Many roads lead into the world of NASCAR. Some are well traveled. Some, like the one taken by Greg Martin, rarely see any traffic.
Martin is the fuel runner for Kyle Busch's Sprint Cup team. Basically, he hands the second gas can off to the gas man during each pit stop, then rushes to refill both cans after the driver has left the pits.
"It's not really anything I dreamed about doing as a kid," Martin said. "I kind of started doing it by accident. A friend of mine got me into the garage area at a race at Riverside [Calif.]. That tells you how long ago it was. I had no intentions of doing this when I started. But I got hooked."
Martin has been with Joe Gibbs since 1998, when he retired as a federal agent. To this day he still teaches agents [and soldiers] how to drive offensively and defensively at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Brunswick, Ga. You would think that handling fuel cans wouldn't faze a grizzled law veteran like Martin. But you'd be wrong.
"That first time, I was real nervous," Martin said. "There are a lot of livelihoods on the line and they're expecting you to do your part out there."
The hectic schedule of traveling and working his two jobs are a minor inconvenience because Martin said he likes the people he works with so much.
"Working with, and for, such individuals as Joe and J.D. Gibbs to my fellow crewmembers has been nothing short of spectacular," Martin said. "They all make it worthwhile. I am often asked 'How can you work five days a week at FLETC, and two here [NASCAR]?' And I tell them it's Joe Gibbs Racing. I love what I do on Sundays."
The thing that coworkers on both jobs expect from Martin is a good story. He travels to every track on the weekends, where his fellow pit crew members want to hear all about his defensive driving gig.
When he flies home on Monday, the guys at the FLETC want to know all about the weekend's race. For the first time in a long time, Martin has been able to tell them about being in Victory Lane on a regular basis.
"Other guys on the team love talking about my job," he said. "Some of them want to come down and partake in some of the training. It's really fascinating to them. Then with the guys at home, they can't wait until I get back."
It's nice to be wanted, especially for a former Fed. He said he has become close to Busch. who wants to visit Martin's training center and do some of the driving.
The way the Sprint Cup's leading driver is going, Martin might need to teach the rest of the field a thing or two to keep the No. 18 from running away with it this year.