOW DOES IT FEEL TO GET THAT FIRST WIN OF THE SEASON?
A. It feels pretty good. It was pretty unexpected to be honest. I wasn’t planning on driving at Barber and then to compound things and make them worse I was laid out on the couch in the motorhome about an hour before the start of the race with a really bad headache. I started the race not really feeling so well. It was a good race. We were prepared. We’re always ready to win. The guys do a great job preparing the car and the Mustang has always been a competitive car. We just played the strategy right and opportunities came and we managed to stay out front. It definitely feels good, but to honest, every time we go to the race track we expect a win. It was more about us meeting the goals instead of leaving disappointed.
Q. BARBER WAS THE FIRST TIME YOU WERE IN THE CAR DURING A RACE THIS SEASON. DID YOU HAVE ANY TIME IN THE CAR TO PREPARE FOR THE RACE BEFOREHAND?
A. Well, I haven’t actually driven in competition since October of last year. I was in the car at test days doing some shakedown and doing some testing in Daytona in early January. I hadn’t been in a car since that time, so I thought I was going to be a little off my game, not having been in the car and not having felt the pressures of competition yet this season. It’s like riding a bike, though, you never forget and can just come right back.
Q. DO YOU PLAN ON DRIVING AT VIR?
A. Right now it looks like I will be. I’m always trying to fill the seat with a funded driver because we’re short on sponsorship this year so we’re trying to find some funded drivers to drive the cars. We haven’t been able to do that for VIR so it looks like I’ll be in the car, which I’m looking forward to. VIR is one of my favorite tracks. It’s definitely in my top three.
Q. LAST SEASON YOU RACED AT VIR FOR THE LAST RACE OF THE SEASON. DOES IT CHANGE THE WAY YOU RACE HEADING THERE EARLY IN THE SEASON?
A. No, the only thing we’re worried about is rain. Typically, when you go to VIR this time of year you can count on getting soaked. Everyone brings twice the number of socks and a couple pairs of shoes. We’re prepared for rain, which is good for us. A technical, high-speed race track like VIR, rewards the better drivers and the better cars. If it does rain, we won’t be in too bad of shape.
Q. YOU’RE STILL DRIVING THE MUSTANG GT. WILL WE SEE YOU IN A BOSS 302R THIS SEASON?
A. We’re still driving the old car, but we plan on getting our new car soon. I’m really looking forward to getting it. We’re really looking forward to getting our new BOSS 302R. Right now, the tentative plan is that we should get it in June. I think we’ll bring it out as soon as we have it ready. The guys at Ford racing have been doing an awesome job at getting that car up to speed and developed in a short period of time and that’s why we waited. We knew that going in the early part of the season was going to be a time of development for the car, so we held off and continued to run our Mustang GT. We’re really looking forward to getting in the car as soon as possible.