Jeff Gordon says he will learn from having Mark Martin as his teammate as Hendrick Motorsports is expected to announce they have signed the NASCAR veteran to replace Casey Mears in 2009.
The four-times NASCAR Sprint Cup series champion was full of praise for Martin while speaking to reporters at Daytona International Speedway on Thursday. He said the 49-year-old is among the elite of Cup drivers.
"I love Mark Martin," Gordon said. "I think Mark Martin is probably the most awesome racecar driver I've ever raced with. I think that, you know, when I think of guys that should have won multiple championships, you know, he's one of them.
"And I think it's unfortunate that he hasn't because, you know, his track record, his talent, his commitment certainly deserve it.
"But, you know, I had an opportunity to race with him early on in the Busch Series, had a blast, learned a ton from him. You know, I always knew he was one of the most talented racecar drivers I've ever seen."
Gordon said he will learn from having Martin as his teammate and praised him for being in such great shape to still be competitive, despite being one of the most veteran drivers in the Cup field.
"You know, I learn from everybody," Gordon said. "But I absolutely will learn from Mark. Mark has amazing patience, but he has amazing drive and commitment. You know, you look at the shape that he's in."
"You know, there's not too many guys - I'm not saying he's old - I'm just saying not too many guys are out there, you know, or have been out there in the past at his age that are as competitive as he is through all the changes that have gone on through cars, teams, everything else. You know, that to me is one of the many things I admire about him."
Dale Earnhardt Jr also had good words for Martin and highlighted his positive approach, which he claims makes him a valuable asset to any team.
"Mark, in his history, especially of recent times, Mark's really taken on that role of being - he's very gracious, you know," Earnhardt said. "He wants to help. He wants to be an asset. He wants - whatever he's got within arm's reach, he wants to have a
positive effect on it, if it's a driver, a team, a crew, a crewman.
"You know, he just has a good work ethic to him."