NASCAR's Mark Martin
2007 Season Articles - May & June
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Martin Remains Popular Despite Part-time Schedule
June 28, 2007
Mooresville, N.C. - Mark Martin is the third most popular driver in NASCAR, according the 2007 Q Score Ratings. Martin ranks behind only Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jeff Gordon in the rating system conducted by N.Y. research firm Marketing Solutions. According to the firm, hundreds of millions in advertising decisions are based each year on the ratings. The survey is mailed each year to 2,000 people who identify themselves as fans of at least one sport.
Martin's score is made that much more impressive by his 'part-time' driving status in 2007.
"I don't pay much attention to that kind of stuff," said Martin. "But it is nice to know that you have fans out there that support you like mine do and that's what it all boils down to."
"Coming into the year, I didn't know what the interest would be like," added Martin. "I was with a new team and only driving a part-time schedule, but we've found the interest to be really awesome and I think we are proving that you can make this type of scenario work for our team and our sponsors.
"I think it says a lot about the type of fans that I have and the type of organization Ginn Racing is to be able to come into this thing and be so successful right off the bat."
Martin's fast start in 2007 - including a dramatic second-place finish at the Daytona 500 and walking away from full-time action with the Nextel Cup point lead - helped in Martin's popularity boom.
Martin's score of 22 ties with him with Danica Patrick as the third most popular driver in all of Motorsports, and is just behind Gordon (23) and Earnhardt Jr. (28). Michael Jordon topped the list with a score of 55.
Martin will take this weekend's race at Loudon off, before returning to action next weekend at Daytona International Speedway for the Pepsi 400. He will then race in the next three races at Chicagoland, Indianapolis and Pocono before sitting out Watkins Glen as part of his limited schedule in 2007.
Mark Martin Goes to Washington
June 25, 2007
Mark Martin spent two days last week in the nation's capital as a guest of the United States Army, his primary sponsor in the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series.
The Washington D.C. trip included stops at Walter Reed Army Medical Center to meet with wounded soldiers, a tour of the Pentagon and a visit to Arlington National Cemetery, where he, his wife Arlene and son Matt had the honor of placing a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
"It was just an awesome experience all around," said Martin. "I've been involved in a lot of sponsorships in my career, but this one with the U.S. Army is very special. It's an honor to drive the car for the Soldiers and it's an honor to get to do things like this."
"Visiting the wounded soldiers at Walter Reed was an experience that I'll never forget," added Martin. "They are truly an inspiration to me. They have given so much and yet are so positive and upbeat. They have the best attitudes that you can imagine and when you see it you have a new found respect for everyone involved in the fight for freedom. I was there to visit them, but it was those guys who inspired me."
Martin and his family were also inspired following a private tour of the Pentagon.
"The Pentagon is really cool," said Martin. "I had never been there before. My son Matt is a huge military history buff and I know that he had a really good time looking at all of the historical artifacts. There is so much history there, and we had a lot of fun enjoying that together."
Regarding the emotional visit to Arlington National Cemetery Martin said, "That was really an honor for all three of us. When you look out across the cemetery at all of those thousands of headstones, it really hits you. So many have given so much for our country and our freedom and I know that we all take that for granted sometimes. It was a great trip, as it allowed us to appreciate the effort and sacrifices made by so many.”
The Principal Financial Group Gives Mark Martin an Edge at Daytona
Primary car and TNT sponsorships put 2007 NASCAR program into gear for The Principal
DES MOINES, Iowa--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Principal Financial Group, the nation’s 401(k) leader (The Principal ranks number one in plans among companies that provide both administrative and investment services – 2006 Spectrem Group analysis of fully bundled 401(k) providers) and premiere benefits provider, will serve as primary sponsor of Mark Martin’s No. 01 Chevrolet during the NASCAR Nextel Cup race at Daytona International Speedway, July 7, 2007. The Principal will also feature Mark Martin and his Nextel Cup rookie co-driver Regan Smith in a two minute vignette airing as part of TNT’s Wide Open format of the live event broadcast.
“We’re proud to have our brand associated with someone of Mark Martin’s talent, commitment and character. Following his close second place finish in the Daytona 500, we are thrilled to support his return to Daytona International Speedway,” said Mary O’Keefe, senior vice president and chief marketing officer for the Principal Financial Group.
As a season-long associate sponsor of Ginn Racing’s three full-time Nextel Cup entries, Daytona marks the first of two Nextel Cup races where The Principal will serve as primary sponsor of the No. 01 Chevy. Regan Smith will pilot the Principal Financial Group Chevrolet September 16, in the Nextel Cup race at New Hampshire International Speedway. The Principal first joined Ginn Racing in August 2006 as an associate sponsor then increased its status in November to primary sponsor of Sterling Marlin’s No. 14 and Joe Nemechek’s No. 01 Chevys during the Nextel Cup race at Phoenix International Raceway.
“We are excited about having The Principal on board for the Daytona night race," said Martin. "The Principal Chevy is a good-looking race car and I know it’s going to look sharp under the lights. Hopefully we can come up with about three more feet and take the 01 car to Victory Lane.”
The U.S. Army, Martin’s and Smith’s primary sponsor for the balance of the 2007 Nextel Cup season, will have associate sponsor status on the 01 car in both Daytona and New Hampshire.
About the Principal Financial Group
The Principal Financial Group (The Principal - "The Principal Financial Group" and “The Principal” are registered service marks of Principal Financial Services, Inc., a member of the Principal Financial Group.) is a leader in offering businesses, individuals and institutional clients a wide range of financial products and services, including retirement and investment services, life and health insurance, and banking through its diverse family of financial services companies and national network of financial professionals. A member of the Fortune 500, the Principal Financial Group has $270.1 billion in assets under management (As of March 31, 2007 ) and serves some 17.6 million customers worldwide from offices in Asia, Australia, Europe, Latin America and the United States. Principal Financial Group, Inc. is traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol PFG. For more information, visit www.principal.com.
About Ginn Racing
Founded in July 1996, Ginn Racing (formerly known as MB2 Motorsports) has grown from a single-car NASCAR Cup team in an 8,000-square-foot shop to a multicar operation, which is currently housed in a 158,000-square-foot shop in Mooresville, N.C. Ginn Racing's lineup in the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series consists of the No. 01 Chevrolet that is co-driven by Mark Martin and rookie Regan Smith; the No. 13 Chevrolet, driven by Joe Nemechek; and the No. 14 Chevrolet, driven by Sterling Marlin. Ginn Racing also fields a NASCAR Busch team with drivers Smith and Kraig Kinser plus a driver development program with Jesus Hernandez and motocross champion Ricky Carmichael. For more information about Ginn Racing visit the company’s web site at www.ginnracing.com.
Mark Martin Race Report - Citizens Bank 400
Tough Day For Martin at Michigan; Finishes 29th
BROOKLYN, Mich. (June 17, 2007) – Mark Martin and the U.S. Army Team finished 29th Sunday at Michigan International Speedway. It was their toughest outing of the season.
"This was a difficult day," said Martin. "But the guys on the U.S. Army Team really hung in there. We were behind the eight ball from the start, but nobody gave up and we just kept working with the car all day. We weren't able to do much with it, but I'm proud of the effort all the same."
"I just wish we could have had a better finish for the Army's 232nd birthday," added Martin. "But I know it's an effort that our soldiers can be proud of. We didn't get the result, but nobody gave up."
Despite missing three races, Martin is 13th in driver points and the 01 Ginn Racing team remains fifth in owner points.
Martin started the race 15th, but fought an extremely tight race car in the beginning - losing 23 positions in the first 25 laps of the race.
The team was able to tighten the car during the first two pits stops, and with better handling, Martin battled his way back into the lucky dog position, earning back his lap when the second caution was issued on Lap 69 of 200.
Martin climbed back inside the top 20 by lap 79, but the U.S. Army team was hit with a dose of bad luck when the race's fourth caution was called on Lap 114, just four laps after the team pitted under green. Once again, Martin found himself a lap down.
With the car still struggling, the team tried a series adjustments, including massive wedge and track bar changes. They even changed the car's right-front shock.
"It just wasn't there today," said Martin. "We're a much better team -- we all know that."
Martin will take off the next two Nextel Cup races -- once again handing the wheel of the No. 01 U.S. Army Chevy to Regan Smith -- before returning to Nextel Cup action on July 7 at Daytona International Speedway.
Smith will be in the 01 car at next week's road race at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif.
Mark Martin Saturday Media Visit
June 16, 2007
Mark Martin, No. 01 U.S. Army Monte Carlo SS, met with members of the media at Michigan International Speedway. He discussed the performance of his Chevy this weekend, being on standby for Jeff Gordon next weekend, his thoughts on the NASCAR schedule and other topics.
ON HAVING GREAT SUCCESS HERE AND HOW HE FEELS FOR TODAY'S PRATICE AND TOMORROW'S RACE
"I'm looking forward to this practice. I have real high expectations; I think the whole team does. We like the track a lot. The car had plenty of potential yesterday and we need some more time to get everything out of it that is there. This is the car, I guess with the exception of Charlotte, every time I've run it it's got us a top five and it wasn't out of the question to pull a top five off at Charlotte. With the gas thing we wound up 11th but I think we were running sixth before all the gas stops started occurring. We have a lot of confidence in this car. It is my favorite car and one of my favorite tracks."
FROM THE RACE FAN INSIDE OF YOU, WHAT ARE YOU INTERESTED IN SEEING FROM JUAN PABLO MONTOYA NEXT WEEKEND AT SONOMA?
"He was phenomenal in Mexico, absolutely phenomenal and to be real honest with you, he's been phenomenal in his own right and on the ovals just a few steps behind that but still just as phenomenal because of the differences that he's had to go through. Obviously (I'm) going to be watching with great excitement and enthusiasm to see how he stacks up at Sears with the best of the best, all of the best of the best, but certainly I expect him to do better than he's been doing on the ovals for sure and he does as well. He said that from the start before he ever got in the cars that he expected to do well on the road courses and he sure showed that in Mexico."
SINCE YOU ARE ON STANDBY FOR JEFF GORDON NEXT WEEKEND IS THE PLAN FOR YOU TO GET IN THE 24 AT SOME POINT IN PRATICE TO GET FAMILIAR WITH THAT CAR
"I don't think so. I am there for those guys. I'm here for 'em. All they got to do is call. Whatever they need I will do. Believe it or not it's still a little early to make plans on this. We have real high hopes that it won't be necessary for me to get in the car and maybe it won't even be necessary for me to be there but whatever it takes I'm going to have gas in the plane on Thursday and we're headed to California unless we get a different word and we'll be standing around in case he needs us if we need to go out there. Hopefully everything works out where they have the baby before California and he gets to drive his car. I really hope it works out that way for him."
HOW MUCH IMPACT CAN A CREW CHIEF HAVE ON A RACE? WHEN A CREW CHIEF IS MAKING A CALL TO TAKE A GAMBLE, HOW HARD IS IT FOR THE DRIVER TO BE SOLD ON IT?
"From a crew chief's standpoint, the really great ones almost every time what they do is the right call. That's what makes them great. From standing back looking every call you make is subject to things that you can't control so it can be the right call and the caution comes out and then it was just the opposite, the wrongest call ever but the best ones out there are right way more than they're wrong. Your relationship with a crew chief will temper how you feel about those calls that go wrong. You got a great relationship, you love and adore your guy, then the first thing you do is console him. But that's what makes all these teams great. When I drive it into the wall, see what I'm saying, (if they said) 'Well see if he hadn't run it into the wall,' they start making excuses for me or say 'that's why we love you because you're in the gas,' they find a way to make a positive out of it. That's what really over the long haul makes these teams really strong and really click. It all depends on how strong your team is. We all make mistakes. We all make wrong decisions, every one of us - drivers, crew chiefs, all of us - and the way we react to those really determines our future performance in the long haul."
IF YOU COULD HYPOTHETICALLY RUN NASCAR, WHAT DO YOU THINK IS THE PROPER AMOUNT OF RACES?
"Twenty-nine points races was wonderful. That's what it was when I started running with Jack and that would be seven more weekends off than what we have and I would still run full time."
COULD YOU SEE EVER SHORTENING SOME OF THE RACES? WOULD THAT MAKE IT MORE FAN FRIENDLY AND LESS WEAR AND TEAR FOR THE DRIVERS?
"I don't have an opinion on that. They were 500 miles when I started. There were less cautions when I started. I don't know. I tell you, if I ran NASCAR we wouldn't be where we are today. I would have it all messed up. I've disagreed with a lot of things that they've done along the way and at the end of the day they've been right nine times out of 10 and I've been wrong nine times out of 10. The first question you asked me I could answer with conviction but the rest of them, I know I'm wrong about most of it."
WHAT DOES SEVEN MORE WEEKS MEAN TO YOU MENTALLY AND PHYSICALLY?
"If you're in your 20s, it means that you're going to be hunting a race to go to. If you're in your 40s and your kids are almost grown and you've done it for 20 years and you're physically and emotionally and mentally spent from all the things that you do especially if you're a top-10 driver, from a driver's standpoint it means everything. It means a chance that you get to step away from this for one minute. From a crew standpoint, it's very much the same thing. It's a young man's sport today. I look around on my team here and I see some of the faces that were here when I got here. That's rare. There's not a lot of those so even from a crew standpoint it's becoming more of a young man sport because only a young man is willing to work 24/7 and that's what this sport requires. That might mean a Sunday on the lake or a weekend visit to your parents or whatever to those guys that they almost never get and we love what we do and this is what we love. Over a period of a time it really takes it's toll and you start to evaluate what you want for the rest of your life because you're happy to give everything you had to a certain point, but there comes a certain point where you look around and say 'I only have so much more time. What do I want to do with it?'"
IS THERE A PARTICULAR AREA WHERE YOUR FANBASE IS PARTICULARLY STRONG OR IS IT CONSISTENT NATIONWIDE?
"I've always felt like it's really strong in the Northeast. Pennsylvania has forever been the number one fan club member state and I've never really understood it completely but the Northeast seems to be very strong for us."
Victory Eludes Martin at Michigan
June 18, 2007
It’s not often Mark Martin is rendered speechless. But a blown engine during last Saturday’s Michigan 200 did exactly that.
Martin had the No. 21 Bush’s Baked Beans Ford in the lead for 35 of the first 47 laps when the engine started to vibrate. He shut his Wood Brothers/JTG Racing-prepared F-150 off before it blew up at the Michigan International Speedway.
Earlier this year Martin led the most laps at the California Speedway, only to have victory snatched from his grasp during a late-race re-start. He was knocked into the infield grass by Ron Hornaday Jr., ending his run as the leader.
He also ran in the Top Five at Charlotte, N.C., last month but suffered some damage to his race truck to keep him from contending.
Martin remains committed to sharing the driving duties in the No. 21 Ford with Kelly Bires. He’s also committed to helping the team win.
Mark Martin, driver of the No. 21 Bush’s Baked Beans Ford F-150: “We were getting ready to lose the engine. It was a great run for the Wood Brothers/JTG group, awesome on pit road. Great Ford F-150 here. They sure did deserve to win. I just can’t seem to get it done for them.
“Our truck was awfully good. The guys were on the money on pit road. The truck was fabulous. These guys deserve to win. I just can’t get the deal closed for them.”
Mark Martin earned $10,400 to push his career Craftsman Truck Series earnings to $708,411.
The No. 21 Bush’s Baked Beans Ford F-150 is ranked 20th in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series car owner standings.
Martin led the second-most laps at Michigan.
The top-five finishing order included Travis Kvapil in first, Kyle Busch in second, Brendan Gaughan in third, Mike Skinner in fourth and Ted Musgrave in fifth.
The next race for the No. 21 Bush’s Baked Beans Ford is the Toyota Tundra 200 next Friday at The Milwaukee Mile.
Mark Martin Post Race Notes and Quotes - Michigan 200
June 16, 2007
MARK MARTIN -- No. 21 Wood Brothers/JTG Racing Ford F-150 (finished 33rd)
"We were getting ready to lose the engine. It was a great run for the Wood Brothers/JTG group, awesome on pit road. Great Ford F-150 here. They sure did deserve to win. I just can't seem to get it done for them."
IT LOOKED LIKE THE 21 COULD BE THE TRUCK TO BEAT TODAY.
"It was awfully good. The guys were on the money on pit road. The truck was fabulous. These guys deserve to win. I just can't get the deal closed for them."
Martin Has Only One Present in Mind for U.S. Army Birthday
BROOKLYN, Mich. (June 13, 2007) -- Mark Martin says there is no need to shop for a gift. He knows exactly what he wants to give to his main sponsor -- the U.S. Army, which will celebrate its 232nd birthday at this weekend's Nextel Cup race at Michigan International Speedway.
"The best birthday present for our soldiers would be to drive the U.S. Army Chevrolet to Victory Lane," said Martin. "When you stop and think what the Army has meant to our nation and to the world for the past 232 years it is truly a privilege to wear the Army racing uniform and represent our brave men and women in uniform."
The U.S. Army officially turns 232 on June 14, which is also Flag Day.
When Martin talks about a win at Michigan, he is basing it on first-hand knowledge. The veteran driver has an impressive record at the two-mile oval with four victories, 16 top fives and 27 top 10s.
"I'm excited about this weekend," said Martin. "Michigan has always been a good track for me and it has also been a good track for the 01 team."
Michigan is a sister track to California Speedway where Martin finished fifth in February.
"That's another reason I am encouraged about going to Michigan," added Martin.
Martin, 48, has every right to feel encouraged. His 2007 Nextel Cup record with the 01 Army team speaks for itself. Despite missing three races as part of his part-time schedule with Ginn Racing, Martin is 12th in Nextel Cup driver points. In owner points, Martin and co-driver Regan Smith have the 01 team ranked fifth.
In the 11 races in which he has competed this season, Martin has three top fives, seven top 10s and 10 top 15s. His worst finish was 17th.
"It's been an incredible year so far and I don't see it changing," offered Martin, who is coming off back-to-back seventh-place finishes in Dover and Pocono. "For me, it's been a dream-come-true season. I have the best deal -- the opportunity to be involved with a very talented race team and to drive in selected races. I couldn't ask for more, except for maybe three more feet at Daytona."
The three feet reference is approximately what Martin lost by to Kevin Harvick at the season-opening Daytona 500.
"This is a very difficult sport to win in, but our U.S. Army team has the potential to visit Victory Lane on any given Sunday," offered Martin. "That's why I am excited about going to the track when I am scheduled to drive. And this weekend is even more special with the celebration of the Army's birthday."
Mark Martin Race Preview – Citizens Bank 400
MARTIN LOOKS FOR FIFTH CUP WIN AT MICHIGAN
On the heels of back-to-back top 10 finishes, Martin rolls into Michigan looking for his fifth win at the 2-mile track and his first with the No. 01 U.S. Army Team at Ginn Racing. Martin has scored seven top 10 finishes and 10 top 15's on his 11 starts this season.
MARTIN AT MICHIGAN
Starts: 42 (21)
Wins: 4 (1)
Top 5's: 16 (6)
Top 10's: 27 (13)
Poles: 1 (1)
Highest finish: 1 (4 times)
First time: 6/20/82 (33rd)
Last year: 6/18/06 (27th)
Last time: 8/20/06 (5th)
MARK FAST FACTS – MICHIGAN
Martin's 27 top-10 finishes at Michigan are the most of any active driver.
Martin has four wins at Michigan in the Cup car, the third most of any active driver.
Martin has led 22 races at Michigan for a total of 851 laps.
Martin has finished in the top 10 in seven of his last 12 at Michigan, including a fifth-place finish there last fall.
Martin has finished top five in four of his last seven Cup starts at MIS.
Martin boasts two Busch wins at MIS and will take part in the Truck race there this weekend.
Martin won in the IROC car at Michigan in 1996.
Martin is ranked 12th in the Nextel Cup points - 27 out of 10th, despite having taken off three races.
Martin has four wins at Michigan in the Cup car, two wins in the Busch Series and an IROC win in 1996.
MARK MARTIN - LAST YEAR AT MICHIGAN
June 18, 2006
Michigan International Speedway
Started 8th, Finished 27th
Heavy rains forced an early end at Michigan International Speedway, on a day when little went right for Martin and the No. 6 Team. Martin was running in 14th position when the field went green after the eighth caution of the race on lap 115, but he was forced to fight a loose-handling racecar on the restart and dropped back to 20th position by lap 122. The ninth and final caution was called just one lap later as light rainfall set on the race. Uncertain of the race’s future the team opted to four tires and a wedge adjustment, with Martin coming out in 27th place. However moments later the rain would pick up, ultimately forcing NASCAR to call the race after just 129 of the scheduled 200 laps.
Martin will be available to the media at the racetrack on Saturday morning at 8:45 A.M at the No. 01 Hauler.
MAKING HIS POINT
Martin remains 12th in the Nextel Cup point standings, despite having competed in only 11 of 14 races this season. Martin has finished inside the top 17 in all of his starts, and is only 27 points out of tenth. The No. 01 Team is currently fifth in owner points.
MARTIN AT MICHIGAN
This will be Martin's 43rd run at MIS, where he boasts four wins, 16 top fives, 27 top 10's and a pole. Martin has finished inside the top 10 in seven of his last 10 at Michigan, including a fifth place run there last fall. He boasts four wins at MIS, where he first won on August 19, 1990. Martin has won three more times at MIS, with the last trip to victory lane coming on June 14, 1998.
According to the research firm Marketing Evaluations, Mark Martin received the third highest Q score in motorsports. The scale that rates likeability had Martin behind only Dale Earnhardt Jr and Jeff Gordon in NASCAR and tied with Danica Patrick in all of motorsports. According to the firm, hundreds of millions in advertising decisions are based on the Q score franchise.
Martin will compete in both the Nextel Cup race on Sunday and the Craftsman Truck Series race on Saturday at Michigan. It will be Martin's second start at Michigan in the truck and his first in the No. 21 Wood Brothers entry. Martin finished second in the truck last season at Michigan. It will be Martin's 52nd NASCAR start at MIS (42 Cup, 8 Busch, 1 Truck). He has two wins in the Busch car there.
ARMY CELEBRATES 232nd BIRTHDAY
The Army will celebrate its 232nd Birthday this weekend at Michigan. Martin will take part in a pre-race ceremony to honor the event.
QUOTING MARK ON MICHIGAN
"Typically Michigan is one of my best tracks on the circuit and we've had some really strong runs there over the past few years. It's actually a great track and if you have your car set up right, you can really pass. It really can be a lot of fun to get around there. We just have to work to get the car dialed in, and there is no reason that we should not be pretty strong this weekend.
"We had a good run last week at Pocono and we had good strategy. The car handled really well and we were able to get another top 10 finish out of it. We just have to keep working to get these cars a little better and we'll be right there up front. Ryan Pemberton and this U.S. Army Team do such an outstanding job with these cars and it's just an honor to work with them each week.
"It's also a big weekend for the Army as they celebrate their Birthday this weekend. It's the first time that I've been a part of that and I'm looking forward to helping with that celebration. As always, it's an honor to represent the soldiers and to drive their car each week, and it's really special to be able to be a part of their birthday celebration. Hopefully we can get them a win for the special occasion. "
Mark Martin Race Report – Pocono 500
Martin Finishes 7th in Rain-Shortened Pocono 500
U.S. Army driver scores 7th top 10 of season
LONG POND, Pa. (June 10, 2007) -- Mark Martin and the U.S. Army Team used a combination of pit strategy and speed to earn seventh-place finish in Sunday's rain-shortened Nextel Cup race at Pocono Raceway.
In one of the stranger races of the season, Martin and the team were forced to overcome a poor starting position (35) and an early pit-road miscue.
But the end result was another strong performance for Martin, who claimed his seventh top-10and 10th top-15 finish in the 11 races he has competed as part of his limited 2007 schedule with Ginn Racing. His worst finish was 17th.
Despite missing three races, Martin is 12th in the driver standings and the #01 Ginn Racing team ranks fifth in owner points.
"We had a pretty good car today," said Martin. "It handled really well, but we lacked the speed to run with the leaders. We got behind in qualifying, but passed a lot of cars early. Then we had a mix-up on pit road and had to come back from that as well."
Martin wasted little time moving through the field. He gained five positions on the first lap and powered his Chevy to inside the top 20 by Lap 24.
Martin was running 18th when he came down pit road on Lap 50, in an attempt to take four tires and fuel under caution. A miscommunication caused Martin to miss his pit box. The savvy veteran didn't hesitate as he immediately drove through the pits and went on to lead a lap. He returned to the pits on the following lap.
The miscue did earn Martin and the team five bonus points for leading a lap, but the Army Chevy was back in 35th place when the field went green on Lap 53.
Once again Martin began to patiently make his way through the field. He fought his way back to 3rd when the race's third and deciding caution was called on Lap 63.
With rain clouds looming Martin and a handful of cars, including eventual race winner Jeff Gordon, opted to stay out and run on an alternate pit cycle. Martin eventually pitted for fuel and four tires on Lap 84 and returned in 36th position with only 16 laps remaining before the halfway mark.
However, the leaders were forced to pit for fuel just before the halfway point. And when they pitted, that recycled Martin into seventh position, where he was running when persistent rain brought out the fourth and final caution on Lap 103. Three laps later the race was red-flagged and eventually called by NASCAR.
"The gamble worked and we were able to get a top 10 out of it," noted Martin. "I just can't say enough about this U.S. Army team. They just don't give up and it's a pleasure to work with them and drive the soldiers' car."
The next race for Martin and U.S. Army Team will be Sunday at Michigan International Speedway.
Mark Martin Post Race Notes and Quotes – Pocono 500
June 10, 2007
MARK MARTIN, NO. 01 U.S. ARMY MONTE CARLO SS: - Finished 7th
"We had a pretty good car today. It handled really well, but we lacked the speed to run with the leaders. We got behind qualifying and passed a lot of cars early. Then we had a mix-up on pit road and had to come back from that as well. But the team just dug in and we were able to stay out and get back the track position. The gamble worked and the caution came out and we were able to get a top 10 out of it.
"I just can't say enough about this U.S. Army team. They just don't give up out there and we got another top 10. It's just a pleasure to work with them and drive this car each week."
M6M comment regarding the interview below: If Mark is not interested in winning the championship, I would suggest letting Regan Smith race the 01 car for the rest of the season. He might have an interest in winning!
Mark Martin Friday Media Visit – Pocono
June 8, 2007
MARK MARTIN, NO. O1 U.S. ARMY MONTE CARLO SS MET WITH MEMBERS OF THE MEDIA AT POCONO RACEWAY TO DISCUSS HIS PART-TIME SCHEDULE, RACING AT POCONO AND OTHER SUBJECTS.
ON THE POCONO RACE TRACK
"I've always loved this race track. It's one of the best places we go to race at. And you just set the car up to go as fast as you can through all the turns."
DO YOU LIKE SHIFTING BETTER THAN THE WAY IT IS NOW?
"It's okay the way it is now. Shifting kept you a little busier, but it's all about racing. So if nobody is shifting, then it's the same for everyone."
DO YOU LIKE THE MICHIGAN TRACK?
"Yeah, that's why it's on my schedule. I love Michigan."
HOW MUCH FUN ARE YOU HAVING THIS YEAR WITH YOUR NEW SCHEDULE?
"It's a dream come true. You know, the stars just had to lineup just perfectly for this to work out for me and the Army and Ginn Racing. I don't know what would have happened sooner in my career or a little later - it would have been too late. So I've got the best gig in NASCAR."
ON THE NASCAR PENALTY HANDED DOWN TO KURT BUSCH
"That's not for me to say. That's them, not me. I'm a driver."
WERE YOU SURPRISED?
"Not really. That's what they (NASCAR) do. I try to abide by the rules. I don't make them."
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON BILL FRANCE JR?
"I have a lot of memories of him. When I came on board, he was already in place. So I really didn't know his dad that well. But certainly the state of NASCAR today has everything to do with what his drive and vision and the kind of person he was. I disagreed with a number of decisions he made. But at the end of the day, way more often he was right and I was wrong. So if I was in charge, we wouldn't have what we have here today."
AS WE GET CLOSER TO THE CHASE, AND IF YOU'RE CLOSE TO MAKING IT, WILL YOU CHANGE YOUR SCHEDULE TO TRY TO MAKE IT?
"Nah, I'm good. I'm set."
YOU LIKE THE WAY IT'S GOING?
"Yeah. I'm thrilled."
HAVE YOU HAD ANY FEEDBACK FROM OTHER DRIVERS YOUR AGE THAT THIS MIGHT BE THE WAY TO GO DOWN THE LINE?
"This is a unique opportunity. It's not the easiest situation to put together, but we have it going on here. So we're sort of the model for that right now."
IS IT DIFFICULT TO RACE ONE WEEKEND AND THEN MISS A WEEKEND? DO YOU LOSE RHYTHM?
"Certainly not. I've been racing for 35 years. I don't need any more time (laughs). I'm just lucky to be driving great cars. And that's what's really important."
IS THERE ANY TEMPTATION TO CHANGE YOUR SCHEDULE?
"No." YOU ADDED THE SECOND POCONO. WAS BEING SIX TIMES A BRIDESMAID A FACTOR?
"No. I always wanted to run the second Pocono race. When we laid out the schedule and started marking numbers off the list, I had a number that I was shooting for and I had to cut some races to get to that number. And then when we got into this thing and I had the flexibility to do what I wanted to do that I knocked off the list."
WERE YOU SURPRISED BY THE PERFORMANCE OF THE NO. O1 ENTRY AND HOW WELL IT'S DOING THIS YEAR?
"I'm pleased (laughter). It's an outstanding accomplishment by a team that I have come to know as equal or on par with the best in the garage."
HOW DID THEY GET THERE SO QUICKLY?
"They were there at times. This team has not turned over a lot. They were there at times with Joe (Nemechek) and with (Jerry) Nadeau. They had the rug pulled out from them a number of times with Ernie (Irwin) getting hurt and Jerry Nadeau getting hurt. They were really fast with Mike Skinner at times. The only thing they were ever really missing was consistency."
AND HOW DID THEY GET THAT?
"I don't know. It just happened."
CAN YOU CHANGE YOUR SCHEDULE IF YOU WANT TO?
"Yeah, I can if I want to. If I decided I did, I'd still have flexibility."
DO YOU WANT TO RACE FOR THE CHAMPIONSHIP?
"No, I don't even want to. So if I was leading, like I was when I missed my first race, I still wouldn't. I don't want to."
WHAT DO YOU ENJOY ABOUT YOUR PART-TIME SCHEDULE?
BUT YOU ALSO ENJOY BEING AT THE RACE TRACK?
"Yeah, but this is overkill. The schedule they have today is overkill - especially after you've done it for 20 years. I'm very interested in moving on with my life without having to give up on part of the best part of my life and still be a part of that and move on with my own life."
IF YOU ARE IN THE TOP 12, WHAT HAPPENS WITH THAT?
"I won't be."
DO YOU LIKE DIRT TRACK RACING?
"Oh, yeah, it's fun. A lot of us got our start there. It's grassroots racing - like going Truck racing."
Mark Martin Race Preview – Pocono 500
MARTIN LOOKS TO BREAK THROUGH AT POCONO
After their strongest Car of Tomorrow run of the season at Dover, Mark Martin and the U.S. Army Team head to Pocono where they will return to the 'old' style of cars. Martin has six second place finishes at the 2.5-mile tri-oval, but no wins. He and Ginn Racing will look to change that this weekend.
MAKING HIS POINT
Martin continues to defy the odds. Last week's seventh place finish at Dover moved Martin into 12th position in the Nextel point standings and back into the 'Chase' cutoff, despite Martin having run three less races than the majority of the field. Martin has six top-10 finishes in 2007 and he has finished inside the top 15 in nine of his 10 starts.
MARTIN AT POCONO
This will be Martin's 40th race at Pocono, where he has finished inside the top 10 on 27 occasions. He boasts 19 top-five finishes at Pocono, the most of any driver.
MARK AT POCONO
Starts: 40 (20)
Top 5's: 19 (12)
Top 10's: 27 (13)
Poles: 3 (1)
Highest finish: 2 (6 times)
First time: 6/6/82 (26th)
Last year: 6/11/06 (17th)
Last time: 7/23/06 (19th)
MARTIN FAST FACTS - POCONO
Martin has finished second at Pocono on six different occasions.
Martin has finished second or third in over 25 percent of his 39 starts at Pocono.
Martin's 19 top-five finishes at Pocono are the most of any driver.
Martin's 27-top 10 finishes at Pocono leads all drivers.
Martin has posted 27 top-10 starts in 36 races at Pocono.
Martin has finished second in three of his last eight at Pocono.
Martin is 12th in the Nextel Point rankings. He is currently inside the Chase cutoff, despite running a limited schedule and having missed three races to date.
Martin has six second-place runs at Pocono.
LAST YEAR AT POCONO
June 11, 2006 – Pocono Raceway
Started 10th, Finished 17
Martin ran to a 17th place finish at the Pocono 500. Martin and crew chief Pat Tryson had maneuvered up the field and were sitting in eighth place when the race restarted for the final time with only six laps to go on lap 194. However Martin’s car had become uncontrollably loose over the previous long run and he struggled to keep the No. 6 Ford Fusion in the top 20 for the final six laps, eventually hanging on to the 17th place finish as the checkered flag fell.
LOOKING FOR NUMBER 'WON'
Martin has never won at Pocono, but he has come close on numerous occasions. The veteran has posted second-place finishes on six different occasions. In fact Martin has finished second at Pocono in three of his last nine starts. In addition, he has finished third there on four more occasions. Martin has finished second or third in 25 percent of his starts and top five in almost 50 percent of the starts.
Martin has posted 27 top-10 starts in 40 races at Pocono.
OFF SEASON AT POCONO
Last season was one of Martin's worst at Pocono Raceway. He failed to get a top 10 finish at Pocono for only the second time in his career and his starts of 20th and 30th were the worst in his 40 races at the track. Martin will look to get back on track at the 2.5-mile tri-oval with his new team at Ginn Racing.
QUOTING MARK ON POCONO
"Pocono is one of my favorite race tracks. It's really hard to believe that we've never won there, but we've run really well and we've finished second a whole bunch of times. We've had some really good cars there over the years and we've been really fast the last several times that we've raced there. Hopefully with my No. 01 U.S. Army Team we can get over that hump this weekend.
"We had a great run last weekend at Dover. It was really the first time that I've had fun driving the Car of Tomorrow. We didn't have the car to win, but we had a really good car and we've made great strides in our COT program. I'm actually looking forward to getting back in the COT and continuing to make that better.
"Being back in the top 12 is crazy. I guess it will give people something to talk about, but it really speaks volumes about how strong Ryan (Pemberton), this U.S. Army Team and Ginn Racing is altogether. To have missed three races and still be up there is a tremendous feat by these guys."
Mark Martin Post Race Notes and Quotes – Autism Speaks 400 presented by Visa
MARK MARTIN NO. 01 U.S. ARMY CHEVROLET IMPALA SS, FINISHED SEVENTH:
"That was by far our best COT effort. I actually had fun today for the first time in a COT. We are still a whisker off, but we've made a lot of strides in a short time. Ryan (Pemberton, crew chief) and these guys have done a great job. We didn't have a car to win, but we had a good car and that showed by finishing seventh. It's an honor to drive this Army Chevy."
Mark Martin Race Report – Autism Speaks 400 presented by Visa
Martin Claims 7th-Place Finish at Dover
U.S. Army driver earns first COT top-10; moves to 12th in Nextel Cup points
DOVER, Del. (June 4, 2007) – Mark Martin and the No. 01 U.S. Army Team showed its best Car of Tomorrow effort of the season with a seventh-place finish in Monday's rain-delayed Nextel Cup race at Dover International Speedway.
The result lifted Martin to 12th in the point standings and back in the "Chase" cut-off mark, despite having run three fewer races than the majority of the field. The 01 Ginn Racing team remained sixth in owner points.
The result also gave Martin his sixth top-10 and ninth top-15 finish in the 10 Cup races he has competed in 2007. His worst finish was 17th at Richmond.
"That was by far our best COT effort," said Martin. "We are still a whisker off, but we've made a lot of strides in a short time. Ryan (Pemberton, crew chief) and these guys have done a great job. It's just an honor to drive this Army Chevy for our soldiers."
"I actually had fun today for the first time in a COT," added Martin. "We didn't have a car to win, but we had a good car and I had a lot of fun driving it."
Martin was running in sixth position when the day's seventh and final caution was called on lap 356. Pemberton opted to bring Martin in for four tires. Half of the top 10 stayed out, while Martin and the other half pitted. Martin returned in ninth when green flag racing resumed with 39 laps to go.
Martin was able to fight back to seventh with four laps remaining.
"That was a tough call," said Pemberton. "It might have worked better to stay out, but at the time it seemed like the right thing. Mark did a great job as always and it was a great effort by the U.S. Army team."
Martin started the 400-mile event 21st after getting loose in Friday's qualifying session. With the car set up dialed in for the long run, Martin patiently bided his time early, moving in and out of the top 20.
By the time NASCAR called its second competition caution of the race on Lap 66 of 400, Martin had moved his Army Chevy into 17th position. Quick work in the pits by the U.S. Army crew put Martin inside the top 15 for the first time.
Martin moved inside the top 10 on Lap 124, where he would run for the remainder of the event at the Monster Mile.
Mark Martin Media Visit
June 1, 2007
Mark Martin, No. 01 U.S. Army Impala SS met with members of the media at Dover International Speedway to discuss racing at Dover, filling in for Jeff Gordon at a race, his expectations for Pocono and other subjects
DO YOU FEEL THAT DOVER IS THE DETERMINING TRACK TO SEE WHAT THE NEW CAR IS CAPABLE OF?
"I don't think so. I think Darlington was a big one; it was a little bit larger race track than this. It is what it is. It's a work in progress, for sure. I don't think that this one will be quite as challenging as Darlington was for the teams to make the car work."
WHAT KIND OF RACING DO YOU THINK WE'LL SEE THIS WEEKEND?
"It will be typical Dover. You have to remember that this car is a little bit more difficult to maneuver and it's a little bit more difficult to race with so you have to keep that in mind. But it's the same Dover race. It's going to be a great competitive race. This car is more of a challenge to maneuver."
WHAT HAPPENED TO YOUR ELBOW?
"Nothing. This is preventative maintenance. I'm doing this to prevent having a sore elbow."
HAVE YOU MADE ANY DECISIONS ABOUT 2008 YET?
"Gosh, no (laughs). I expect. I guess I have. I guess I'm going to do roughly the same schedule with the same group. That's our plan."
WHEN YOU SAY ROUGHLY, WILL YOU DO ANYTHING DIFFERENTLY?
"I think it's more like (races) that I did (this year) that I won't next year. The schedule laid out here was seven races in a row right through this stretch here that's been really a challenge. It's been a challenge for everyone; all the guys that work on the cars and everything else, with all the testing that's been going on and everything. I'm just going to learn from 2007 and look at 2008 and we'll either do the same number of races or maybe a little bit more like what I had planned originally, which was more like 20 points races instead of 24. I love what I'm doing and I really love this team and I really look forward to going to work every day with them."
SO YOU'LL PROBABLY BACK OFF RATHER THAN ADD RACES?
"I won't add from this year's schedule. I'll either do the same or a small number less. I'm looking forward to it. I love going to work every day with these guys."
ANY CONCERNS COMING IN TO DOVER LIKE NOT BEING ABLE TO TEST THE NEW CAR HERE?
"No, not really at all because I think that this place will be less of a challenge than Darlington was. There's a little bit more room, you can slide up the race track more and wobble around out there. There's more room. We're so confined at Darlington; that was a real challenge. I think everybody's making progress with the cars and it's a work in progress. We will get better with them the more we race them."
WHY ARE YOU GOOD HERE AND WHY DO YOU LIKE THIS TRACK SO MUCH?
"I like the track so much because we run good here. I'm not sure why we have had such good cars all through the years. I've been able to work with my team and get my car to do what I need it to do. All this racing except for restrictor-plate racing is all about the corners. That's all it is. We go through the corners good here. That's been the key and it is really the key everywhere except plate racing."
DO YOU ANTICIPATE CHANGES IN DRIVING STYLE BECAUSE OF THE NEW CAR?
"Absolutely. I think that there's a chance that the high groove may be used more with the new car here. We're obviously going to have to back the corners up some for the bump stop because of the splitter being right on the ground to start with. I don't know what to expect for the exit but I know as the tires get hot it's really going to be a challenge. It has been everywhere else. It won't get any easier here but because the race track is wide, we may use more of the width of the race track than we did with the other car."
LAST WEEK WE HAD A FIRST-TIME WINNER AND FIVE GUYS IN THE TOP FIVE WHO HAD THEIR BEST FINISHES THIS YEAR. DO YOU LIKE TO SEE THAT?
"That was great for Casey (Mears) and for Kyle Petty and of course for J.J. Yeley as well. That's part of the sport. As long as I've been a part of this, you've had races where there were odd things that happened at the end from time to time. Racing's not predictable and it's a moving target. That target moved a little bit from being the fastest car through the corners to the best car with the best mileage. Casey Mears was the best car with the best mileage to win the race."
THERE WERE SOME GRUMBLINGS THAT IT WAS A FUEL-MILEAGE VICTORY. THERE WERE ONLY 12 CARS ON THE LEAD LAP SO THOSE GUYS THAT WERE UP FRONT HAD TO HAVE RAN WELL. YOUR THOUGHTS?
"Casey ran good and so did Kyle. And J.J. ran good. And they got enough gas mileage to put them in the window to where it was a race between themselves. They weren't lame ducks, they were good cars. You're going to have fuel-mileage races. And you're going to have races where a third of the field is knocked out from wrecks. And you're going to have some races where there are 30 cars on the lead lap at the end and that's racing. It's not predictable."
AT MEDIA DAY IN DAYTONA, YOU WERE ASKED IF ANYBODY WOULD BE WATCHING YOUR PART-TIME SCHEDULE AND YOU SAID JEFF GORDON SHOWED SOME INTEREST IN IT. HAVE OTHER DRIVERS EXPRESSED INTEREST?
"It's not the easiest thing to put together but we're demonstrating that it can be done and it's working well for us. There's some other guys interested in it. I talked to my old friend Rusty Wallace last night and he told me he missed it really bad and I reminded him that I tried to get him to split the season with me in 2006. It would have been a cool deal and now he sees just how cool it could have been."
DO YOU THINK HE'LL BE BACK IN A CAR NEXT YEAR?
"No, I don't think so. He's all set. But he said his advice to me was to keep driving as long as I could drive."
ARE WE GOING TO GET YOU IN THE BOOTH ANYTIME SOON?
"Rusty's good though. Rusty always had the gift of gab and I never did. It comes natural for Rusty but it wouldn't come so natural for me."
KYLE PETTY WON'T BE DRIVING NEXT WEEK. WILL IT BE STRANGE NOT TO HAVE HIM THERE?
"It's tough because some of us have been around forever and whenever you see that it's sort of a wake-up call that our time is really limited. That's great for Kyle. I'm real proud of him; I'm real proud that he got a chance to get everybody's ear last week and have a great run, a great finish and I've been watching the papers and stuff and he's had a chance to get your ear a little bit. He's a very important part of our sport; he'll do great doing TV and we'll all feel like he's still part of the community whether he's in the booth or behind the wheel."
WHAT'S IT LIKE BEING IN THE HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS SHOP BEING FITTED FOR THE NO. 24 CAR'S SEAT?
"It was different. Everyone there has treated me like gold. I had a chance to look around a little bit and that place is pretty stout. I understand why they are where they are. I've known Rick for 20 years or more and it's been a long journey to get where they are but I think they're at their peak right now vs. anytime over the last 20 years."
YOU'VE BEEN IN A LOT OF RACE CARS IN YOUR CAREER. THAT CAR IS A FOUR-TIME CHAMPION. DO YOU THINK ABOUT THAT AT ALL?
"I hope that I don't get in that car. It's my greatest hope that Jeff (Gordon) has his baby and gets to drive his car the whole time. And I'm serious. I really hope that I'm not needed but if so, it's an honor that he felt as strong as he did about it and our relationship over at Hendrick is growing and it's just gotten stronger since November. I'll do what I can if I wind up in the race car but I'm no Jeff Gordon and I know that. I'll do everything that I can and give it my heart and soul but it is a different environment and I'm not sure I'll be able to get the most out of it the first time I strap in it because the cars are different. They're built a little different. I would assume that I would probably be more comfortable in a No. 48 car based on the information that they tell me about the cars and the way that they are built."
AS A RACER, DO YOU FANTASIZE ABOUT GETTING IN OTHER DRIVERS' CARS JUST TO SEE WHAT YOU COULD DO WITH IT?
"I've been pretty successful in my own car (laughs) and I've had a hand in making my cars what they are. I'm fairly proud of those cars. I told you already before, I'm no Jeff Gordon so I neither shrink from the challenge or embrace the challenge of trying to measure up to Jeff Gordon, either. I'm not thrilled or excited about it, I'm also not scared to death of it either because I know that I can give a good, solid performance and it would be a different environment for me. From seating and the whole thing, it all comes down to if I do drive the car, do I get my seat, do I get some interpretation of quick change. We've got it set up where I can go get in his car within 10 or 15 minutes and drive it. But that's not my seat. It will depend on if I can get comfortable with all those situations and at the end of the day I'll do a pretty good job, comfortable or not, but it may be enough different. The No. 5 Busch car was a challenge for me and we got there, without question, but I didn't get there qualifying. I was embarrassed to qualify 20th or whatever I qualified, 22nd, with that car, but that was a matter of being comfortable yet. We' weren't there yet and once we got into the race, we had made the right decisions on things and we were able to manage to move forward."
WHAT IS IT ABOUT POCONO THAT MAKES SOME DRIVERS PREFORM SO WELL THERE AND OTHERS NOT WELL AT ALL?
"It's a big race track so if you're off a little bit it shows up quite a bit there. It is a lot of fun. It's a great race track, it's a great show, a great race. I always love going there. That's why I chose it to be on my schedule this year. I look forward to it. It's still the car of yesterday and I'm really excited about that too."
WHAT KIND OF MINDSET DOES IT TAKE TO GET AROUND THAT TRACK WELL?
"You just have to go through the corners good and you just have to go through the corners good and you have to know what you need and know what you've got to compromise on. It's a little bit more of a compromise than a lot of places and you have to know where you can give something up and where you need to be on the money."
PLUS YOU CAN LAND YOUR PLANE ON THE FRONT STRETCH.
"Bobby Allison did, I think, once."
HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THE NEW CAR ON THIS COURSE?
"We're getting better with the cars. The more we work with them, they get better and better and will continue to get better. They're a challenge to the teams and the drivers and we'll keep working on them."
DO YOU THINK NASCAR'S DECISION TO HAVE A PARTIAL SCHEDULE WITH THE NEW CAR WAS WISE?
"I don't think that that was a flawed plan by any means. The switchover is going to be huge and I don't know that the teams could have really been adequately prepared to do full-time new cars in 2007. Changing over has been painful do to both, but it would have probably been more painful at any one period of time to try to do the full switch.NASCAR's pretty smart. They usually come out looking pretty good on their decisions."
DO YOU FIND THE NEW GENERATION OF DRIVER HAS LESS TECHNICAL OR HANDS-ON EXPERIENCE THAN THE VETERANS DO?
"There's nothing wrong with that. There's nothing wrong with getting in and driving the car and telling the crew what it's doing. Jeff Gordon has made a pretty good career out of doing a lot of that. Just because you didn't build a car with your own hands doesn't make it wrong."
BUT DO THEY GIVE LESS INPUT ABOUT THE CAR?
"No, they drive the car and tell them what they need, what the car is doing and what they need, just like the rest of us. I don't think they have less input. I thought you meant when Rusty and Alan Kulwicki and myself, you could drop the parts on the floor in the old days and we would build a car and take it to the track and be competitive with it. That's behind us now. That was a different era, just like we were spoiled if you checked with Cale Yarborough or David Pearson. It was different when they did it too. Each era brings new things. Just like you doing your story, you'd be using a typewriter instead of a computer an era ago. The world is changing. Technology is a bigger part of the sport today and the driver is a lesser part of that hardware part of it."
HAS THE NEW CAR PRESENTED A CHALLENGE IN TERMS OF COMMUNICATION BETWEEN YOU AND YOUR TEAM?
"It's different and it's completely different so I think everybody's trying to learn what the sweet spots are. It would have been no problem had they not put the splitter at four inches. If they put that splitter at seven inches it would still be a race car, same-old, same-old. Wing or not, it don't matter. It would have still been the same thing. But with that splitter coming down, it made a whole new race car out of it. You cut the suspension in half in the front end and everybody in the garage is scrambling to try to learn how to make the car work with half the front suspension it had before."
CAN YOU SPECULATE ON THE TRACKS WHERE THE NEW CAR HASN'T RUN?
The guys that are beating everybody up real bad are loving the car. The rest are not. The guys whose cars aren't working are hating it. It's hard to say. It's without question, it's a step backward in technology and performance so that doesn't seem to bother somebody when they're the fastest car and they sit on the pole and they lead all the laps. They don't care. For the guy that's struggling in the middle of the pack or whatever, they're not loving it. So it's all relative to some degree."
Mark Martin Race Preview – Autism Speaks 400 presented by Visa
MARTIN LOOKS TO TAME THE MONSTER
After a hard-fought 11th-place run in the Coke 600 last Sunday night, Martin heads to another of his favorite tracks, Dover International Speedway, where he has a combined six NASCAR wins.
Martin is the only driver to have won in the Cup, Busch and Truck series' at Dover.
MARTIN AT DOVER
This will be Martin's 42nd career cup start at Dover, where he has won four times. The four wins tie for the most ever at the track. Considered one of his favorite tracks on the circuit, Martin has 25 top-10 and 19 top-five finishes at the Monster Mile. The 19 top fives are the most of any driver. In addition, Martin earned his first ever career Busch Series win at Dover in 1987.
FAST FROM START TO FINISH
Martin was fast at Dover from the start, running fifth in the Mason-Dixon 500 in his first ever start at the one-mile track on 5/16/82. Martin started the event seventh, the first of his 25 top-10 starts at the track. He won his 34th Nextel Cup race there in 2004.
GETTING STARTED AT DOVER
Martin has four poles at Dover and started in the top 10 in 26 of his first 38 races there.
COVERING THE SERIES AT DOVER
Martin is the only driver to have won in all three of NASCAR's major racing divisions. He has four wins in the Cup car, one in the Busch race in 1987 and one in the Craftsman Truck there last season.
Martin will make his second career Craftsman Truck Series start at Dover this weekend. Martin won the race last season in record time in his first Truck Series start at the track. The start will be Martin's third of the season in the Wood Brother's No. 21 entry.
Despite a partial schedule and having missed three races, Martin is currently 14th and just 31 points out of the Chase cutoff. The No. 01 car is sixth in Nextel Cup owner points.
QUOTING MARK ON DOVER
"Dover is a track that I always loved and we always ran well there. I should have won there so many times and it just seemed like something would go wrong. Finally it all fell into place and we've had a lot of success there over the years. I won my first ever Busch and NASCAR race there in 1987. We've won in the Cup car there four times and we got a Craftsman Truck Series win there last year. It's just the style of track that really suits my style of driving and it can be a lot of fun to race there.
"We have not exactly set the world on fire with the Car of Tomorrow, but we were better at Darlington than we were at Richmond and we were better at Richmond than Phoenix, so we are getting better. This is a great race team and we are faced with a big challenge with the COT. I am confident that Ryan Pemberton and the U.S. Army Team and all of the guys at Ginn are up to this challenge and I'm ready to get back on that this weekend at Dover."
Martin Looks To Attack Monster Again
Veteran lists Dover as one of favorites on NASCAR circuit
DOVER, Del. (May 29, 2007) -- They call it the Monster Mile for its ferocity as a race track, but U.S. Army driver Mark Martin had his fingers on the pulse of Dover International Speedway from the very beginning.
"You attack it," said the 25-year veteran. "It's just a race track where you don't have to finesse that much, you just drive like an animal. The very first time I went there in 1982, I loved it. We actually ran top five in our first race there. It's an awesome track and there is no cooler place in the world to race at."
Since that first race at Dover 25 years ago, Martin has tamed the "Monster" on every level. Last year he won there in the Craftsman Truck Series to become the only driver to win at Dover in all three of NASCAR's major series.
His first career Busch Series win came at Dover in 1987; a win that was also the first of his 89 career NASCAR victories.
Ten years later he would win the first of four Cup races there, starting a span of three consecutive years he would take the checkered flag in the fall race at Dover.
He returned to Dover's Victory Lane in 2004 for his fourth Cup victory and his win in last season's Craftsman Truck Series race there put the icing on the cake for Martin's monstrous Dover career.
This weekend Martin will roll into Dover for the first time driving 01 U.S. Army Chevrolet and for the first time in the Car of Tomorrow. A scenario that Martin knows may put the monster back into Dover for himself and his Ginn Racing crew.
"I've had a lot of success at Dover over the years," said Martin. "And I'd love to expand on that success with the U.S. Army Team. This is such a great race team to work with and it's such an honor to drive for our soldiers."
"We know that we have our work cut out for us with this COT," added Martin. "But we've gotten better with it in each race. I can't think of a better place than Dover to try and have a breakout week with the COT."
Despite all the success at Dover, Martin admits the track came by its nickname honestly.
"Actually, it (Dover) was a thorn in my side for years," explained Martin. "I always loved to race there and we were always really good. But, we should have won there so many times in the Cup car before we did. I don't know how many times I blew out tires or crashed leading and dominating the race. Finally it just all came together for us and we've had a lot of success ever since."
Mark Martin Post Race Notes and Quotes – After AAA Insurance 200
MARK MARTIN No. 21 Bush's Baked Beans Ford F-150 (finished 6th)
WHAT CAUSED THE HOOD TO PEEL UP, AND DID THAT CAUSE ANY PROBLEMS?
"Yeah, it hurt it. It was a pretty good truck, we just hurt it a lot with the hood coming up."
HOW HAS YOUR EXPERIENCE BEEN RUNNING FOR THE 21 TEAM?
"We've had some good runs every time. And I was real proud to see Stacy have a great run today. It was awesome."
A NUMBER OF TRUCKS GOT TORN UP TODAY, BUT YOURS WASN'T ONE OF THEM. WERE THERE ANY CLOSE CALLS FOR YOU?
"A little bit, but not too bad."
Martin Looks to Take it to the Next Level
May 31, 2007
All that's left for Mark Martin and the No. 21 Bush's Baked Beans Ford F-150 is to win.
In two starts with Wood Brothers/JTG Racing, Martin has led the most laps at the California Speedway and posted a fourth place finish at the Lowe's Motor Speedway. When he continues his selected schedule in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series on Friday in the AAA Insurance 200 at the Dover International Speedway, Martin said his team doesn't need much to take the team to the next level - Victory Lane.
The one-mile oval at Dover is one of Martin's favorite tracks. He has one Craftsman Truck Series win there, as well as one in the Busch Series and four in the Nextel Cup Series.
Martin is sharing driving duties in the No. 21 Bush's Baked Beans Ford with Raybestos Rookie of the Year candidate Kelly Bires. Martin will make his next start for Wood Brothers/JTG Racing will be at the Michigan International Speedway on June 16. Bires will campaign the truck June 8 at the Texas Motor Speedway.
Mark Martin, driver of the No. 21 Bush's Baked Beans Ford F-150: "The stuff is here to get it done with," Martin said. "I just haven't closed the deal yet. We're close. We'll keep working on it and we'll get us one. We're running up front with our Ford F-150, and as long as you do that, you put yourself in position to win. That's always the strategy: You want a truck that's easy to drive and you want to make sure you put yourself in the best position at the end of the race. We're doing that. The next logical step is winning."
Ernie Cope, Crew Chief of the No. 21 Bush's Baked Beans Ford F-150: "This is a great experience for everyone on this No. 21 team, as well as Wood Brothers/JTG Racing. We've learned so much working with Mark. He adds a significant voice to this team and he gives us a new perspective. We've had good trucks every week, but he has the kind of experience that helps us take it a step further."
Mark Martin has 35 victories in the Nextel Cup Series, a record 47 wins in the Busch Series and seven victories in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series.
Martin is making his third scheduled appearance for Wood Brothers/JTG Racing. The others are at Michigan on June 16, Bristol, Tenn., on Aug. 22 and Atlanta on Oct. 27.
Martin is sharing the driving duties in the No. 21 Ford F-150 with Kelly Bires.
Martin also has 13 victories and five championships in the International Race of Champions.
Martin, U.S. Army team finish 11th in wild Coca-Cola 600
Team battles back from early troubles for eighth top-15 finish in nine starts
CONCORD, N.C. (May 27, 2007) -- In a wild and crazy ending at Lowe's Motor Speedway, Mark Martin and the U.S. Army Team notched an 11th place finish in Sunday night's Coca-Cola 600.
Martin overcame an early flat tire and was running in fifth position with just nine laps remaining in the season's longest race. Lacking the amount of fuel needed to go the distance, Martin brought his No. 01 U.S. Army Chevy down pit road for a splash of gas on Lap 392 of 400.
The top six finishing cars gambled to stay out and were able to go the distance, forcing the No. 01 team to settle for 11th, despite the fact Martin had run inside the top 10 for the previous 180 laps.
"This was a great effort by the U.S. Army Team," said Martin. "We had our best run at the end of the race and had a top-five car tonight. Unfortunately you don't always get the finish that is indicative of the effort."
"Still, these guys were just awesome in the pits all night," added Martin. "We struggled with the car early, but were at our best when it counted. It was a great effort and was an honor to drive this U.S. Army car and represent all of the soldiers on this Memorial Day weekend."
Martin started the longest race of the season in 11th position and battled with the car's handling for most of the race. He was running in 15th place on Lap 98 when he radioed to the pits that he had a tire going down. The team made an emergency green-flag stop on the next lap to replace the damaged tire and Martin returned a lap down in 29th position.
The veteran spent the next run patiently moving through the field, eventually moving back to the lead lap on Lap 134. Martin ran the remainder of the race inside the top 10.
"This was a really tough race," said Martin. "You saw a lot of good cars just lose it and wreck out there tonight. There was several times where I thought I might do the same thing, but fortunately we were able to hang on. We really did have the car running at its best at the end, and it's unfortunate to get beat like that on fuel mileage. But it was a great effort and we'll come back and see what we can do next weekend at Dover."
Martin moved up to 14th in the Nextel Cup owner points. He is just two places out of Chase contention, despite having missed three of the season's 12 races. The No. 01 Army/Ginn Racing team remained sixth in owner points.
The Nextel Cup Series will be at Dover International Speedway next week when the circuit returns to the Car of Tomorrow.
Mark Martin Media Visit – Lowe’s
May 24, 2007
MARK MARTIN, NO. 01 U.S. ARMY MONTE CARLO SS TALKED WITH MEDIA ABOUT HIS SCHEDULE, POSSIBLY FILLING IN FOR JEFF GORDON AT SONOMA, AND MORE:
ON HOW LIFE IS DIFFERENT NOW THAT YOU ARE NOT A PART-TIME RACER, BUT NOT STILL A FULL-TIME RACER
"I'm loving it. This is the best year of my life. Really look forward to this summer and I am living a dream. I am able to do a lot of things that I never thought would be possible at this stage in my career."
ON GOING FROM A FORD TO A CHEVROLET
"It seems to be working out well."
ON FILLING IN FOR JEFF GORDON THIS SUMMER
"There is not any major planning right now. I expect things to work out perfectly for Jeff. I am really proud of Jeff to make his number one priority being there for the birth of his daughter. I really respect him for that. He is in a position to do that and it is an honor for him to ask me to help out if need be. It is a good situation for he and I, I know what is really important to him and we have a great relationship at Ginn Racing with Hendrick Motorsports and we are just going to be in position to help him out and try to give him a good solid performance."
ON HAVING ANY REGRETS ON MAKING THIS PART TIME CONSIDERING THE GREAT START YOU GOT OFF TO THIS YEAR
"No. No regrets."
IS THERE ANY TIME THAT YOU ARE SITTING AT HOME THINKING YOU SHOULD BE IN THE SEAT OF THAT RACE CAR, OR IS IT SOMETHING THAT YOU HAVE JUST ACCEPTED?
"If I wanted to be in the seat of the race car, I could be. I don't sit at home and wish that, because if that is what I wished, I would be doing that. I am really happy with what I am doing. I really love it."
WOULD YOU SAY THAT YOU ARE MORE RELAXED THAN EVER IN YOUR CAREER AT THIS POINT?
"Without a doubt. I am really happy and so blessed to drive for a great team, like the Army team and drive great cars and have a chance to win and be able to blend that with the things that I really want to do with my life at this stage of the game."
HOW ABOUT THIS RACE HERE? WOULD YOU CONSIDER YOURSELF SOMEWHAT OF A MARATHON MAN, BECAUSE YOU HAVE HAD SUCH GREAT SUCCESS?
"I don't think so. I just really feel fortunate that I am with a team that can really give me a chance to be a contender here."
HOW ABOUT YOUR SUCCESS AT THIS TRACK, WHAT IS IT ABOUT THIS RACE THAT YOU SEEM TO LIKE?
" I have always run good here."
ON BALANCING FAMILY AND RACING
"I don't know really, other than you don't get a second chance sometimes."
ON THE TRANSITION TO THE CAR OF TOMORROW
"I think that is what the teams need. I think that it is important to focus on one particular car. If it is coming, the sooner is better than later."
HOW DOES THIS SCHEDULE FIT YOU BETTER THAN RUNNING FULL SCHEDULE?
"Yeah, a full schedule doesn't fit me real well at this stage in the game. If I had to choose between a full schedule and not driving, I would choose not driving. I have got the opportunity to drive for a great team that has given me a chance to contend to win and I get to race when I want to, which is quite a bit, it's just not all of it."
HOW DO THE OTHER DRIVERS VIEW YOUR NEW SCHEDULE?
"It's been varied. The ones that are older are interested in doing it themselves, for sure."
ON WHETHER OR NOT YOU FEEL THAT KYLE BUSCH IS DRIVING TOO AGGRESSIVELY
"That's not for me to say."
HOW CAREFUL DO YOU HAVE TO BE ON THOSE TIRES EARLY IN THIS RACE TO MAKE SURE THAT YOU ARE AROUND AT THE END OF THIS RACE?
"Same as you are every time you go on the race track, some are more careful than others."
WHAT DOES ADDING ONE HUNDRED MILES TO A RACE DO TO A TEAM, CAR, A DRIVER?
"I don't think that it does anything to them. If you are geared up to do five hundred, you had better have enough margin in to do six. Whether it is your equipment or your driver or your pit crew or anybody. If you have only got five hundred and two miles in you, you don't have enough margin. I don't think that it is that different."
WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THE NUMBER 26 DRIVER AND HOW HAS HE GROWN?
"I think that Jamie (McMurray) is an awesome driver. I am really glad to see that his year is shaping up to be more what he had hoped for than last year. They had a tough time last year. I think that a year like he went through last year really humbles and matures you."
ON CHEVROLET'S DOMINANCE
"Chevy teams are really getting it done right now, they are at the top of their game. They have a lot of really good cars so their odds are stronger because of their number of really great-running teams."
CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THE CAR OF TOMORROW COMING INTO PLAY NEXT YEAR?
"It's a car that we are going to have to face in the future. Doing two different cars in two different programs is tough on the teams. Running it full time next year is really the best thing for the teams."
IS THE LEVEL OF RACING STRESS DIFFERENT THIS YEAR WHEN YOU ARE NOT RACING FOR POINTS VERSUS WHEN YOU ARE?
"It is for me."
IS IT A MATTER OF NOT RACING FOR POINTS OR JUST NOT BEING SO MANY THINGS REQUIRED OF YOUR TIME AND ATTENTION?
"Well the difference is, this is not my last chance to win a championship. For the last five years, it has been, in a lot of ways. 2002, that was my last best shot and we finished second. 2004, 2005, 2006 we finished fourth. Those were my last best shots. I don't have to worry about that any more. I have just got to race."
DOES THE MILEAGE OF THIS RACE ON SUNDAY PLAY A TOLL ON THE DRIVER?
"I don't know, a day can be tough without going six hundred miles. Real tough. It all depends. They are tough, for whatever reason. Some of them are tougher than others. They don't' all have to be six hundred miles to be brutal, for all kinds of physical reasons, temperatures, how your car handles, all those things come into play.
So, it is more miles. It is a demanding race on you, physically and mentally but I have seen some four hundred lappers that would break your back too. That is not the only thing that makes them tough."
PHISICALLY, ARE THERE THINGS THAT YOU DO DIFFERENTLY FOR THIS RACE, BECAUSE YOU ARE GOING TO BE OUT THERE LONGER? DO YOU TRY TO TRAIN MORE?
"That would mean that I wasn't doing all that I could do in the others."
NO IT WOULDN'T
"Yes, it would. If I could do more for this one, then that would mean that I did not do enough for any of the others. If I did everything that I could for the others, I don't know how I could do more for this one. That is my point. I do every race like it is the biggest race of my career. That's how I address every race. You can't just sit down and have a bowl of pasta and drink a gallon of water and be more prepared than you were if you had just lived a healthy lifestyle. You have got to live it. I live it everyday.
Every race is important race. I am not the Dick Trickle guy that said that it's one hour for every hundred laps, so he had to get four hours of sleep for four hundred laps, but he only had to get one hour of sleep for one hundred laps. I am not that guy. That guy did prepare. He probably would have got six hour of sleep for a six hundred miler. See what I mean. I do everything that I can do, every time."
HOW DO YOU THINK THAT THE CAR OF TOMORROW DECISION WILL HELP SOME OF THESE OTHER TEAMS, SMALLER TEAMS?
"I don't know, I don't know. Right now it looks to be more work than the old cars. I don't know how it helps. It is what it is, you know, that's what we are going to do, so let's get on with it. It may be the processes will get easier, but for right now it is pretty difficult. The car is difficult, for the teams."
WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT TOYOTA CARS IN NEXTEL CUP?
"I don't know, I think that they have struggled more than they have expected, but they will keep working and eventually they will get what they are looking for. I think that the kind of level of competition that they are working toward, they will get closer so that they move forward."
SHOULD THEY BE ONE OF THOSE TEAMS THAT WILL BENEFIT NEXT YEAR FOR THE FACT THAT THEY ONLY HAVE TO PREPARE FOR ONE CAR?
"It will make it a little easier on all teams, to focus on one car instead of two. I believe that the processes will get easier, right now, they are way too much work, too much maintenance, the bodies are too hard to build, they are too hard to repair, too hard to keep going. I believe that will get better as we work with the car."
ARE YOU SURPRISED AT HOW RELATIVELY HIGH UP IN THE POINTS YOU ARE DESPITE HAVING THREE LESS STARTS THEN EVERYBODY ELSE?
Well I have run them all for several years and not been this high in the points, so I guess that speaks highly for what we have done while we were on the track."
DO YOU THINK THAT YOUR PERFORMANCE AND RUNNING A LIMITED SCHEDULE WILL LEAD OTHER GUYS TO THINK THAT MAYBE THEY COULD TAKE A RACE OFF EVERYNOW AND AGAIN WITH THIS FORMAT AND STILL WIN A CHAMPIONSHIP?
" I don't know, you would have to ask them that."
IS THERE ANYTHING SPECIAL THAT YOU FIND ABOUT RACING AT MIS (MICHIGAN INTERNATION SPEEDWAY)?
"I like the track. I love racing there. It is one of the most fun race tracks that we all drive on."
DO YOU PLAN ON RACING BOTH RACES?
"Both races and the Truck race and the Busch race."
IS IT FUN BEING ABLE TO DRIVE FOR DIFFERENT TEAMS, LIKE YOU HAVE THIS YEAR, AND ARE THERE ANY TEAMS THAT YOU WOULD LIKE TO DRIVE FOR THAT YOU HAVEN'T YET?
DO YOU CARE TO MENTION ANY NAMES?
"I wouldn't like to mention any names?"
HAVE YOU AGREED TO DRIVE FOR JEFF GORDON WHEN HE STEPS OUT FOR THE BIRTH OF HIS CHILD?
"I did. Hopefully it won't come to that, but I do admire Jeff for his commitment to be there when his daughter is born. I think that is awesome. He's in a great position and it is an honor, a real big honor to me, that they though enough of me to really pursue me."
YOU ARE GOING TO BE IN SONOMA, EVEN THOUGH REGAN SMITH IS GOING TO BE IN THE CAR, IS THAT CORRECT?
"I will be there. Yes, unless something happened and the baby came sooner, I will be there."
Martin would replace father-to-be Gordon
By Mike Cranston
AP Sports Writer
May 24, 2007
CONCORD, N.C. (AP) – Jeff Gordon believes Mark Martin’s successful run as a part-time driver ``has probably extended my career.''
So when the Nextel Cup points leader was trying to decide who to ask to replace him if his wife goes into labor on a race weekend, Martin immediately popped into his head.
``I threw it out to him. It took a little while to convince him, but he's been very gracious,'' Gordon said Thursday. ``I hope we don't have to use him. I hope it doesn't come to that. But wow, what an awesome opportunity.''
Gordon's wife, model Ingrid Vandebosch, is due to give birth to a girl in late June. Gordon, who has never missed a race, will leave the track if his wife goes into labor -- even though he would lose a week of driver points.
``I wouldn't miss that for anything. I love racing, but I don't love it that much,'' Gordon said.
So Hendrick Motorsports struck a deal with the 48-year-old Martin. Despite running in only eight of 11 races, Martin has four top-five finishes and is 15th in the points standings racing for Ginn Racing, which gets its motors from Hendrick.
``I'm really proud of Jeff to make his No. 1 priority being there for the birth of his daughter,'' Martin said. ``It's an honor for him to ask me help out if need be.''
Martin said he's having the ``most relaxed career in his life'' running a part-time schedule. The 35-year-old Gordon said it's inspired him to perhaps do the same late in his career instead of retiring outright.
``That is a scenario I can possibly see,'' Gordon said.
Mark Martin Preview – Coca-Cola 600
May 24, 2007
After a strong third-place run in the Nextel All-Star Challenge last week, Martin and the No. 01 U.S. Army Team return to Lowe's Motor Speedway with their sights set on the Coca-Cola 600. Martin will look to expand on his legendary success at LMS with another win in the circuit's longest race.
THE COCA-COLA 600
Starts: 23 (44 at Lowe's)
Wins: 1 (4)
Top 5's: 7 (17)
Top 10's: 9 (21)
Poles: 2 (1)
Highest finish: 1st (2002)
First time: 5/30/82 (27th)
Last time: 5.28/06 (4th)
Martin has four wins at Lowe's including a win in the 2002 Coca-Cola 600.
LAST YEAR AT THE COCA-COLA 600
May 20, 2006
Lowe's Motor Speedway
Started 21st, Finished 4th
Sound strategy, patience, complete focus and a fast race car were the ingredients used by Martin and the team for the Coca-Cola 600. The result was a fourth-place finish in the longest race of the season. Martin joined all five of his Roush Racing teammates inside the top-10 and his second top-five finish of the season moved him up one spot to third in the Nextel Cup point standings. Martin passed former Roush teammate Matt Kenseth in a daring pass on the final lap of the 400-lap race for the fourth position after moving into the top five for the remainder of the race on lap 367. Martin started the race 21st after an early draw limited his qualifying effort on Thursday afternoon. Working with a new surface and a new tire, Martin struggled with a loose car early on, dropping back to 29th place by lap 11. Martin reported that the car’s handling had come around by lap 17, and Martin began to move back through the field.
MARTIN AT LOWE'S
Martin has four wins at Lowe's, including one in the 600. In addition, he has won twice at Lowe's in the All-Star event. His 17 top-five finishes are the most of any active driver at the 1.5-mile track. He also boasts six Busch wins and two IROC wins at Lowe's as well.
STATISTICALLY SPEAKING – LOWES
Martin has led 1,168 laps at LMS, the most of any active driver. He has an average finish of 16.205 and an average running position of 11.448. He has made 156 quality passes in the last two seasons at LMS and his 21 top 10 and 17 top-five finishes are tops among active drivers.
MARTIN AT THE 600
This will be Martin's 24th Coca-Cola 600. Martin's first run in the then World 600 was on May 30, 1982. He won the event in 2002 and has turned in seven top-five and 9 top 10 finishes at the 600. He finished fourth in the 600 last season and has finished top five in two of the last three.
Martin's car will carry a special American Heroes Decal on the hood of the car this weekend in honor of Memorial Day and those who gave their lives defending our nation.
QUOTING MARK ON LOWE’S
"Lowe's Motor Speedway is probably my favorite track on the circuit. I just love racing there. In my opinion, it's the greatest place to race in the world. I can remember the first time that I ever went there in 1981 and thinking 'wow' this is just like a small quarter-mile track somewhere, except it's huge, but you could race just like that.
"The 600 is one of the biggest races of the year and I'm really looking forward to racing in it with Ryan Pemberton and the U.S. Army Team. These guys have just been awesome all year. We had a really good car last week for the All-Star. I like this car even better, so we can't wait to get it out there on the track and see what we can do.
"It's also a great honor to be able to drive for the U.S. Army and to represent all of the soldiers on Memorial Day weekend. I'd love nothing more than to be able to win the race for all of those guys who are out there defending our country and also for those who have given their lives in that same fight for freedom. Those guys are the real heroes."
MARK MARTIN - FAST FACTS – LOWE’S
Martin has four wins at Lowe's Motor Speedway, including the 2002 COCA-COLA 600 .
Martin has 21 top-10 and 17 top-five finishes at Lowe's. The 21 top-10's are the most of any driver.
Martin has led 1,168 laps at Lowe's, the most of any active driver.
Martin has won six Busch races at Lowe's and two All-Star events (1998 and 2005)
Martin won both IROC races at Lowes in '96 and '97.
Martin finished fourth in the Coca-Cola 600 last year.
Martin finished third at Lowe's last weekend in the All-Star.
Martin Cherishes Opportunity to Represent Soldiers in Memorial Day Weekend Classic
U.S. Army driver will be aiming for second Coca-Cola 600 victory
CONCORD, N.C. (May 22, 2007) -- When Mark Martin takes the green flag to start Sunday's Coca-Cola 600, he will have an extra incentive to succeed in NASCAR’s longest race of the season. It will be the first time he will be representing the U.S. Army in the Memorial Day weekend classic.
"The Coca-Cola 600 has always been a big race, but this year it has even more meaning for me," said Martin, who is in his first season driving for the U.S. Army/Ginn Racing team. "It's such an honor to represent these soldiers each week, especially on Memorial Day weekend. I'd like nothing more than to take this U.S. Army Chevy to Victory Lane and dedicate that effort to all the soldiers who have paid the ultimate price for freedom, and to our men and women in uniform who are fighting every day to protect us."
Martin's No. 01 Army Chevrolet will carry a special American Hero's decal on the hood, as part of a multicar program to honor the fallen heroes.
Based on his strong third-place finish in last week's Nextel All-Star Challenge, along with his past performances at Lowe's, Martin is rightfully considered one of the prerace favorites.
He won the Coca-Cola race in 2002 and finished in the top five in two of his last three 600s, including a fourth-place result last year. His impressive record at Lowe's also includes three wins in the fall Cup race, two victories in the All-Star Challenge, six wins in the Busch Series and two IROC wins.
"It's just a great race track," said Martin of the 1.5-mile oval located on the outskirts of Charlotte. "It's been the site of some of my greatest racing memories. I can still remember that Coke 600 win like it was yesterday. We really went after that race and there was a great sense of accomplishment once it was over."
Martin plans to attack this weekend's 600 with the same type of passion and determination.
"I am really hungry for another Coke 600 victory," noted Martin. "We had a great car last week, and should have an even better one for this weekend. The guys on this 01 team came really close to winning this race a couple of years ago, so I know they are just as hungry. One thing you can always count on is that we will never give up. We're like our soldiers, who inspire us every weekend."
Martin enters the Coca-Cola 600 15th in driver points, despite missing three races as part of his limited 2007 schedule with Ginn Racing. He and 01 co-driver Regan Smith have the Ginn Racing team ranked sixth in owner points.
Mark Martin and Jimmie Johnson Post Interview – Nextel All-Star
Second and third place finishers Jimmie Johnson and Mark Martin
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE'S/POWER OF PRIDE MONTE CARLO SS - FINISHED 2ND:
"The final laps we got close and got position, started to put a lot of pressure on Kevin. Our cars were pretty even at that point. I was a little out of control behind him in traffic. Got close a couple times and was trying to get inside of him and got real loose off of two. At that point, I was trying to get a last lap run on him and I got to the top one and two and made up some ground, I kind of wish I would have tried that sooner. Earlier in the night the outside lane wasn't really working for us. Maybe I could have done something a little different there a little sooner to get along side of him. I threw all I had at him, came up a little short. A little disappointed the way the event started for us. We had problems with the left front tire rubbing the fender and the tire to the cords and had to work on that by coming in a couple of times. Even though we had those problems to rebound back, to drive through pack to the front and race for this thing was a decent night, but I wish we could have won it."
MARK MARTIN, NO. 01 U.S. ARMY MONTE CARLO SS - FINISHED 3RD:
"We started in the back and we had a great run. We kept getting better. The format, 20 lappers are pretty short for me. Not my specialty, I am very proud of the U.S. Army team. We got great results. With 10 to go, I knew I had a shot to win and I ran the fool out of it. Kevin nor Jimmie neither one were faster than I was, we were all very equal. I looked really hard to try and make something happen for about seven laps, then with three to go, I had abused my right front to the point I didn't have what I needed to get it done."
JIMMIE - ON GOOD FINISH BUIDLING MOMENTUM FOR COKE 600:
"It is as close as you can get to the 600 conditions and you have all the teams. Everybody is at pace. It is not like a test session where you can't tell what somebody had for tires. Not sure if everybody has their good engines or the right car or whatever might be going on, this is real racing. So what you learn tonight, you can really apply to the 600. Granted it is later in the race. The beginning of it is the magic to find the balance of it. I would say if I was in the No. 29 shoes, I would be coming back with a lot of confidence, and have a very good idea of where I would want to be at the end of the 600 race."
JIMMIE - ON WHAT WAS WRONG EARLY ON THAT CAUSED THE EXTRA PIT STOP:
"When the race started, I was dragging the track really bad. I think we missed the travel a little bit on the fronts and the chassis was getting in to the ground and also the tires were up in the center wells and on the left front tire. Once we made the first pit stop, I got really tight, on that first run. Came in and took the tires off and was leaving pit road, Chad (Knaus, crew chief), said I had to come back in the pits, we had something rubbing and we need to look at it. So that is why we came back in and worked on it and tried to get the front-end heights where we need and pound that fender out. As I was catching Kevin, early in that run he left the bottom, I am not sure if he was tight or loose, but I could see he gave me a little window of hope. I kept chasing him on the bottom trying to force him to make a mistake. But he drove a solid race. At the end of the last lap, I thought, well the bottom hasn't worked, for me yet and I knew Mark was making some ground up there, but it hadn't worked for my setup earlier in the race. I thought it was the last lap; I had a cushion behind me so I thought what the heck. I got in one and two and got right to the No. 29 bumper and said why didn't I try that a lot sooner, but that is racing."
MARK: ON CHANCES HIS TEAM HAS FOR 600 NEXT WEEK:
"We feel good about it. With 10 to go, there wasn't a faster car on the race track. Certainly my specialty is a little bit longer than 20 laps. We feel great. We also know that there are 15 cars that can really get it done and showed a lot of speed tonight. Then there is another four or five that will show speed next week that didn't this week. There is really a lot of good cars. You look at the guys that finished up front here tonight, they will be strong, but they aren't the only ones and if I were a writer they aren't the only ones I would be talking about. I would be talking about the awesome race we are going to see next Saturday night.
JIMMIE: CHANCES HIS TEAM HAS FOR 600 NEXT WEEK:
"I feel really confident about coming back and what we need to have. The No. 17 (Matt Kenseth) and the No. 24 (Jeff Gordon) both had some trouble, so I expect them to be favorites. But as Mark pointed out, coming through the pack and racing tonight, it seemed like clean air made a difference being in the first two or three cars but outside of that, when I was running mid-pack, I didn't really have a lot for anyone. The cars were pretty equal through the field. I don't really have a clear favorite going in to it. I think we will have to wait until next weekend and see how things shake out."
MARK: ON IF MATT KENSETH AND JEFF GORDON WOULD HAVE BEEN STRONG COMPETITION IF THEY HADN'T HAD ISSUES:
"Yes, the both had trouble. But you never know. Every run is a little bit different. Sometimes, you will be awesome one run and maybe not so awesome the next one. It is hard to say. You can only go off the final result. Other than Jimmie, the teams that were in the front didn't have major trouble and had really good runs. I am not in to the what-ifs.”
Mark Martin Post Race Notes and Quotes – All-Star Challenge
MARK MARTIN, NO. 01 U.S. ARMY MONTE CARLO SS - FINISHED 3RD:
"It was a blast, man. It's an honor to represent all our soldiers and to drive the U.S. Army race car. Ryan Pemberton and this team gave me a shot to win this thing and with 10 to go, we were nose to tail, the three of us, and I searched for everything. I ran the high groove, which is not normal for me. It was anybody's race right there at that point. With about three to go, I had pretty much used my right front up and kind of fell off there. But man, it was a good race. Even though we weren't swapping the lead back and forth, it could have been any of the three of us at that point."
AT THE END OF THE RACE, YOU STUCK YOUR HEAD INSIDE OF JIMMIE JOHNSON'S CAR WINDOW. WHAT WAS THE CONVERSATION?
"I told him he was one heck of a race car driver."
Mark Martin Race Report – All-Star Challenge
Martin Powers to 3rd-Place Finish in Nextel All-Star Challenge
CONCORD, N.C. (May 19, 2007) - Mark Martin took over third place on Lap 66 of 80 and never looked back in Saturday night's Nextel All-Star Challenge at Lowe's Motor Speedway near Charlotte.
Martin, who had the fastest car on the track for the majority of the final 14 laps of the event, was able to close in on the leaders while pulling away from the rest of the field.
"This was just a great effort by this U.S. Army Team," said Martin, who finished behind race winner Kevin Harvick and runner-up Jimmie Johnson. "We had a great car and were able to get up there and run with the leaders. I was able to pull away from the cars behind me and with 10 laps to go you could not have told me that we couldn't win the race."
"Eventually I wore out my right front tire trying to get around the No. 48 (Johnson)," added Martin. "I was trying everything I could do. I knew if I could get around him quickly, we'd have a shot at winning. However, I couldn't pass Jimmie low and I lost some grip trying to go high. Still, this was a great run."
Martin had a horrible day on Friday, losing an engine in practice and spinning out during the three-lap qualifying session. But after starting the All-Star race 18th, Martin was able to driveto 13th by the end of the first of the four 20-lap segments.
Crew chief Ryan Pemberton opted to keep Martin and the No. 01 Army Chevrolet out on the track after the first segment, while the majority of the field pitted for tires. The move paid off with a net gain of seven positions for Martin, who finished the second segment in sixth position.
Martin restarted segment three in sixth and broke into the top five on Lap 44. He opened the fourth and final segment in fifth position.
"It really is such a pleasure to drive this U.S. Army Chevy and to represent all of the soldiers," noted Martin. "This format with (four) 20-lap segments really isn't my specialty, but the team gave me such a good car tonight. We are really looking forward to coming back here next week for the 600 and hopefully we'll be able to give our soldiers something big to cheer about."
Martin and the 01 team will return to Lowe's Motor Speedway for the May 27Coca-Cola 600 -- the longest race of the season. Martin won the event in 2002.
Mark Martin Pre-race Notes
Martin Looks for Third Victory in Prestigious All-Star Event
All-Star wins rank high on veteran's list of accomplishments
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (May 18, 2007) -- Mark Martin has a hard time singling out his favorite memories during his 20-plus year racing career in the Nextel Cup Series, but he will readily admit that his two victories in the Nextel All-Star event rank at the top.
Martin won the 1998 All-Star event -- then called The Winston -- after Jeff Gordon ran out of fuel on the last lap. In 2005 he drove away from the field to claim his second All-Star win, which was one of the most fulfilling of his career.
"I'd have to say that those wins do rank high on the list," said Martin who will start his 18th consecutive All-Star race Saturday night, and his first in the No. 01 U.S. Army Chevrolet. "Sometimes the sweetest victories are the ones that you don't expect. They say that second place doesn't pay, but it sure does when the guy leading runs out of gas on the last lap. Jeff (Gordon) ran out of fuel and we passed him and got a very surprising win that day."
Martin's 2005 victory was a different story, but no less special to the veteran driver.
"That was just a great night," said Martin. "We were running a throw-back paint scheme from the 1993 season when we won four straight races. We didn't have the best car that night, but we just wanted it more. "We took the lead during the first segment and they inverted the field. We drove back through the field and took the lead again with about 20 to go and just pulled away from the field. It was just one of those special nights where it all came together."
A third All-Star win for Martin would tie him with Dale Earnhardt Sr. and Jeff Gordon for most All-Star victories.
"It's one of the best races all season," added Martin. "People can just rest a week from all of the point racing and just go for it. It makes for a great race and a great show for the fans."
"I've won it twice, but I'd like nothing more than to win it with Ryan Pemberton and this U.S. Army Team," added Martin. "It would also be really special to win it while representing all of the Soldiers. It's been a magical year for me and I can't think of nothing that would make it even more special than an All-Star win."
Mark Martin Post Race Notes and Quotes
Quaker Steak and Lube 200 presented by Circle K
MARK MARTIN -- No. 21 Bubba Burgers Ford F-150 (Finished 4th)
We've got the stuff to get it done, but we just aren't quite there. We had a pretty fast truck. I got it in the wall early and pushed the fender in a little bit, so we had to take the time to get it back out. We came from the back of the pack and not many folks have done that, but we kind of stalled out when we got there to fourth. We just needed another adjustment."
YOU MUST FEEL GOOD ABOUT THE POTENTIAL OF THIS GROUP.
"The stuff is here to get it done with, I just haven't closed the deal yet. We're close. We'll keep working on it and we'll get us one."
Martin Finishes Fourth in Lowe's Truck Race
Few drivers in last Friday night's Quaker Steak and Lube 200 could have bounced a race truck off the wall at nearly 200 mph and still post a Top-Five finish. But few drivers in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race have the kind of racing pedigree as Mark Martin.
Despite hitting the wall early in the race, Martin still finished fourth in the No. 21 Bubba Burger Ford F-150.
Martin qualified fourth and fell back to eighth place after caroming off the wall early in the race. His Wood Brothers/JTG Racing team kept him in the Top 10. Several late-race cautions - including a green-white-checkered finish - kept Martin from getting the kind of extended runs he wanted most.
Martin is making selected starts in the Truck Series for Wood Brothers/JTG Racing. He's sharing the driving duties with Kelly Bires. Martin's next race will be the AAA Insurance 200 at the Dover International Speedway on June 1. Bires will pilot the No. 21 Ford F-150 next week at the Mansfield Motorsports Speedway on Saturday afternoon.
Mark Martin, driver of the No. 21 Bubba Burger/Bush's Baked Beans Ford F-150:
"We've got the stuff to get it done, but we just aren't quite there," he said. "We had a pretty fast truck. I got it in the wall early and pushed the fender in a little bit, so we had to take the time to get it back out. We came from the back of the pack and not many folks have done that, but we kind of stalled out when we got there to fourth. "We just needed another adjustment. The stuff is here to get it done with. I just haven't closed the deal yet. We're close. We'll keep working on it and we'll get us one."
Mark Martin earned $17,550 to push his career Craftsman Truck Series earnings to $680,936.
The No. 21 Bubba Burger Ford is ranked 21st in the car owner standings.
Martin's fourth-place finish was the first Top-Five finish for the No. 21 Ford F-150 since Wood Brothers/JTG Racing created the team in 1996.
The top-five finishing order included Ron Hornaday Jr., A.J. Allmendinger, Todd Bodine, Martin and Ted Musgrave.
Mark Martin Preview – All-Star Challenge
MARTIN LOOKS FOR THIRD ALL-STAR WIN
After tough races the past two weeks at Richmond and Darlington, Mark Martin and the No. 01 U.S. Army Team get a reprieve from the Car of Tomorrow this weekend when NASCAR takes a break from point racing for the Nextel All-Star Challenge at Lowe's Motor Speedway in Concord, N.C.
MARTIN’S ALL-STAR CHALLENGE RECORD
Top 5's: 5
Top 10's: 7
Poles: - 0
Highest finish: 1st (twice)
First time: 1990 (3rd)
Last time: 2006 (15th)
LAST YEAR AT THE ALL-STAR
May 20, 2006
Lowe's Motor Speedway
The Nextel All-Star
Started 16th, Finished 15th
Martin's his bid for consecutive victories in the all-star event came to a crashing halt on lap 48 when he was battling for the lead. Martin had restarted second after a 10-car inversion following the race’s first segment. He took the lead on Lap 41 and was battling Kasey Kahne for the position. When Kahne lost control of his No. 9 car, he drifted up the track and into Martin, causing a massive multi-car accident that would put an end to Martin’s night and bid for victory.
Martin is one of three active drivers with multiple All-Star wins.
A TRUE ALL-STAR
This will be Martin's 18th straight All-Star Challenge. He has won the event twice -- in 1998 and 2005. He has also posted seven top-10 and five top-five finishes.
Martin will make his return to the Craftsman Truck Series this weekend, when he makes his second career truck start at Lowe's Motor Speedway and his second career start in the Wood Brother's No. 21 truck.
MARTIN ADDS THREE MORE RACES TO 2007 CUP SCHEDULE
Three Nextel Cup races have been added to Martin's limited 2007 schedule with Ginn Racing. He will now drive the No. 01 U.S. Army Chevy at Pocono in August. and at Richmond and Dover in September. Martin will drive the No. 01 in the next five Cup events, including the Coca-Cola 600, before handing the wheel back to Regan Smith for the June 24 race in Sonoma, California.
MARTIN’S QUOTES ON ALL-STAR CHALLENGE
"The Nextel All-Star is one of the coolest races of the year. It's a little different for me this year, but in years past the really cool thing about it was a week where you could take off from the constant pressures of point racing and just go for it. We were able to do that and we were able to win that thing a couple of times. The win in '98 was a huge surprise, because we were running in second and Jeff (Gordon) ran out of gas. The win a couple of years ago was really awesome and one of the highlights of my career. We didn't have the best car in the field that night, but just really let it all hang out and went for it. We were able to get in the lead and we just never gave it up.
"I was very pleased with the test we had at Charlotte last week and I think we will have some fast cars for the next couple of weeks. I love Lowe's Motor Speedway and it will be a little bit of a relief to get away from the COT battle for a couple of weeks as well. Lowe's has always been one of my favorite tracks and I'm looking forward to getting out there with Ryan Pemberton and this U.S. Army team."
MARTIN’S ALL-STAR CHALLENGE FAST FACTS
Will compete in his 18th straight All-Star event.
Won the event in 1998 and in 2005.
Has posted five top-fives and seven top 10’s at the All-Star event.
Finished third during his first All-Star race in 1990.
One of three active drivers to have won the event twice.
Martin Anxious To Get To Lowe's In Bubba Burgers Ford Truck
Mark Martin wanted to slow down this year with a selective part-time schedule. While he has a few more open weekends, he's yet to slow down on the racetrack.
Martin returns to one of his greatest loves this Friday night when he drives the No. 21 Bubba Burgers Ford at the Lowe's Motor Speedway. It will mark the second time this year he's driven a Ford F-150 for Wood Brothers/JTG Racing in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series.
Martin had divided his schedule among the Nextel Cup, Busch and Craftsman series. He's driving selected races in each, picking and choosing his favorite tracks.
The 1.5-mile Lowe's Motor Speedway always has been one of Martin's favorites.
Martin already has one start for Wood Brothers/JTG Racing. He started fourth at the California Speedway in February and led a race-best 45 of 100 laps. His chance at victory was knocked into the infield grass - literally - with six laps to go when he was struck from behind by Ron Hornaday Jr. during a re-start.
MARK MARTIN, DRIVER OF THE NO. 21 BUBBA BURGERS FORD F-150
"Variety is the spice of life," Martin said. "In my whole life, racing has always come first and then family. I have the opportunity to change that. I am carrying out that plan to cut back. I'm not interested in chasing that (Nextel Cup Series) championship. I had a great career, but 2007 isn't the year to do that any more. There are portions of my life that have been passing me by. I hope to pick up a few pieces of that at age 48.
"I've always loved the Craftsman Truck Series. It's a lot of fun and, I think, it's some of the most-competitive racing we have."
JON MONSOM, CREW CHIEF OF THE NO. 21 BUBBA BURGERS FORD F-150
"Mark Martin is one of the greatest drivers in NASCAR history, and we know we're going to get everything out of our Ford F-150 on Friday night. We thought we had a win at California, but it was taken away from us. We've all been real eager for another chance. Everyone at Wood Brothers/JTG Racing is committed to getting Mark Martin in Victory Lane."
MARK MARTIN FAST FACTS
Mark Martin has 35 victories in the Nextel Cup Series, a record 47 wins in the Busch Series and seven victories in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series.
Martin is making his second scheduled appearance for Wood Brothers/JTG Racing. The others are at Dover, Del., on June 1, Michigan on June 16, Bristol, Tenn., on Aug. 22 and Atlanta on Oct. 27.
Martin is sharing the driving duties in the No. 21 Ford F-150 with Kelly Bires.
Martin also has 13 victories and five championships in the International Race of Champions.
Mark Martin Race Report – Darlington - Dodge Avenger 500
Martin Finishes 14th at Darlington
DARLINGTON, S.C. (May 13, 2007) -- Darlington Raceway is known as the track "Too Tough to Tame" and Mark Martin spent most of the day battling the daunting 1.366-mile oval with the Car of Tomorrow (COT). But in the end, Martin and the 01 U.S. Army team battled back to a respectable 14th-place finish in Sunday's rain-delayed Nextel Cup event.
"This was a really tough race," said Martin. "Though we fought the COT all weekend, I am really proud of the U.S. Army team's effort for never giving up. We kept working on the car and the over-the-wall guys had some great pit stops under pressure. Like our soldiers we never quit. We take great pride in wearing the Army uniform."
Despite missing three races as part of his limited Ginn Racing schedule, Martin is 15th in driver points while the Army team is ranked sixth in owner points.
Following a sub par performance in Friday's final practice session, the team, headed by crew chief Ryan Pemberton, changed the setup on the car. The changes obviously worked as Martin wasted little time moving through the field in Sunday's race.
Starting 37th, the veteran driver powered his No. 01 U.S. Army Chevy Impala SS into the top 30 by Lap 33 of 367. He broke inside the top 25 on Lap 48 and passed former teammate Matt Kenseth on Lap 80 for the 20th position. Martin moved all the way to 15th by Lap 96 and remained inside the top 15 for the majority of the race from that point on.
The No. 01 U.S. Army pit crew was stellar all day, advancing Martin five positions and into the top 10 with a 12.3-second stop on Lap 259. However the handling on the No. 01 Chevy Impala seemed to go away on the ensuing run and Martin was unable to keep the car inside the top 10.
Martin stayed out after the races' ninth caution and restarted in fifth position on Lap 249. Unfortunately the car was unable to run with the leaders and Martin settled back into the field as the laps wound down. He was able to hang on to a top-15 finishing position.
The Army team will take a week off from point racing when they compete in Saturday night's Nextel All-Star Challenge at Lowe's Motor Speedway near Charlotte, before returning to Lowe's the following week for the famed Coca-Cola 600, an event Martin won in 2002.
The next two weeks will also be a break from the COT, with teams running traditional cars at the two Lowe's Motor Speedway events.
"I'm really looking forward to Charlotte," said Martin. "I love that race track and we had a great car there at the test last week. It's going to be a nice break from the COT."
Mark Martin Media Visit – Darlington
May 11, 2007
Mark Martin, No. 01 U.S. Army Impala SS met with members of the media at Darlington Speedway to discuss racing at Darlington, Dale Earnhardt, Jr.'s decision to leave DEI and other subjects. ON RACING AT DARLINGTON
"I have had some good time here. Kind of feels like old school here at least until we strap in to our Impala. It is really good to be here.
ON DRIVING FOR HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS IN THE BUSCH SERIES
"I don't think I can describe what he means to me to have the opportunity to drive a Hendrick car with the kind of effort with the kind of effort that goes in to it. This is not just a car, it is the No. 5 car, that was All Star Racing back in the mid-1980s. Harry Hyde and Rick Hendrick were just getting started and I was there. We have been friends and competitors ever since. It means a whole lot more to me than the casual fan probably realizes. Incredible people and I get a chance to work with more people that I am a fan of. A lot of Saturdays and Sundays I watch as a fan, I watch them work and admire."
ON WHAT IT MEANT TO WIN THE ALL STAR RACE AT CHARLOTTE
"The first time I won was so much fun. Jeff ran out of gas on the white flag lap and I was running second. We didn't know we were going to win until it was almost over. It was such a big surprise. Winning in 2005 was an incredible accomplishment for all of us. It was one of those nights when we didn't have the best car. Usually every move I make is the wrong move, but that night it all lined up. Bu that night, every time I did something, it was the right move and we wound up in the front. It was a really exciting race to win especially when you feel like you have something to do with it."
ON DALE JUNIOR ANNOUNCEMENT HE IS LEAVING DEI
"I probably have the same as thoughts that most fans do. Disappointed that he wasn't able to work things out at to continue on at DEI. But Dale Junior is one of the strongest men in this sport. He is the man in NASCAR and he needs to do what is right for him. I am going to watch with excitement and enthusiasm. He is a tremendous leader and do great wherever he lands and dominos are going to fall.
"I think that anybody in the garage would be thrilled with the opportunity to have Dale Junior and certainly, I think I can speak with Bobby Ginn and Jay Frye, we would certainly like to talk to him."
ON WHAT A DRIVER FACES AFTER MAKING AN ANNOUCEMENT IS LEAVING A TEAM AND THERE ARE MANY RACES YET TO RUN
"75 percent of the time, it doesn't have any affect. Everyone there respects one another and will continue to dig deep to win every race. That is why they race, that is why they are in this business. 25% percent of the time the chemistry goes bad. It probably wasn't good in the first place otherwise the driver wouldn't be leaving, so there was already stress there and that makes the stress worse. Then you can't get the job done together because of the feelings and emotions. There are times when that does happen but for the most part, it doesn't affect the performance of the team usually."
ON REPAVING DARLINGTON
"It changes every time we come here. It really wasn't that long ago when they repaved this place. It was a different Darlington when they repaved it; a set of tires lasted a fuel run and were just as fast at the end as they were at the beginning. The asphalt they use in this area just deteriorates really fast and it won't be long after they repave it again, we will be back to the same old Darlington."
ON STANDINGS IN POINTS DESPITE RUNNING A PART TIME NNCS SCHEDULE
"No, I didn't have any idea we would be this high in the points when we announced this schedule because it is of no interest to me so I didn't have any idea we would be here."
THOUGHTS ON CAR OF TOMORROW TO THIS POINT
"It is going to perform terrible here at Darlington. We haven't run a big track with it yet. Theoretically it is going to be worse on a big track than on a small track on the aero side. It may mechanically not be quite as crippled. Short tracks are almost pure mechanical things while big tracks are much more aero things. The aero on them isn't great and the mechanical on them certainly is not good. Mechanically the cars can be so much better, if they had put that splitter seven inches instead of four inches so that we have front suspension. I don't really have any major problems with the wing, the size of the greenhouse for that additional safety or even the additional weight that is on the right side. Those are all small issues that we as teams can deal with without any major stress. Trying to limit the front suspension to 50% of what we have been using, is a real problem for all of us. And the guys that have got it best have the least problems but it is still where the challenge is in the COT is the front suspension. Possibly front down force, but I think if we had front suspension in these cars, we wouldn't be screaming like we are."
"I feel like we have a long way to do. We are not prepared to go make that progress because of the growth of this organization; we are doing all we can do. Right now, immediately we are not prepared as an organization to do any major development on the COT. We have got what we have got and we are going to work on making it better each race, but that is going to be a slow process, a very slow process and that is where we are right now. A spectacular group of people in a spectacular organization that is in a growth phase, who in my opinion, have spectacular versions of the previous cars. The COT we haven't been in a position to develop the car and we have more work in front of us than we can take care of in the next few weeks. It is going to take a good long while for us.
"That the car is just more of a driver's car is just something people are saying. You take the old race cars and you cut the spoilers off of them and then it is in the hands of the drivers. This is the other way. They took the front spoiler off of it, left a big back spoiler on it and it is all about the car and technical. You want to see who can drive, take the wing off that thing. Or cut the spoiler off the old car. Then the driver will have to step up and really really drive. These cars won't turn. No driver in the world can help that. If they are spinning out, then the most skillful drivers will hold on to the car and go faster. You asked my opinion; I will tell you that is my opinion. I think we are at the mercy of the car more right now, today with the COT than with the other car.”
Upstart Ginn Racing enters Earnhardt race
By Jenna Fryer
AP Auto Racing Writer
May 12, 2007
Darlington, S.C. (AP) -- New NASCAR owner Bobby Ginn plans to pursue Dale Earnhardt Jr. — with every intent of landing him — as soon as Junior is ready to hear offers.
"We would stretch as hard as we could stretch to do it," Ginn said by telephone Friday night. "You want the best, the absolute best, and I love the idea that Dale wants to win championships. He could accomplish that here with us.
"We're in play."
Earnhardt is leaving Dale Earnhardt Inc. at the end of the season, and heads into Saturday night's race at Darlington Raceway as perhaps the hottest free agent in sport history.
He said Friday that he wants to take a few weeks before opening the negotiating process, and NASCAR's most popular driver should have his pick of teams. Three owners — Rick Hendrick, Joe Gibbs and Richard Childress — were quickly identified as the front-runners, and Childress indicated Friday he'll be in the race.
"We will sit and talk, I'm sure," said Childress, who fielded cars for six of Dale Earnhardt's seven championships. "I'm hoping he's considering us."
So is Ginn, who finds himself jockeying for position among NASCAR's heavyweights less than a year after buying into the sport.
The Florida land developer bought a midlevel team last July and markedly improved it in just a few short months. Following an aggressive long-range plan, Ginn snagged Mark Martin and expanded the operation to three cars.
Then Martin nearly won the Daytona 500, while opening the season with the best start of his career.
He briefly led the points standings before bowing out on top. He's running a partial schedule this season and is currently ranked 14th despite sitting out three of 10 races.
Existing drivers Sterling Marlin and Joe Nemechek have been considerably stronger this season, with Marlin as the only driver not ensured a spot in the field to qualify for the first five races of the year.
Ginn also beefed up his driver development package, where he's tucked away 15-time motocross champion Ricky Carmichael.
"We have a five-year plan in mind and the conclusion is winning a championship," Ginn said. "We took a risk on Mark Martin, and that's paid off in spades for us. We aren't afraid to be aggressive."
The team leases its motors from Hendrick and is perceived to be a satellite of that powerful operation. It's gotten Ginn mentioned as an outside equation in the Earnhardt race, but the team clearly wants to be a viable option.
"He is the man in NASCAR," Martin said. "We would certainly like to talk to him."
Ginn thinks his team suits Earnhardt because he runs it like a family operation and would fit much of what Junior is looking for. Earnhardt ideally would like to complement JR Motorsports, the Busch Series operation he owns, with his next employer.
Dale Earnhardt followed that model by driving for Childress while developing DEI, and Ginn thinks Junior can do it with him.
"Listening to what Dale has outlined, his Busch operation would dovetail beautifully with us," Ginn said. "We believe he'd be a good fit. Our DNA's match, our cultures are alike."
Earnhardt reiterated Friday that he's looking for a winner.
"I could live without winning a championship, but I would have to," he said. "But I don't want to. I want to win a championship and I want to win more races. I want to win on a regular basis."
It's why he'll take some time away to decompress before he makes the next biggest decision in his life. He wants his next employer to be his last after six-plus seasons at his late father's company. Junior has won 17 races at DEI, but the program has been on a slow decline since Earnhardt's 2001 death.
Junior wanted 51 percent ownership to stay with the company, but stepmother Teresa wouldn't turn over control. So he's parting ways and should have no shortage of suitors.
"I would like to take a week or two to clear my mind a little bit, drink some beers and have some fun," he said. "I have felt about as un-normal as I possibly could the past few days. Lost a lot of sleep. So I want to relax and just clear my head and get in a good football stance to go after this new deal that we're seeking."
The suspense will consume the garage, which was abuzz all day Friday as he and his team did their best to get on with their final year together.
It wasn't easy, though, as thick crowds gathered around his garage stall and team hauler to watch his every move.
"It's sort of hard to get to the car — I'm parked too close to the 8," RCR driver Clint Bowyer joked. "Man, it would be hard to focus on what you are doing with all the hoopla around him."
Despite the chaos, Junior was able to find some peace inside his red No. 8 Chevrolet.
"I am glad to be back in a race car today, absolutely. That's where I hide from a lot of things," he said. "I love race-car driving and that's all I want to do. After the last couple of days, this is the best medicine."
Mark Martin Preview - Darlington - Nextel Cup
May 10, 2007
MARTIN LOOKS TO TAME THE 'LADY IN BLACK'
Martin heads to Darlington this weekend, looking to rebound from his worst finish of the season last week at Richmond (17). Darlington will be Martin's third Car of Tomorrow race of the season and the "Track Too Tough Too Tame" looks to post its biggest challenge ever this weekend.
Martin finished seventh in his first career Cup race at Darlington in 1982.
Martin heads to Darlington this weekend, looking to rebound from his worst finish of the season last week at Richmond (17). Darlington will be Martin's third Car of Tomorrow race of the season and the "Track Too Tough Too Tame" looks to post its biggest challenge ever this weekend.
MARTIN AT DARLINGTON
This will be Martin's 41st career Cup start at Darlington Raceway, where his 17 top-five and 25 top-10 finishes are the most among active drivers. Martin has finished inside the top 10 in 62 percent of his races there, where he has finished eighth or better in five of his last six and top five in three of his last six. He will be looking for his fifth straight top-10 at Darlington this weekend, where he made his first start on April 4 of 1982, when he finished seventh. He won the famed Southern 500 there in Sept. of 1993; his only Cup win at the track. His eight Busch wins at Darlington are a track record, setting him as one of the most successful drivers in the track's famed history.
Starts: 40 (21)
Wins: 1 (-)
Top 5's: 17 (11)
Top 10's: 25 (17)
Poles: 2 (2)
Highest finish: 1st (9-'93)
First time: 4/482 (7th)
Last time: 5/13/06 (8th)
LAST YEAR AT DARLINGTON
May 13, 2006
Dodge Charger 400
Started 17th, Finished 8th
Martin and the team ran to their sixth top-10 finish of the season with an eighth place run in the Dodge Charger 500 at Darlington. The run marked the team’s 10th top-15 finish in 11 races in 2006. Martin moved back inside the top 10 on lap 273, where he would run the remainder of the race, taking ninth place on lap 283, before settling into eighth on lap 312. The team would pit for the final time of the evening under green on lap 316 and he was still running in eighth when the field cycled through on lap 321. He would be able to hang onto the position for the remainder of the race, bringing home the eighth-place finish.
HISTORIC BUSCH START
While Martin's history at Darlington in the Busch series is virtually untouchable, he will make another historic Busch start there this Friday. Martin will make his first start in a Hendrick Motorsports car when he climbs in the No. 5 Chevy for the Diamond Hill Plywood 200.
MAKING POINTS ON THE TRACK
Martin moved up to 14th in the driver points last weekend, despite having missed three races this season. Although he has competed in only seven of 10 events, he trails the Chase cut-off point by only 80 points. He leads 18 drivers in the points, who have run in three more races. In addition, Martin and co-driver Regan Smith have the No. 01 car at sixth in the Nextel Cup Owner points.
ON HIS OWN TERMS
Martin entered the 2007 season resolved to run a limited schedule and he stuck to his plan. He started his Cup season with three-consecutive top-five finishes - for the first time in his racing career - and five straight top 10's . Until joining with Ginn Racing this season, Martin had never started a season with back-to-back top-fives and his second-place finish in the Daytona 500 is also a career best. Martin's three straight top-fives to open the season also marked the first time Martin has scored three consecutive top-five finishes since 2002 and his lead in the points was his first since 2002. He became the oldest driver to lead the points for more than one week and the first driver since 1983 to walk away with the lead.
QUOTING MARK ON DARLINGTON
"Darlington is a cool track that I've always liked. I ran second there to Dale Earnhardt twice in '89 and '90 and finally won in '93. Sometimes I think that people seem to forget that I won a Southern 500. I've had a lot of success at Darlington and an enormous amount of Busch wins. The place brings back some great memories of some great battles. Actually the win in '93 was four in a row and that was a big deal.
"It's a jagged oval. It's not a smooth radius turn. The wall goes in and out and in and out. Your line is as smooth as anywhere else, but the track's all over the place. You go from touching the apron to touching the wall and you've never even changed directions. It's really narrow and banked a lot. The cars go really fast and the track goes everywhere so it's always a challenge."
"We know that we still have our work cut out for us in the COT. We've really struggled in the two COT races that I've driven in this year. We were able to make a lot of improvements in the car from Phoenix to Richmond, so we just have to make sure that we keep heading in the right direction."
MARK MARTIN FAST FACTS - DARLINGTON
Martin's 25 top 10 and 17 top-five finishes are the most of any active driver at Darlington.
Martin won the famed Southern 500 at Darlington in Sept. of 1993.
Martin has finished inside the top-eight in five of the last six at Darlington.
Martin has finished inside the top-five in three of the last six at Darlington and he has posted three consecutive top 10's there.
Martin's eight Busch wins at Darlington are a track record. He'll run this weekend's Busch race for Hendrick Motorsports in the No. 5 Chevy.
NASCAR.COM - NASCAR to salute military through American Heroes - May 8, 2007
Martin to Drive The Chevrolet in Friday’s Busch Series Race at Darlington Raceway
May 8, 2007
LONG TIME COMING
Mark Martin, the winningest driver in NASCAR Busch Series history, will team with car owner Rick Hendrick this week for the first time. Martin will drive the No. 5 Hendrick Autoguard/hendrickcars.com Chevrolet in Friday’s Busch Series race at Darlington (S. C.) Raceway, marking his first time in more than 25 years of NASCAR competition behind the wheel of a Hendrick Motorsports-prepared car.
EVERYTHING IN THREES
Friday’s event will mark the first of Martin’s three scheduled Busch Series races for Hendrick Motorsports in 2007. He will also drive the No. 5 Chevrolet at Michigan International Speedway in August and at Homestead-Miami Speedway in November.
Martin has competed in 27 Busch Series races at Darlington Raceway, earning eight victories and 17 top-10 finishes. He has also earned the pole position a record eight times at the famed “Lady in Black." Martin has won three of his last four Busch Series races at the 1.366-mile South Carolina oval, including two victories from the pole in 2000. Most recently, he started eighth and finished fourth at Darlington in May 2006.
THIRD BUSCH RACE
Martin’s first start with Hendrick Motorsports will be his third Busch Series race of 2007. He raced at Daytona (Fla. ) International Speedway in February and Texas Motor Speedway in April, finishing fifth and 12th, respectively.
Martin’s record of 47 career Busch Series victories is 16 more than Jack Ingram, who is second on the all-time list, and 20 more than third-place Kevin Harvick. In Busch Series competition, Martin has earned at least one race win in 14 different years and posted at least one pole position in 13 separate seasons. He also owns the record for Busch Series poles with 30.
BUSCH’S GREATEST DRIVER
In a poll last year of both fans and media, Martin ranked No. 1 among the “25 Greatest NASCAR Busch Series Drivers."
Crew chief Mike Bumgarner has selected Hendrick Motorsports Chassis No. 356 for Friday’s Busch Series race at Darlington. The car led the most laps at both Atlanta Motor Speedway and Texas Motor Speedway this season before finishing third and seventh, respectively.
MARK MARTIN, DRIVER OF THE NO. 5 HENDRICK AUTOGUARD/HENDRICKCARS.COM CHEVROLET
MARTIN ON RACING FOR HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS
“The thrill for me is to be able to drive for Rick Hendrick, and to be able to say that I did that before my career ends as a driver is really special. To have them (Hendrick Motorsports) with their enthusiasm and a chance to work with more really brilliant people that I can maybe learn something from, this is the greatest time in my life."
MARTIN ON RACING THE NO. 5 CHEVROLET
“That No. 5 means something to me. I remember the No. 5 when it was first getting started—when it was All-Star Racing on the side and Rick Hendrick was a car dealer getting into NASCAR. It’s cool. This is stuff that’s history. And the older you get the more history means to you."
MARTIN ON HIS INVOLVEMENT UP TO THIS POINT WITH THE HENDRICK AUTOGUARD/HENDRICKCARS.COM TEAM
“I see how fast the car is. I see they don’t need my input. If they did, I would’ve gotten involved sooner, but the program is so strong they really don’t need my input from a technical side. Actually, I’m thrilled and excited just to have the opportunity to work with another group of really smart people that are really getting it done and are excited to have me drive their car."
MARTIN ON POSSIBLY EARNING HIS 48TH CAREER VICTORY AT DARLINGTON
“The way this car has run this year with Kyle (Busch) in it, if I can get in there and not do something stupid, and do a good job of relaying (information) and integrating and working with the team, then we should have a shot at it."
RICK HENDRICK, OWNER OF THE NO. 5 HENDRICK AUTOGUARD/HENDRICKCARS.COM CHEVROLET
HENDRICK ON HAVING MARK MARTIN DRIVE FOR HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS
“When I heard that he was going over to Ginn Racing and he wanted to talk to us about our support and the engine program, we just started talking and he said, ‘Hey, I’d like to drive one of your Busch cars one day’ and it just kind of started. It’s exciting. He’s just such an icon. And I think we’ll learn something. I think we’ll learn a lot from Mark and his input."
HENDRICK ON MARK MARTIN AS A RACER
“He’s the kind of guy that if you can’t win a race, you feel good about watching him win cause he’s just a real gentleman on the track. He’s helped Kyle (Busch) when Kyle first came into the sport. I kind of compare it to having Darrell (Waltrip) win the Daytona 500 in our car. When I look back at the end of the day and we look at the wins we have and the people that have been part of it, I think it’s going to be really neat to have Mark’s name on that list."
Mark Martin to Drive For Hendrick at Darlington in NASCAR Busch Series Race
May 8, 2007
It’s taken 25 years, 47 wins, 30 poles and over 220 starts but Mark Martin (No. 5 Hendrick Autoguard/ Hendrickcars.com Chevrolet) and owner Rick Hendrick (24 years, 22 wins, 35 poles) have finally teamed up in NASCAR Busch Series competition.
Martin, the series’ all-time leader in wins and poles – who was voted No. 1 among the 25 Greatest NASCAR Busch Series Drivers by media and fans last year – is also the series’ best at Darlington Raceway with eight wins and eight poles.
So the partnership – the first of three events at which the NASCAR icons will work together – has the potential to be a successful debut.
“That No. 5 means something to me,” Martin said. “I remember the No. 5 when it was first getting started –when it was All-Star Racing on the side and Rick was a car dealer getting into NASCAR. It’s cool. This is stuff that’s history. And the older you get, the more history means to you.”
Hendrick's NASCAR Busch Series driver list that contains such names as Dale Earnhardt, Jeff Gordon, Tim Richmond and Kyle Busch, can now include Martin.
“When I look back at the end of the day and we look at the wins we have and the people that have been part of it,” Hendrick said, “I think it’s going to be really neat to have Mark’s name on that list.”
Martin, U.S. Army Team Battle Back to Finish 17th in Richmond
RICHMOND, Va. (May 6, 2007) -- In perhaps their toughest race as a team, Mark Martin and his U.S. Army teammates simply refused to give up during Sunday's Jim Stewart 400 Nextel Cup race at Richmond International Raceway.
Martin battled an ill-handling Car of Tomorrow for the majority of the 300-mile event. He went a lap down half-way through the race and fell as far back as 26th on the three-quarter-mile oval. Still, the team never lost confidence as the hard-driving Martin fought his wayback to the lead lap with just 23 laps remaining. He went on to claim a 17th-place finish.
Despite the result,his worst-of the seven races he has competed for Ginn Racing in 2007, Martin gained three spots in the driver standings and currently stands in 14th place. In the owner point standings, the 01 Ginn Team is ranked sixth.
"We weren't really able to get a grip on our Army Chevrolet today," said Martin, who averaged a 6.16 finish in his first six races. "We had a hard time with the car's handling, especially how it rolled through the center. But we kept soldiering on. Ryan (Pemberton, crew chief) and this U.S. Army team were like our soldiers -- they never quit. They kept on battling and we were able to fight our way back to the lead lap and to a respectable finish. I'm so proud of these guys."
The next Nextel Cup event for Martin and the 01 team will be Saturday night in Darlington, S.C. It will be another COT race.
Mark Martin Post Race Notes and Quotes - The Jim Stewart 400
May 6, 2007
Mark Martin, No. 01 U.S. Army Impala SS - Finished 17th
"We just weren't really able to get a grip on it today. We had a really hard time with the car's handling, especially how it rolled through the center. But we soldiered on. Ryan (Pemberton, crew chief) and this U.S. Army team refused to give up. They kept on battling and we were able to fight our way back onto the lead lap and to a respectable finish. I'm so proud of these guys today. We still have our work cut out for us, but we are just going to keep working with the Car of Tomorrow program."
Mark Martin Post Qualifying Notes and Quotes - The Jim Stewart 400
May 4, 2007
Mark Martin, No. 01 U.S. Army Impala SS - Qualified Ninth
"I was apologizing to Ryan (Pemberton) for not getting more out of the race car. These guys are just awesome. I love working with this whole U.S. Army team and it's good to be back at the race track and be here with my race track family and all the fans and everything. The car's pretty good. I was pretty happy with that for qualifying. I think we've made improvements on the car from the Phoenix race and we still have a little bit to go."
Mark Martin Media Visit
May 4, 2007
Mark Martin, No. 01 U.S. Army Impala SS chats with media on his part-time schedule, racing in the Busch Series for Hendrick Motorsports, the Impala SS and other subjects:
ON BEING BACK AT THE RACE TRACK THIS WEEKEND
"Thank you. It's good to be here. I'm certainly in a good mood today. I guess because I watched last week from the couch. I don't know. I'm glad to be back here with everybody. I feel really good. I'm all charged up and ready to go and definitely need to be with the next seven, eight weeks in front of us. It's going to be as intense as it's ever been with all the testing and all the racing and all the things that we've got going on."
IS IT UNFAIR THAT YOU MISSED TALLADEGA AND IT WAS A TAME RACE?
"Well if you want the sarcasm in me, Arlene (his wife) and I talked before the race and we said they won't even have a wreck today because I'm not in it, so I was wrong. They did have some wrecks. It's been a little bit better since they've repaved which it should encourage worse, the worst in us for running over each other, the new pavement should. But it seems like the last two races have been a little bit cleaner than they were prior to repaving. Did I miss it? No. None."
WATCHING THE RACES FROM HOME, DOES ANYTHING STICK OUT THAT YOU HAVEN'T NOTICED BEFORE?
"It's a totally different perspective, that's for sure. The coverage is really fabulous. I commend everyone especially when you network through the internet along with all the TV stuff, you can get an awful lot of information of what's going on. It still is different slightly than being immersed in it but the one thing that I have noticed is if you don't have all these things tugging on you all the time, you can actually know more about what's going on than when you're participating in it. When we participate in it, we don't have a chance to use all those resources. Actually I seem more informed when I'm away from it than when I am in the middle of it because when I'm in the middle of it I'm preoccupied."
ON HIS THOUGHTS ABOUT THE WRECKS LAST WEEKEND IN TALLADEGA AND NOT BEING INVOLVED
"The biggest thing was when I saw Kyle's wreck on Saturday. That's when I was really glad that I was at New Smyrna instead of Talladega. That was sure ugly. I blurted out more than one loud comment at the beginning of the race when it was four wide stacked. That was like insane at the beginning of the race on Sunday. For a long time it was just a wad of four stacked. It was just insane."
DID YOU TENSE UP WHEN YOU SAW IT WAS FOUR WIDE LAST WEEKEND?
"No, I was really glad I wasn't in it. You know my view is tainted by being a competitor but I looked at that and that was not exciting to me. That was insane. When I have this in the back of mind when I look up racing in the encyclopedia, I don't see that snapshot from Talladega. I see the other kind of racing that we have always done. I just looked at that and was like this is insane and boy I'm glad I'm not out there in that and how long is this going to last. I kept thinking that it would string out and it really didn't for a long time. Finally toward the end they did a little bit but you know, it is what is. It's restrictor plate racing and all I've got to say about it is for the fans, I don't know if their hearts could stand it if there were more than four a year and from a competitor side of it, I'm sure that I could safely say I don't think they could stand more than four of those a year."
ON FANS THROWING THINGS ON THE TRACK
"I was disappointed and embarrassed with the fans throwing the stuff over the fence and then today when I saw a snapshot of it in the Scene, I thought I wonder if that would have happened at Daytona if they'd have thrown the yellow when they might of and how would I have felt about that. It's just a question. It's an interesting question."
ON TAKING THE IMPALA SS TO DARLINGTON NEXT WEEKEND
"Here we go to Car of Tomorrow next weekend. I'm faced with a real exciting weekend because I get to climb into that (No.) 5 Hendrick Busch car and I'm pretty excited about being back in a Busch car based on all the fun and history I've had and the thrill for me to get a chance to drive something that is owned by Rick Hendrick. And I've had the opportunity to stand and watch what Kyle has done in the 5 car this year which is headed up by their Cup guys, Alan (Gustafson) and those guys, so in a way I'm getting a chance to drive for another great, incredible Cup team with an owner and organization that if something were to happen and we were to win the race would be fairly historical as winning in the 21 truck could have been in California or could be if in the other five starts we do this year. That all being said, the Car of Tomorrow at Darlington is going to be interesting. Ryan (Pemberton) and the U.S. Army team have made great strides on the COT. Certainly we've had our work to do as a group at Ginn and then we were certainly disappointed with our results at Phoenix and hopefully we've made improvements for here and we'll continue to improve. As a group, we've got some work to do to get where we need to be with this COT."
CAN YOU EXPLAIN WHAT YOU DID LAST WEEKEND DURING TALLADEGA? HOW WELL ARE THINGS GOING RIGHT NOW?
"Last weekend I went racing with (my son) Matt. First of all, the Fridays are the greatest because I can take Matt to lunch; he's in school but at least I can take him to lunch. I can spend some quality time with Arlene and they (Fridays) seem to be my favorite day of my weekends that I'm not racing with the U.S. Army team. Saturday I went racing with Ricky Carmichael and Matt Martin at New Smyrna - an 125-lap big Super Late Model series race. Ricky qualified fourth which was spectacular. Matt qualified 13th and finished seventh. Unfortunately Ricky's engine broke and I was broken-hearted. My heart broke as well because those 125 laps we desperately needed for Ricky's seat time and he was running so well. Broke early. On Sunday, I don't remember other than the race. I remember the race, the couch and the remote control. I got sleepy during the race so I hit pause on the TiVo and took a 20-minute nap and woke back up. From there on, every time a commercial came on I fast-forwarded and caught back up and finished watching the race. It was wonderful.
"As far as the part-time deal goes, I could go on and on about that but I'll share a couple of the emotions I feel. I'm sometimes embarrassed to talk too much about it, especially around my crew. I'm almost embarrassed I've got it so good. They're still at the race track every weekend. I have got such a good thing going right now; I keep thinking I'm going to wake up. This is certainly the happiest time of my life. I've spent a lot of my life doing a lot of things that I didn't want to do so that I could do the things that I did. Now, I just do what I want to. I don't do a lot of those other things. Those other things that I do now that might have been a task before are really a joy for me today and I think that just tells you where I'm at in my life. I still go testing. While that might not be the first thing that would pop into my mind that I want to go do today, or a certain personal appearance, I can't think of anything. I've done everything I've done this year - a lot of it I've complained about before in my past about having to do and I'm all been happy and excited to do those things this year. That's where I am right now. I knew that this was a tremendous opportunity, that Jay Frye and Bobby Ginn were giving me here. When we made the deal, did I know it was going to be this good? No. I didn't know. I really got the world by the tail right now. I'm making the most out of my life right now. You never know how much time you have left and I'm really making the most out of that time. I'm pretty sure Arlene is getting about sick of my good news and enthusiasm and exuberance. I think she's about sick of hearing 'Mr. Happy-Bubbly.' This is going to be the greatest summer of our lives and. that is it. Because it's going to be better than any one we've ever had before and we can't live 2009 yet so here we go! 2008, this is it! That's really where I'm at today."
AT NEW SMYRNA DID YOU RACE OR WERE YOU JUST A SPECTATOR?
"I was just a spectator. A very happy spectator. I was working on the cars too. I'm not mechanical. I was doing tires and consulting on chassis things. I did Matt's tires and air and those kinds of things. Kept my head in the game with Ricky. I wasn't driving. The summer of 2008 is going to be the best ever for my family and I."
SO THEY DON'T LET YOU HAVE A WRENCH WHEN YOU GO TO NEW SMYRNA?
"I can have one if I want but lucky for us, we weren't doing a whole lot of wrenching. The tire thing on a Late Model is a pretty important issue and I kind of took that over. I was real nervous. A lot more nervous than I was at Lake City."
AT THIS STAGE IN YOUR LIFE, WHAT'S BETTER - RACING UP FRONT OR THE TIME OFF?
"That's a tie. It's really, really awesome to drive and contend because if I was driving and not contending I'd be working my way out of the driver's seat. I'd be making my plans on how to get out of the driver's seat. As of today, that's the only reason I race. I hope the day doesn't come that I race because I want to be around all of you guys and my friends in the garage area and all that. I hope that's doesn't ever become the reason that I race. The reason I race is to contend and we're doing it. It feels really exciting because every day I go to the race track and I see the faces of the guys on my team. They're excited and if I want to win a race, I want it more.I've won a pile. I want it more for them than I want it for me and I want to share that with them at Victory Lane and share the enthusiasm. That's the truth. They're really what make this so much fun for me right now."
CAN YOU TALK ABOUT RICKY CARMICHAEL'S PROGRESS IN LATE-MODELS AND HOW DOES MATT FEEL ABOUT HAVING ONE OF HIS HEROS AS A TEAMMATE?
"He's definitely excited about having one of his heroes right there up close and personal and Ricky is such a nice guy and likes Matt, relates to Matt a lot. Ricky's progress has been phenomenal. He's only run three races and he wrecked out of the first one and he broke his engine in the third one. And he's still racing that motorcycle. We just sit down and tried to put together a schedule and he's not going to race in the whole month of May. I'm not one for making predictions but he can and will do this without question."
DOES YOUR WIFE THINK 'WHO ARE YOU AND WHAT HAVE YOU DONE WITH MARK MARTIN'? YOUR LIFE IS A LOT DIFFERENT NOW.
"You'd have to ask her but I'm pretty sure she's liking it. I'm liking it. It wouldn't be good for me to be easing back if we weren't meshing or weren't as compatible as we are. Our time, our relationship, our bonding has been better and stronger and everything. It's been better this year than ever before. I've spent more time with her as best friends. By the way, the 'it's time to go to Talladega' (you mentioned), it wasn't we. (It was) 'you're going, I'm not going'. That's more of what it's been the last 10 years rather than the first 10 years (when) we went together. It's pretty good. I think you can relate. I've been around people that I was.'that guy makes me sick'. It was always so happy and everything was so good. 'he's always so full of cheer'. It ain't that good. I think she's just sitting there shaking her head saying 'it ain't that good'. She asked me the other day, when I told her this was going to be the greatest summer of our lives she said 'why'. I was like, 'shut up, because' (laughs). I don't know why. I didn't make a list. I don't have a schedule laid out. It's just going to be great. My attitude is really good. I'm really happy."
IS THERE ONE VOICE DURING THE DRIVER RACE MEETINGS AND IF SO, WHO?
"Are you talking about Mike Helton? That one voice is Mike Helton."
AMONGST THE DRIVERS?
"You mean, would one person speak for the drivers? The first person that comes to my mind is Jeff Burton. He's the. I've got to watch what I say here but I almost said he's the smartest of all of us. Because in my heart, you know, shallowly, I'm thinking really deeply about it, Jeff is just such a solid person and so well grounded. He would be the one I would first thing of to be our voice. Rusty Wallace was one at one time. Certainly Dale Earnhardt was one in his time. If I was going to elect someone to speak for us as a group, right now, this minute, Jeff Burton would be the one I thought of."
Mark Martin Richmond Race Preview - Nextel Cup
Crown Royal Presents The Jim Stewart 400
MARTIN MARCHES FORWARD TO RICHMOND
After taking the race off at Talladega, Martin returns to the Cup circuit this weekend at Richmond International Raceway for his seventh race of the season and his second in the Car of Tomorrow.
MARK MARTIN AT RICHMOND
Starts: 42 (21)
Wins: 1 (1)
Top 5's: 13 (6)
Top 10's: 23 (11)
Poles: 3 (1)
Highest finish: 1 (2/25/90)
First time: 9/13/81 (7th)
Last spring: 5/6/06 (11th)
Last Fall: 9/9/06 (5th)
MARK MARTIN - LAST YEAR AT RICHMOND
May 6, 2006
Richmond Int'l Raceway
Crown Royal 400
Started 2nd , Finished 11th
Martin and the No. 6 Team were able to survive an untimely caution early and a late miscommunication on pit road to run to their ninth top-15 finish in 10 races this season. The 11th-place finish might not have been indicative to the type of car Martin had for the 400-mile event, but it was good enough to move Martin up one spot to fourth in the Nextel Cup point’s race. Martin, who qualified second and led early, gained eight points on leader Jimmie Johnson and 86 points on third-place Matt Kenseth.
Martin won his second career Cup pole in his first Cup start at Richmond in 1981. He finished seventh in the race, his first career Cup top-10 finish.
RICHMOND DEEP IN HISTORY FOR MARTIN
This will be Martin's 43rd start at Richmond, dating back to Sept. 13, 1981 when he earned his second career Cup pole in only his fourth career start. Martin rolled on to a seventh-place finish, the first of his 23 career top-10 finishes at Richmond and the first of his Cup career. He has finished top 10 in six of his last 10 at RIR. He finished fifth there last fall and 11th in the spring.
ON THE POLE
Martin earned his second career Cup pole at his first start at Richmond in 1981 and his 41st pole there in Sept. of 2001.
ON THE POINT
Martin dropped to 17th in the driver points after missing his third race of the season, but despite having only competed in six of nine events this year, he trails the Chase cut-off point by only 83 points. He leads 18 drivers in the points that have competed in three more races. In addition, Martin and co-driver Regan Smith have the No. 01 car at fifth in the Nextel Cup Owner points.
ON HIS OWN TERMS
Martin entered the 2007 season resolved to run a limited schedule and he stuck to his plan. He started his Cup season with three-consecutive top-five finishes - for the first time in his racing career - and five straight top 10's . Until joining with Ginn Racing this season, Martin had never started a season with back-to-back top-fives and his second-place finish in the Daytona 500 is also a career best. Martin's three straight top-fives to open the season also marked the first time Martin had not scored three consecutive top-five finishes since 2002 and his lead in the points was his first since 2002. He became the oldest driver to lead the points for more than one week and the first driver since 1983 to walk away with the lead.
QUOTING MARK MARTIN ON RICHMOND
"We have a pretty long history at Richmond, going all the way back to the early '80's when I first broke into Cup racing. I set on the pole there the first time we went back in 1981. We were able to actually get a top-10 there the first time as well. It has always been a track that was pretty fun to race on and we've had some great battles and quite a bit of success there over the years. I was able to win there in 1990, but I think a lot of people will remember that for the now famous 46 point penalty that we got after the race. That really played an important role in the championship that season. We've also had some really memorable runs there to race our way into the Chase in the last couple of seasons. The second Richmond race has kind of taken on a new significance in the last couple of years.
"I'm really looking forward to going there this weekend with Ryan (Pemberton) and this U.S. Army Team. We know that we have to work to improve our COT program, but I'm confident that Ryan and the guys at Ginn Racing are more than up for the challenge going forward. They have been good as a team at Richmond in the past few seasons, so I'm excited to get there and back out on the track with these guys."
MARK MARTIN - FAST FACTS - RICHMOND
Martin has finished inside the top 10 in six of his last 10 races at Richmond.
Martin earned his first career Cup top-10 finish at Richmond on Sept. 13, 1981 finishing seventh.
Martin sat on the pole at his first career Cup race at Richmond in 1981.
Martin has one win, 23 top-10 and 12 top-five finishes in 42 races at Richmond.
Martin earned his 41st career Cup pole at Richmond in Sept. of 2001.
Martin has five Busch wins at Richmond.
Martin's history runs deep at Richmond
by Kevin Woods, Ginn Racing
May 2, 2007
MOORESVILLE, N.C. -- Mark Martin, who has enjoyed success with four top-five and six top-12 finishes in six starts this season, is looking to add to his Richmond International Raceway highlight page in Saturday night's Nextel Cup race.
Martin's fondness for Richmond started to take shape in his first race at the three-quarter mile track when he won the pole and finished seventh in the Wrangler 400 on Sept. 13, 1981. It was his first of 379 top-10 career finishes.
Martin's other Richmond highlights include:
One win along with 13 top-five and 23 top-10 finishes in 43 starts
With no room for error, finished fifth in the 2004 fall race to clinch spot in the inaugural Chase
Five wins in Busch Series races
Scored record 13th win in the International Race of Champions Series race, September, 2005
Earned 41st career (and currently last) Cup pole in 2001 spring race
"There's a lot of history at Richmond for me," said Martin, who returns to the U.S. Army Chevrolet after taking off last week's race in Talladega as part of his limited 2007 schedule. “It’s a fast track and you can really get around it. You can pass and it offers plenty of excitement to both the competitors and the fans. We’ve had a lot of great runs and battles there.”
Martin's most inspired run at Richmond was in the 2004 fall race when he capped a late season rally by finishing fifth and earning a spot in the first year of the Chase for the Nextel Cup. In that race, Martin survived a 360-degree spin in a multi-car accident.
“It was kind of like Joey Chitwood (famous stunt man) out there,” Martin recalled. “I was spinning around on the track; cars where everywhere. If anyone so much as made any contact with us, our chances at the Chase were finished. Making that Chase was a really big deal to me. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do in my racing career. We got so far behind and it was such a fight to get there. It’s something that will always stand out.”
One of Martin's highest and lowest points at Richmond came after celebrating his victory in the 1990 fall race. In a controversial decision by NASCAR, he was penalized after the win for an illegal carburetor spacer. He was allowed to keep the victory, but was docked 46 points. Martin later lost the championship that season by only 26 points to Dale Earnhardt.
“That was the famous carburetor spacer 46-point deal,” said Martin. “I left the racetrack that day on top of the world. By the time I got home I got the devastating news. We went from a real high to a real low and it was a tough time for me. We went on to have a great year, but that penalty turned out to be pretty big for us.”
Entering this weekend's Nextel Cup event at Richmond, Martin is ranked 17th in driver points despite missing three races. The combination of Martin and Regan Smith, who shares driving duties in the 01 Chevy, have the Ginn Racing team in fifth place in the owner point standings.
"I would love to add another Richmond highlight as the driver of the U.S. Army Chevrolet," said Martin. "There's going to be a lot of military personnel at the race this weekend and we're going to do everything possible to have the soldiers' car run up front."