NASCAR's Mark Martin
2008 Season Articles - April & May
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Veteran Says The Attack Is Secret To Winning At Dover
May 27, 2008
MOORESVILLE, N.C. - They call it the Monster Mile and over the years Dover (Del.) International Speedway has more than lived up to its reputation as a ferocious mile-long monster of a race track. During its time, one-mile oval has gotten the better of many of the greatest drivers in the world, including Dale Earnhardt Inc. veteran Mark Martin. However, no driver has been able to find the pulse of the great monster better than Martin, who has won at Dover in all three of NASCAR's major series.
What is the secret to that success? The attack says Martin.
"It's not a track that calls for a lot of finesse, said Martin, who will make his 44th Sprint Cup start at Dover this weekend. "You just have to attack it. You go into that place and you let it all hang out. You just drive like an animal".
"The first time I went there in 1982, I loved it from the start. 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. It is definitely one of the tracks that always come up when I'm asked about my favorites".
Since finishing fifth in his first start at Dover on May 16, 1982, Martin has gone on to tame the Monster on every level. He is the only driver to have won races at Dover in the Cup, Nationwide and Truck Series. In fact, the first of Martin's 90 NASCAR victories came at Dover in the Budweiser 200 on May 30, 1987.
Finding victory lane in the Cup car would not come easy for Martin, who finished second there four times before breaking through to the winner's circle on Sept. 1, 1987. Since then, Martin has scored three more Cup victories (with the latest coming in 2004) and a win in the Craftsman Truck Series race in 2006.
"We've had a lot of success at Dover over the years", added Martin. "But I won't lie, it was a thorn in my side for a lot of years. I always loved to race there and we were always good. But, we should have won there so many times in the Cup car before we did. Something would always happen. I can't even remember how many times I blew a tire or crashed leading while dominating the race. Finally, it kind of all came together and we've had a lot of success there since then".
This weekend Martin goes into Dover for the first time as the driver of the No. 8 U.S. Army Chevrolet. Close on a couple of occasions in 2008, Martin and the No. 8 Team are both hungry for victory, and they would love for that trip to victory lane to come at the expense of the Monster Mile.
"I'm excited about getting out there and seeing what we can do with this No. 8 U.S. Army Team", said Martin, who finished seventh at Dover last spring and fourth in the fall.
"I finished fourth here last year in the No. 01 car and I think we were right behind that No. 8 car, so hopefully we both can put that together and build on what we have. It's always been a strong track for me and these guys have won there as well (2001). I would expect that we will have a pretty good car. Hopefully we can build on that and be there looking for the win at the end".
"I've won four times there in the Cup car, but my last win there was in 2004 and it was actually the last race before they started giving out the trophy that looked like the Monster. I have one of those from the truck win, but I think another one would look really good on the shelf. Hopefully we'll be able to make a run at it this weekend".
Mark Martin Race Preview - Dover International Speedway (Sprint)
Best Buy 400 Benefiting Student Clubs for Autism Speaks
May 27, 2008
After concluding the Charlotte version of Speedweeks with a 15th-place finish in the Coca-Cola 600, Mark Martin and the No. 8 Team turn their attention to the Monster Mile of Dover. Noted as one of his favorite tracks on the circuit, Martin has won at Dover in all three of NASCAR's major divisions.
MARK MARTIN AT DOVER
Starts: 43 (21)
Wins: 4 (1)
Top 5s: 20 (10)
Top 10s: 27 (15)
Poles: 4 (1)
Highest finish: 1st (4 times)
First time: 5/16/82 (5th)
Last year: 6/4/07 (7th)
Last time: 9/23/07 (4th)
Martin is the only driver to have won in the Cup, Nationwide and Truck series at Dover.
MARK MARTIN - LAST YEAR AT DOVER
June 4, 2007
Dover International Speedway
Started 21st, Finished 7th
Mark Martin and the U.S. Army Team showed its best Car of Tomorrow effort to date in a seventh-place finish at Dover International Speedway. Martin used the effort to move back inside the Chase cut-off mark, despite having run three less races than the majority of the field.
Martin was running in sixth position when the day’s seventh and final caution was called on lap 356. Crew Chief Ryan 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, taking over seventh position with only four laps remaining.
This will be Martin’s 44th Cup career cup start at Dover, where he has won four times. The four wins tie him for the most ever at the track. Considered one of his favorite tracks on the circuit, Martin has 27 top-10 and 20 top-five finishes at the Monster Mile. The 20 top-fives are the most of any driver.
FIRST EVER NASCAR WIN
The first of Martin's 90 NASCAR victories came via the Busch Series at Dover on May 30, 1987 in the Budweiser 200.
FAST FROM START TO FINISH
Martin was fast at Dover from the very beginning, 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 27 top-10 starts at the track. Martin finished in the top-10 in both races at Dover last season, including a fourth-place finish there in the fall and a seventh in the spring.
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 at Dover in all three of NASCAR’s major racing divisions. He has four wins at the Monster Mile in the Cup car, one in the Busch race in 1987 and one in the truck series in 2006.
MARK MARTIN - FAST FACTS - DOVER
Martin has four wins at Dover with the last coming in the spring of 2004.
Martin holds the track record at Dover (Cup), winning on 9/21/97 in 3:00:50 (132.717 mph avg).
Martin holds the Truck track record with 120.00 mph average at Dover in 2006.
Martin¡¦s 20 top-five finishes in the Cup series are the most of any active driver at Dover.
Martin has 27 top-10 finishes (Cup) at Dover, including five top fours in the last seven races.
Martin finished fifth in his first Cup race at Dover on 5/16/82.
Martin has finished in the top 10 in 63 percent of his Cup races at Dover.
Martin finished one-two in both Dover Cup races in 2004, three-four there in 2005.
Martin earned the first of his record 48 Busch Series wins at Dover in 1987.
Martin is the only driver to have won in all three of NASCAR's major series at Dover.
Martin finished top 10 in both races at Dover last season, including fourth in the fall race.
QUOTING MARK MARTIN ON DOVER
"Dover is a track that I always loved and we always run 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 Truck Series win there a couple of years ago. It's just the type of track that really suits my style of driving and it can be a lot of fun to race there. It's definitely one of my favorite tracks on the circuit.
"I'm looking forward to going to Dover this weekend with this No. 8 U.S. Army Team. We didn't have as good of a run as we would have liked in the 600 last weekend, but these guys continue to impress me with their determination and effort. We had good runs last season at Dover in both races with the No. 01 Team. I finished fourth there in the fall just behind this No. 8 team, so I'm pretty confident that if we put that all together and continue to build on what we know with this COT and these tracks, we should be able to have a car that is competitive at Dover this weekend."
Martin, No. 8 U.S. Army Team Battle to 15th-Place Finish in Coca-Cola 600
CONCORD, N.C. (May 25, 2008) -- Mark Martin and the No. 8 U.S. Army Team battled to a 15th -place finish in Sunday's Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe's Motor Speedway near Charlotte.
The longest race of the NASCAR season, which starts in daylight and ends at night, is known for its drastic change in track conditions that can wreak havoc on a car’s setup. Martin's No. 8 U.S. Army Chevrolet Impala SS was no exception.
"First of all, I'm very proud of this team," said Martin. "We didn't have the best result out there tonight, but I assure you the Army Team gave an effort that all of our soldiers can be proud of on this Memorial Day weekend."
"The guys just never gave up," added Martin. "We started out so loose that I could hardly drive the car. We kept working with it and as the track changed when the sun went down, the car was so tight that it was plowing in the corners. You know that will happen in the 600, but it's just very hard to hit it just right. Still, the guys hung in there and were able to get a solid finish out of this race. I'm very proud of the effort and the heart tonight."
Martin started the race seventh based on Thursday's strong qualifying effort. However, with the car handling extremely loose, the veteran fell back to as far as 19th.
The Army team continued to adjust on the car during cautions and Martin was able to move up to a race high of seventh on Lap 307.
But once again, the No. 8 Chevy tightened and Martin and crew chief Tony Gibson were never able to get a grip on the car's temperament for the final 100 laps.
Martin slid back to 15th position by Lap 375. With the car's handling going away and Martin dropping positions fast, the team opted to short pit with only 16 laps remaining for right-side tires and a splash of Sunoco fuel. The move worked and Martin was able to hang on for the top-15 finish, his fifth top 15 in nine starts in 2008.
The U.S. Army/Dale Earnhardt Inc. team stayed at 15th in the Sprint Cup owner points, five points behind 14th and 90 outside of 12th and the cutoff for the Chase for the Sprint Cup.
Mark Martin Qualifying Notes and Quotes - Coca-Cola 600
MARK MARTIN, NO. 8 U.S.ARMY IMPALA SS, QUALIFIED 7th:
"It is just a privilege to drive for Tony Gibson and everyone at DEI and this U.S. Army team. To have "Salute to the Troops' on the car this weekend and have everyone in motor sports is really supporting it, is a good thing.
"Tony and the guys really gave me a great race car. I am not going to complain about the draw we had because you get good ones and bad ones. We have some not-so-great cars with good draws and got some good starting spots this year. That effort isn't going to hurt us with the car so good. We have knocked a few guys down behind us so we will take what we can get."
Mark Martin Media Visit - Coca-Cola 600
MARK MARTIN, NO. 8 U.S. ARMY IMPALA SS met with members of the media at Lowe's Motor Speedway and discussed the importance of the Coca Cola 600, Humpy Wheeler, the difference in racing 600 miles and other subjects.
IS THE COCA COLA 600 HAS A SPECIAL SIGNIFICANCE?
"This is a great weekend and a great program for the whole NASCAR community with the Salute the Troops. It is something to help out the families as well as our men and women in uniform.
"It is a race and I want to win them all. This is the next so this is the one I want to win. That is the way it always is. This is my favorite race track-ever. But I will still take a win at my least favorite if I can get one."
HOW DO YOU APPROACH 600 MILES AS A DRIVER?
"Well, 599 to go after the first one.
"It is really about the same thing as always. Just try to put enough adjustment in the car to be able to drive it at 5:45 in the afternoon and still be able to make it good at 10:00 o'clock at night."
IS FUEL MILEAGE GOING TO BE AN ISSUE THIS YEAR?
"It can be. It is possible, but that is always a wild card, you never know for sure."
WHAT IS IT ABOUT JOEY LOGANO THAT MAKES EVERYONE EXCITED ABOUT HIS POTENTIAL?
"I don't know what it is. Joey is magic, take my word for it. You will see soon."
WHAT HAS HUMPY WHEELER MEANT TO THIS SPORT?
"In 1981 when I came here for the first time as a driver from the Midwest, he was the go-to guy. He was the one that could help the little drivers from the Midwest possibly transition to NASCAR. That was Humpy Wheeler in 1981 and still is today. He deserves a big trophy."
DID YOU PICK DOVER AS ONE OF YOUR RACES?
"I choose all my races. It is number two on the list of all time greatest. I love it, can't wait to go. I go up there expecting to be a contender.
"I always run good there, I don't know why."
WHAT MAKES LOWE'S MOTOR SPEEDWAY YOUR FAVORITE TRACK?
"It is fun to drive on, good to race on. It is like the heart and soul of stock car racing. It was in 1981, the first time I came here, I really liked it."
WHAT DO YOU THINK FANS CAN EXPECT WITH THE NEW CAR IN THE 600-MILE RACE?
"I don't know. It is a NSCAR race, it should be exciting."
IS THIS THE MOST GRUELING TYPE OF RACE?
"A lot of different things go in to making one. Heat, how your car handles, humidity. There are a lot of different aspects to it. The length of the track can affect all the things lining up to make it really tough on you or not so tough. The heat is the worth.
"I don't know what has been the most grueling for me. I don't keep track of it like that. I am not sure."
WHAT DID YOUR WIN IN THE 2002 600 MEAN TO YOU?
"I had gone through a spell there where I was afraid that I may had seen my last Cup win. It was really neat to pull it off. It was the first time for my crew chief, Ben Lesley, and man of the guys on the team to go to Victory Lane with a Cup car. That is what really made it special to me."
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO REPRESENT THE US ARMY ON MEMORIAL DAY?
"It is just a real honor to be a part of their team. Makes me feel good to see the whole NASCAR community salute our troops."
KYLE BUSCH IS RACING TRUCKS IN TEXAS, NATIONWIDE IN NASHVILLE AND CUP IN POCONO, AT ANY TIME IN YOUR CAREER WHERE YOU WANTED TO RACE THAT MUCH?
"I did a lot at the time. But there wasn't the opportunity to maybe do quite so much. He is a very optimistic, young and enthusiastic young man right now. I don't blame him, I would be too if I were in that position and the opportunity was there."
WHAT DID YOU LEARN LAST WEEK IN THE ALL STAR?
"I was very encouraged last week by the performance of our team. We didn't finish that great, we finished ninth, but we ran a long a lot better than that most of the race. We just got off at the end. I look forward to the 600 using the same logic that we used for the All-Star and hopefully we can be a contender."
DO YOU HAVE MUCH INPUT IN TO THINGS AT DEI OUTSIDE OF THE NO. 8 CAR?
"Max, Teresa and John have been more interested in my opinion than anywhere else I have ever been. It still isn't very much, but they are very interest in my opinion. I have a great relationship with Max and respect. The same with John Story and of course with Teresa as well. It is pretty cool, it makes me feel good that they are interested in my opinion on things from time to time. But, I don't have a big role in it.
"I feel really good about where the organization is today versus where it was in October. I think it is very sound and made a lot of progress from where it was in October."
HOW MUCH DOES EXPERIENCE PLAY A ROLL IN A 600 MILE RACE?
"It can be a big deal or it can be nothing or somewhere in between, just all depends."
DO YOU GUYS THINK ABOUT WITH YOUR FANS MAKING THE EXTRA EFFORT TO GET TO A RACE WITH THE GAS PRICES?
"We are well aware of where the economy is right now and have concerns about where it is headed. It isn't the first time, I have been around a long time, it is not the first time we have seen this kind of thing. It may be the last time I see it, but I am sure it will come around in the future.
"We have a lot of really great fans in stock car racing."
Martin Ready to Salute the Troops in More Ways Than One
CONCORD, N.C. (May 21, 2008) -- In the true spirit of Sunday's Memorial Day weekend classic at Lowe's Motor Speedway -- the Coca-Cola 600 -- Mark Martin's No. 8 U.S. Army Chevrolet will feature photos of eight soldiers on the outside of the car.
The unique paint scheme is part of the USO Salute the Troops Memorial Day tribute to the armed forces.
"This will be another proud moment to drive the soldiers' car on a weekend that we honor all those great men and women who have put their lives on the line to protect our freedom," said Martin.
Driving the Army Impala SS to Victory Lane in the Memorial Day weekend Sprint Cup race would be the ultimate triumph for Martin and members of the No. 8 Dale Earnhardt Inc. team.
"We would love nothing more than to be able to win the race for all of those men and women in uniform defending our country, and for those who have given their lives in that same fight for freedom. They are the real heroes."
Judging by Martin's past record at Lowe's Motor Speedway along with his recent performances, there's a realistic chance that the No. 8 Army Chevy could find its way to Victory Lane.
Martin has won four Cup races at Lowe's, including the 2002 Coca-Cola 600, NASCAR's longest race of the season. His 17 top-five finishes at the 1.5-mile oval lead all active drivers.
"Lowe's Motor Speedway is probably my favorite track on the circuit," said Martin. "In my opinion, it's the greatest place to race in the world."
Martin is entering this weekend's race with two top-five finishes in his last three point races.
Despite his limited schedule in 2008 and having missed three of 11 events, Martin's two top fives are as many or more than 21 drivers who have competed in all 11 races. His four top-10 finishes are more than 19 drivers who have taken part in every event this season.
Mark Martin Race Preview - Coca-Cola 600
May 20, 2008
MARTIN TAKES SHOT AT 600
Mark Martin and the No. 8 U.S. Army Team move into NASCAR’s longest race of the season, the Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Martin is coming off a strong performance in last weekend’s Sprint All-Star Race at Lowe’s, finishing ninth after running the majority of the race inside the top five.
Martin has four wins at Lowe’s including a victory in the 2002 Coca-Cola 600.
LAST YEAR AT THE 600
May 27, 2007
Lowe’s Motor Speedway
Started 11th, Finished 11th
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 and the No. 01 team overcame an early flat tire to battle back on the lead lap, and were 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.
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 that Martin had ran inside the top 10 for the previous 180 laps.
MARK MARTIN - THE COCA-COLA 600
Starts: 46 (24)
Wins: 1 (4)
Top 5s: 7 (17)
Top 10s: 9 (21)
Poles: 2 (1)
Highest finish: 1st (2002)
First time: 5/30/82 (27th)
Last time: 10/13/07 (16th)
Last year: 5/27/07 (11th)
BESTING THE BEAST
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 Nationwide Series wins and two IROC victories at Lowe’s.
STATISTICALLY SPEAKING - LOWE’S
Martin has led 1,168 laps at LMS, the most of any active driver. He has an average finish of 16.1 and an average running position of 11.9. He has made 232 quality passes in the last three 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 25th 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 nine top-10 finishes at the 600. He finished 11th in the 600 last season and fourth two years ago. Martin has finished inside the top five in two of the last four Coke 600s.
SALUTE THE TROOPS
Martin’s No. 8 U.S. Army Chevrolet Impala SS will carry a special Salute the Troops paint scheme for the Memorial Day weekend race. The paint scheme honors the men and women of the Armed Forces who gave their lives defending our nation and to members of the military who continue the fight for freedom.
MAKING A STRONG POINT
Despite running a limited schedule and having missed three of 11 events in 2008, Martin is ranked 26th in the Sprint Cup point standings, ahead of 11 drivers who have competed in more events. In addition, Martin’s four top-10 finishes are more than 19 drivers who have taken part in all 11 events. Martin has as many or more top fives than 21 drivers who have competed in every event this season.
MARTIN IN 2008
Martin has scored two top-five, four top-10, five top-15 and six top-20 finishes in eight races this season. He has led 69 laps in 2008, one more than he lead all of last season.
QUOTING MARK MARTIN ON LOWE’S MOTOR SPEEDWAY
“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 is huge, but you could race just like that. The 600 is the longest race of the season and it can really be a test for a team. We won the 600 in 2002 and it is still one of the biggest wins of my career. We had a good car for the All-Star Race and we are bringing it back this weekend. It would be great to take that No. 8 U.S. Army Chevy to victory lane in the Coke 600.
“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 MOTOR SPEEDWAY
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-10s are the most of any active driver.
Martin has led 1,168 laps at Lowe’s the most of any active driver.
Martin has won six Nationwide Series races at Lowe’s and two All-Star events (1998 and 2005)
Martin won both IROC races at Lowe’s in ’96 and ‘97.
Martin finished 11th in the Coca-Cola 600 last year.
Martin finished ninth at Lowe’s last weekend in the All-Star Challenge.
Man On A Mission: Martin Would Not Be Denied 2002 Coca-Cola 600
Veteran put on a 'no bull' performance in '02 Memorial Day Weekend Classic
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (May 20, 2008) -- As the laps final laps wound down on the 2002 Coca-Cola 600, Mark Martin quickly maneuvered around lapped traffic as he led the field at Lowe's Motor Speedway. The atmosphere of the moment was frantic for the race leader, but Martin's driving was as smooth as ever as he pedaled through the turns and traffic while then-teammate Matt Kenseth attempted to close the gap.
In the end Martin would indeed hold off Kenseth, and the veteran driver would collect his 33rd Cup victory -- his fourth at Lowe's Motor Speedway and his first in NASCAR's longest race, the Coca-Cola 600.
"That was a big one," said Martin. "We hadn't had the best of years in 2001 and I don't think we had won in seventy-something races. That was a No-Bull 5 Million Race and when we qualified for it the guys kind of circled it on the schedule and said 'we are going to go win that one.'
"We just really wanted that race," added Martin. "You can't pick the races you win, but we came real close there. I knew Matt was fast and I knew I didn't have any time to waste there at the end. The guys put me out in front and I was able to hang on. It was a real team effort. It felt good and we won the Winston No-Bull Million Dollar bonus and made a millionaire out of a fan that night. It was just a really cool night."
This Sunday night, Martin will try to accomplish the same feat by winning the Coca-Cola 600 almost seven years to the day he held off Kenseth for the dramatic victory in 2002. This time around it would be special for a number of reasons for Martin. First, Martin now drives the No. 8 U.S. Army Chevrolet and winning on Memorial Day Weekend in the Army car would carry added significance. In addition, Martin's car will feature a special Salute to the Troops paint scheme this weekend at Lowe's.
It would also be Martin's first win in Dale Earnhardt Inc.'s No. 8 Chevrolet and his first win in 74 races. His 2002 Coca-Cola 600 victory broke a string of 73 races without a win. Ironically, it would also be the No. 8 team's first win in 73 races.
"Every win is big," said Martin. "But there are certain races that it's a big deal to win. I've never won a Daytona 500, but I've won a Southern 500 and a Coca-Cola 600 and those are special. If we could get another win this weekend for all the Soldiers, everyone at Dale Earnhardt Inc. and all of the fans it would mean a lot for sure."
Mark Martin NASCAR Teleconference
NASCAR Teleconference Transcript - Mark Martin
May 20, 2008
DENISE MALOOF: Welcome to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teleconference ahead of Sunday's Coca Cola 600 at Lowe's Motor Speedway. Our guest today is Mark Martin, former Coca Cola 600 winner from 2002. Mark, welcome.
With the Memorial weekend ahead and your team's sponsorship you'll sport a very special paint scheme on Sunday evening.
MARK MARTIN: We do, in addition to being proud to represent our soldiers in the U.S. Army, we're going to participate in a program salute to, I think it's Salute to Soldiers, which is really an awesome program that we're going to be able to be a part of that benefits our soldiers and their families who defend our nation and are here in all over the world.
DENISE MALOOF: The Coca Cola 600 is the series' longest race, which means just constant decisions for drivers and crew chiefs alike. And it's a challenge that might not always be obvious. You guys are continually adjusting to changing track conditions, setups and other variables all night, right?
MARK MARTIN: Well, you know we are, and Lowe's Motor Speedway has always been the moodiest personality as far as the pavement goes I think of any place that I've ever raced.
And so the additional twist from day to night and practicing now and racing then and qualifying there and just all that movement really adds a lot to the stress levels of the crew chiefs and folks like Tony Gibson and all.
But it's really a lot of fun. It's perfect to have the All Star race the week before the 600, because it gives you really the best practice possible for the 600. With the 600 starting in the daylight and going into night, lasting well into the night most of the time, it gives you an opportunity ¡V you practice during the day. You get plenty of daytime practice, but it gives you a chance to race under race conditions into the night the week before the 600.
So it's a good thing for all the teams. It is the greatest venue in motor sports in my opinion. So I go to Lowe's with some enthusiasm. And I feel really blessed to be driving Tony Gibson's U.S. Army Chevy.
It was really good Saturday night. We didn't get the best result, but we had a great car and those guys, I'm having the time of my life driving and working with these guys. And I look forward to seeing their faces in victory lane one of these days.
DENISE MALOOF: Questions for Mark.
Q: I've been covering NASCAR now for about 30 years. You've been involved longer than that. Now, over the years both of us have seen many changes to the sport of NASCAR, some good, some bad. What stands out in your mind as the biggest change that has come down from NASCAR?
MARK MARTIN: Well, you know, the first thing that comes to my mind really is the first thing that comes to my mind is the safer barrier. Although, the Hans is probably more significant, you know, at the end, at the bottom line, for safety. But believe me that safer barrier, it's a whole different world hitting that versus the concrete that we used to hit back in the day.
Really, really hurt. And so the safer barrier is the thing that comes to my mind.
And just want to make sure that everybody knows that this team is so close. I mean we were right there at Phoenix. If we would have had another half gallon of gas and had a great run at Richmond, I just look forward to every week going to work and working with these guys.
Q: Adjusting to the different teams and cars like you have in the past few years, have you had those skills all along, do you think? The ability to work with your team? Or has it gotten easier now?
MARK MARTIN: Well, that's a complicated question. Even though I drove the 6 car for 19 years, you know it was a revolving door, so to speak. So at Roush we had a lot of people come and a lot of people go. I worked with new and different people and actually switched teams a time or two. I always raced in the Busch Series with different teams. And I raced some in the truck series. That was different. Even though Jack Roush owned them, I was used to working with different groups of people.
Now, that went crazy in 2007 when I raced with Wood Brothers, JTG, as well as Hendrick Motor Sports and Ginn Racing and Dale Earnhardt Incorporated, that was a really big deal. But they're really great people, really good teams and they've treated me with a lot of respect.
And it's been fun. Really, really a lot of fun, getting a chance to work with different people.
Q: I was just interested to find out about how you're meshing with the crew chief. He's kind of a local guy. So we're a little interested in that.
MARK MARTIN: Well, it's really great. To be real honest with you, every week that I work with Tony I like him more. We started off the season fine. Our communication was a little rusty. We worked on that.
We had what I would consider a tough race at Atlanta, and that was sort of our break through, where he and I really got on the same page after that race, because we saw the area that we needed to work on.
I have enormous respect for Tony Gibson. I really like him. I talked to him on the phone almost every day. He is fantastic. And he's really good with his team. He has a great following and it's understandable with the way he leads that team is spot on. I really like Tony.
Q: Your win in the Coca Cola 600, would you call that your most significant win?
MARK MARTIN: I don't know that I could say most significant, because that's a pretty profound statement. But it ranks right up there with all of the significant ones. It is the only one that brings tears to my eyes every time I walk up to that car with the mural behind it there in Batesville, and I see life sized photographs of all the guys in Victory Lane, including Matt and Arlene. And it's such a good image. It shows all the wet spots from the Coca Cola and everything on everybody's shirts and everything.
And it really captures that little piece of time in a bottle. And it was certainly one of the most meaningful times in my career to take those guys to victory lane for their first time. Ben Leslie is the crew chief, and many of those guys on that race team had not won on that level before. And that was really special.
Q: Would it be fair to say that night you were driving like a wild man those last few laps?
MARK MARTIN: It would be fair to say. It would be fair to say I was Saturday night at the All Star race as well. Not the same result, but certainly the same effort. Definitely that was a great race. And in 2005 when we won the All Star race was one of my proudest driving displays as well.
So Lowe's Motor Speedway certainly is probably at the top of my list for pride. We win so many Busch Series races there and significant Cup wins with the 500, 600 and a couple of All Star races as well. I have a lot of those trophies. They were all the same for years and we've got somewhere up around a dozen. So that place is special in my heart.
Q: Can you talk about, since you've gone to the part time schedule, is this really working for you, going part time in a car?
MARK MARTIN: I'm the happiest I've ever been in my life. And I am so not ready to quit racing. And in 2005, if I was faced with all or nothing, it was certainly nothing. But we have managed to figure out a way to do this.
And I'm in the best physical condition I've ever been in my life, bar none, without question. I'm in the best mental state that I've been in since I was a kid, because I'm so happy. And I'm so blessed with people, an organization like Dale Earnhardt Incorporated and Tony Gibson and the Army and my support group that are around me. For so long I could have only dreamed of having a situation like this.
So I look forward to every day with enthusiasm and look forward to continuing.
Q: I think momentarily you just called Charlotte the greatest thing in motor sports. Why do you say that? What is it about the place that makes it so great?
MARK MARTIN: Sometimes a little bit colorful and maybe articulate but most of the time I'm dumber than a box of rocks. I don't know why. It's just cool.
The first time I went there I was right straight off the half mile in the Midwest. And I made two laps in 1981 and it was one of the first big Speedways I had been on. And I came on the radio and I said, wow, this is just like being back home on a quarter mile, only bigger.
I mean, you know, it was just awesome. One of the things that makes it so great is Humpy Wheeler. Another thing that really makes it great was, when I came to town, I turned on the radio. They talked about racing on the radio. I was from Arkansas. There's no coverage there.
I mean it's the nucleus of stock car racing. Humpy Wheeler has made it, continued to keep it at the forefront as far as the venue goes. The layout of the race track. The atmosphere. I don't know, everything. As far as I'm concerned, it's the best place to go racing bar none.
Q: How does it compare? Obviously Indy is the same day. How does it compare with Indianapolis?
MARK MARTIN: I'm not an open wheel driver. I was never a gokarter or a quarter midgeter or anything like that. The Indy 500 when I was 10 years old was a more recognizable race than the Daytona 500 to a kid from Arkansas.
But as I grew up in stock car racing, Indy sort of faded out of my vision and NASCAR became prominent in my world. So I think that the Indy 500 still is a little bit more recognizable name than the Coca 600, but I sure believe the racing is better over in North Carolina.
Q: Kyle Busch seems to have emerged as the latest villain in NASCAR, at least among Dale, Jr. fans. Do you just get amused? You've been around so long, do you get amused by these developments or do you think -- I know Humpy has said forever that racing needs a villain. I wanted to get your thoughts on that.
MARK MARTIN: Well, you know I don't necessarily completely agree with the notion that Kyle is a villain. But at the same time I do agree with Humpy from the standpoint that I would pick my words a little bit more careful and say that it's good for the -- it's good to get the blood pumping in NASCAR when you have a black hat and a white hat. That tends to get the blood additionally pumping.
So there's no question that what's transpired this year with Kyle has stirred up interest and got people talking and got people using their voice, fans using their voices and people are engaged. So from that standpoint it's been good for NASCAR.
Q: Several years ago you told us all how good Joey Logano would be years down the road. That turned out to be true. I was wondering who you think, years from now, we'll be talking about in a similar sense.
MARK MARTIN: Well, you know, to be real honest with you, I don't think that NASCAR has ever seen anything quite like Joey Logano. I haven't spotted the next Joey Logano. They are far and few. It doesn't mean he's not out there. Because my son raced Legends and Bandalaros, I had a chance to spot Joey when he was 10 and see him come along.
I know there are some other real prodigies out there and there's really some special drivers out there that are just now turning 18. But I don't think there's anybody in Joey's league ready to hit the circuit.
He's going to bring a lot of -- I predict he's going to bring a lot of excitement to NASCAR yet this year.
Q: Did you talk to him?
MARK MARTIN: I talked to his dad more than Joey. But I did talk to Joey after the race at Rockingham where he made the competition look, embarrassed the competition. But I talk to his dad more often. His dad is really cool. I like Tom a lot.
Q: Kind of feels like now with the Chase, that the season is broken up into parts. We will have been home for two weeks, Charlotte. And are the next three months, this grueling schedule throughout the summer of June, July and August, is this perhaps one of the more important parts of the season? Is this where we're going to see the teams succeed and the teams who don't have it all together to fall apart? Do you all as drivers see this summer schedule as the schedule where you -- the part of the schedule where you've got to really have it together?
MARK MARTIN: It's brutal, and it does separate -- it tends to separate a team that's a little bit less stable can hold on through the beginning third of the season. But when it hits this summer stretch, that's what beats you to your knees. And so it will start -- you will start to see the teams that really are strong and really have the capability.
And some are comfortably lodged into the chase, and may experiment and do different things. And then emerge like Jimmy Johnson and the 48 team did last year when it was time to go Chase racing, they were on, spot on. And before that they didn't seem to be.
So you'll have teams like that, but you'll also have the Kurt Buschs who stormed into the Chase, didn't look like they were going to be able to. And so that's probably the interesting part from here to Richmond is to see who presently doesn't look like they have what they need to get in there and just put on a march and battle their way in a lot like we did back in I think it was 2004, 2005 where we didn't think we were going to make it. And just had a great, great run through the summer and snuck in.
Q: In regards to the military, they've changed their attitudes in the last few decades in training and recruits. More character building and training is more important. Representing the Army -- of course you've run into soldiers -- do you see any similarity between discipline and work ethic between like the soldiers and the team in NASCAR?
MARK MARTIN: Certainly our team, and myself included, we put great value on things like mental, physical and emotional toughness. We put emphasis on that to be competitive, especially during crunch time. And the values that our soldiers have and that the Army instills in our soldiers, like integrity and honesty, and values like that, are values that are very important to me as well.
So it's been one of the highlights of my racing career to be a part of the U.S. Army team. And by that what I mean is the generals and the soldiers and everyone and to see their attitude and their discipline is something that makes me very proud to be a part of.
Q: Earlier we talked about your length of time in NASCAR. What is your most favorite track to race on? And because of the changes with track conditions, have there been changes in Mark Martin's mind of where is the best place to race now?
MARK MARTIN: Well, I've always said that Lowe's Motor Speedway, but I really like Dover a lot, too. Dover is so good. In my opinion, concrete ruins racetracks, and Dover is so good that even concrete didn't ruin it. It may not be quite what it was when it was asphalt, but it's still my second favorite place to race. Lowe's is the first. And the only time that Lowe's wasn't the first is when it was freshly repaved.
It's still a little difficult. It's still not at its very best. But it is getting there. It's much better than it was when the pavement was fresh and redone. There are a lot of great racetracks, a lot of fun racetracks to run on, but those are the top two in my book.
Q: What is your best piece of advice you can give to any of these young guys now entering into NASCAR, because you've been in it so long. You've seen the changes. You've raced with some of the greatest in racing. What is now your best piece of advice you can give to any of these young guys?
MARK MARTIN: You gotta be willing to work really, really hard. And to be humble, which is not easy. If you are incredibly successful, being humble is not something that comes naturally. So those are two huge assets, being humble and being willing to do anything it takes as far as work and any sacrifice that it takes to get where you want to be.
DENISE MALOOF: Thank you, Mark, for giving us some of your time today. Good luck this weekend.
Martin Finishes 9th in Sprint All-Star Race
CONCORD, N.C. (May 17, 2008) -- Mark Martin and the U.S. Army/Dale Earnhardt Inc. Team went with a two-tire strategy for the last 25-lap segment in Saturday night's Sprint All-Star Race at Lowe's Motor Speedway. The strategy back fired, as Martin's No. 8 Chevy Impala SS became too loose during the final run and the end result was a ninth-place finish.
"We had a really good car tonight," said Martin, who ran as high as fifth. "We got a little too loose there at the end and fell back, but I liked the way the car handled. We had good power all night and I'm excited about bringing the U.S. Army Chevy back here next week for the Coca-Cola 600.
"Tony Gibson (crew chief) and the guys on this Army team continue to work with these cars and we get better each week. Again, we are looking forward to coming back next week and seeing what we have. We want to have a great showing in the soldiers' car for the Memorial Day weekend race."
Martin started the race 13th and moved inside the top 10 by Lap 12. The race was divided into four 25-lap segments and Martin closed out the first segment in seventh position. He moved up to fifth by lap 51 and finished the third segment in the same position.
Kasey Kahne, who opted to stay out on old tires for the final 25-lap segment, won the event and the $1 million first-place prize money. Kahne was voted into the All-Star Race by the fans.
Martin had a close call in the waning laps, getting loose on the inside to the No. 20 car of Tony Stewart. Martin was however able to save his car and hold on for the finish.
The No. 8 team will look to build momentum as the series returns to Lowe's Motor Speedway next week (May 25) for the Coca-Cola 600, NASCAR's longest race of the year. Martin won the Coke 600 in 2002 and boasts four Sprint Cup wins at Lowe's.
Mark Martin Friday Media Visit - All-Star Race
May 16, 2008
MARK MARTIN, NO. 8 U.S. ARMY IMPALA SS met with media to discuss the All-Star race, the maturity and talent of Kyle Busch, his part-time schedule, and more.
DO YOU APPROACH THE ALL-STAR DIFFERENTLY THAN A REGULAR RACE?
"I don't know if you do or not. To me, the race is so many to go after the first lap. So if it's a 600-mile race, then it's 399 to go after the first lap. If it's a 25 lapper, there are 24 to go, you know, is the way I look at it. I don't know. You always just try to do whatever you can do to put yourself in position to capitalize and to try to win."
THIS IS A COOL EVENT FOR THE FANS, THE DRIVERS, AND THE TEAMS. IT'S UNIQUE IN SO MANY ASPECTS
'Yeah, it's just awesome. It's a real privilege to be in it and it's really, really good that they have it here (Charlotte). This is the right place to have this race. I'm glad that they've kept it here."
WHERE DOES THIS RACE RANK FOR A DRIVER? DO YOU FEEL LIKE YOU HAVE TO COMPETE IN THE ALL-STAR IN ORDER TO HAVE A COMPLETE RESUME?
"I don't do that. I just feel like I'm lucky if I ever win one. So I'll take whichever ones I can get, you know. I try to win every one of them and take whichever ones we can get."
WHAT IS YOUR TAKE ON HOW KYLE BUSCH HAS CHANGED?
"I just think that it's just very obvious that he is come a long way in a short period of time. People forget how young he is and how talented he is. He's matured a lot over the past two years."
WHEN YOU LOOK AT HIS POTENTIAL, WHERE DO YOU SEE HIM GOING IN 5 YEARS FROM NOW?
"He'll be wracking up results, but it would be hard for me to see him get a whole lot better than he already is. He's an incredible talent. But he will get smarter as he goes forward. And he'll wrack up a lot more results."
DO THE FANS NEED SOMEBODY TO BOO WITH KYLE BUSCH? DOES HE FIT THAT ROLE IN THIS SPORT?
"That's a tough thing to say. Thank goodness we're talking about someone else besides myself (smiles). I think that it makes people's blood pump. It's not a bad thing. I've seen them move a number of drivers in the past and that seems to get people engaged. So, from that standpoint, I don't think it's a bad thing as long as they're not booing at me."
KYLE BUSCH SAID HE DIDN'T SPEAK TO HIS BROTHER, KURT, UNTIL CHRISTMAS DINNER ABOUT SOMETHING THAT HAPPENED AT THE ALL-STAR RACE IN MAY. HOW LONG HAVE YOU HELD A GRUDGE AGAINST ANOTHER DRIVER?
"Usually not that long. But there may be a driver or two that I may never forgive."
ARE YOU FIRMING UP YOUR PLANS FOR NEXT SEASON?
"I'm racing next year on a limited schedule."
BASICALLY THE SAME?
WHAT MAKES THIS PART TIME SCHEDULE WORK FOR YOU?
"Not having to do the whole schedule and being able to drive top-notch equipment for a great team. It's full-time equipment."
HOW CHALLENGING IS IT TO KEEP ABREAST OF EVERYTHING WHEN THE SPORT CHANGES SO MUCH?
"I would rate my rate of engagement at the top of the list in this garage even though I'm not there every weekend, I'm more engaged with my team and my car than the average driver is, no matter how many days they are at the race track."
IN THE ALL-STAR, HOW MUCH OF A SKILL IS IT TO GET IN AND OUT OF PIT ROAD WHILE MAINTAINING THE SPEED?
"It's marginally ridiculous, really, they way we do that qualifying. We don't really do anything like that. I don't subscribe to that. But it's made for a lot of tire smoke and a lot of heartbreak. Part of the appeal to the All-Star race is built upon heartbreak. If it wasn't, then the fastest car would always win. The rules are set up so that the fastest car has the least likely opportunity to win than normal. That's okay, as long as you're not the best car. If you're the best car, that's tough. I've been on both ends of it."
THE INVERSION IS GONE THIS YEAR
"Yeah, but it's still double file race cars and a bunch of other stuff, you know. But you're right. The inversion is gone and it depends on where you were. If you didn't have the best car, the inversion was good. If you had the best car, it wasn't so good. I've been on both ends of it. I was mad as heck when I had the best car and not so disturbed about it when I got to start on the front row.'
THERE IS SOME TALK THAT THE HALL OF FAME WILL BE DONE IN TWO YEARS, AND THAT THE INDUCTION CEREMONY WOULD BE DURING THIS WEEK AND TIED INTO THE ALL-STAR ACTIVITIES. IS THAT AS GOOD A TIME AS ANY?
"Yeah, I think it would be appropriate. Yes, I do. I think it would be good."
WHAT KIND OF A MAN IS DALE JARRETT THAT WE'RE SAYING GOODBYE TO?
"We're only saying goodbye to him as a driver. He's a really, really fine man and a really great person from a really good family."
WITH THE MONEY AND SCHEDULE AND DEMANDS, ARE WE NEARING THE ERA WHEN WE WON'T SEE GUYS LIKE YOU AND DJ OUT HERE FOR THIS LONG OF A TIME?
“It's a great challenge to be here at age 50. It's even a greater challenge to be competitive out here at the age of 50."
HOW IS THE NEW RACE CAR SHAPING UP ON THE TRACK ON THIS TRACK?
"It's okay. It's getting better all the time."
ARE WE IN THE MIDDLE OF A PROCESS OF FINDING OUT WHERE THIS CAR WILL EVENTUALLY BE?
"It's okay. It's getting better. We already know where it's going to be. It's here. That's it. That's the end of the story. The car is getting better."
Mark Martin Race Preview - Sprint All-Star
Having scored top-10 finishes in three of the last four races, Mark Martin and the No. 8 U.S. Army Team will take a week off from the rigors of point racing for Saturday night's Sprint All-Star Race at Lowe's Motor Speedway near Charlotte.
Martin is one of three active drivers with multiple All-Star wins.
Top 5's: 6
Top 10's: 8
Highest finish: 1st (twice)
First time: 1990 (3rd)
Last time: 2007 (3rd)
LAST YEAR AT THE All-STAR
MAY 19, 2007
Lowe's Motor Speedway
Started 18th, Finished 3rd
Mark Martin took over third place on Lap 66 of 80 and never looked back in Saturday night’s Sprint 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, was able to close in on the leaders while pulling away from the rest of the field.
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 drive to 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 place.
A TRUE ALL-STAR
This will be Martin's 19th straight All-Star race. Driving a retro-93 paint scheme, Martin won his second All-Star race in 2005. He won the event formerly known as The Winston in 1998. Martin has posted eight top-10 and six top-four finishes in "The All-Star." He finished third in the event last season.
Martin lists Lowe's Motor Speedway as one of his favorite tracks on the circuit, and his results there back up his liking for the 1.5-mile track. In addition to his two wins in the All-Star race, Martin boasts four Cup wins, six Nationwide wins and two IROC victories at Lowe's Motor Speedway. Martin has 10 wins and 30 top-five finishes at LMS in Nationwide and Cup racing.
MARTIN IN 2008
Martin has scored two top-five, four top-10, five top-15 and six top-20 finishes in eight races this season. He has led 69 laps in 2008, one more than he led all of last season.
MAKING A STRONG POINT
Despite running a limited schedule and having missed three of 11 events in 2008, Martin is ranked 26th in the Sprint Cup point standings; ahead of 11 drivers who have competed in more events. In addition, Martin's four top-10 finishes are more than 19 drivers who have taken part in all 11 events. Martin has as many or more top fives than 21 drivers who have competed in every event this season.
CHASING THE OWNER POINTS
While neither Martin nor co-driver Aric Almirola are in contention for a Sprint Cup Driver Championship, the No. 8 U.S. Army team accumulates points each week as with any other team. The No. 8 Dale Earnhardt Inc. Team has tallied five top-10 finishes in 11 events this season and four top-eight runs in the past six races, and is currently 15th in owner points; only 20 points outside of the top 12 and the Chase cutoff point.
QUOTING MARK MARTIN ON ALL-STAR RACE
"The All-Star Race is one of the coolest events of the season. It's a race where all the teams can throw the points out the window and just go for it. I've always enjoyed racing in the event and we've been fortunate enough to come out on top on a couple of occasions. 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'm looking forward to racing in it this weekend with this No. 8 U.S. Army Team of DEI. I know they have won it before and I know that we would all like to go back to victory lane there together this Saturday night."
MARK MARTIN - FAST FACTS
Martin will compete in his 19th straight All-Star event.
Martin won the event in 1998 and in 2005.
Martin has posted six top-five and eight top 10s at the All-Star event.
Martin finished third during his first All-Star, in 1990 and third last season.
Martin is one of three active drivers to have won the event twice.
The No. 8 U.S. Army team is only 20 points outside of the top 12 in Sprint Cup Owner Points.
Mark Martin Looks For Third Triumph In Sprint All-Star Race
May 12, 2008
CHARLOTTE – Mark Martin has visited NASCAR Victory Lane an amazing 90 times during his 26-plus year racing career, so it makes sense that he would have a difficult time singling out his favorite memories. However, the veteran driver from Batesville, Ark. will readily admit that his two victories in the Sprint All-Star event rank at the top.
Martin won the 2005 All-Star event driving a 1993 special ‘throw-back’ paint scheme. The win - one of his last in the No. 6 car – made for a special night for Martin and his team. Martin took the lead in the last segment and drove away from the field to claim his second All-Star victory - one of the most fulfilling of his career.
“That was just a great night,” said Martin who will start is 19th consecutive All-Star event this Saturday night and his first behind the wheel of the No. 8 U.S. Army Chevrolet of Dale Earnhardt Inc.
“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.
“You race for nights like that and it was a very rewarding win for us.”
Martin’s 1998 victory was a different story, but no less special to the veteran driver.
Martin won the 1998 version All-Star event – then called The Winston – after Jeff Gordon ran out of fuel on the last lap.
“I’d have to say that those wins do rank high on the list,” said Martin. “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.”
A third All-Star win for Martin would tie him with Dale Earnhardt Sr. and Jeff Gordon for most All-Star victories.
“That would be pretty special,” added Martin. “It is one of the most exciting events of the season. People can just forget about points and all of that stuff and just go for it. That makes it a great show for the fans and it makes it a pretty fun race to drive in. I’m looking forward to getting out there and seeing what we can do.”
In addition to Martin’s wins in 1998 and 2005, the No. 8 Dale Earnhardt Inc. Team boasts a win in the All-Star event in 2000. The pair would like nothing more than to make a return appearance together this weekend at Lowe’s Motor Speedway.
“We would love to go in there and win this thing together,” said Martin. “Tony Gibson (crew chief) and these guys have done an outstanding job this season. We’ve had some great race cars and I can’t think of a much better way to Victory Lane than by winning the All-Star Race at Lowe’s Motor Speedway.”
Mark Martin Post Race Notes and Quotes - Dodge Challenger 500
MARK MARTIN, NO. 8 U.S. ARMY IMPALA SS -- Finished 16th
"This was a really tough race," said Martin. "But these guys on this U.S. Army team are just incredible. They just don't give up and they got us so many positions on pit road. We were able to just hang in their and bring home a respectable finish.
"You don't always have the fastest car out there and everything doesn't always go perfect. On those nights you just have to dig deep and give it all you have. That is what these guys did tonight and I'm incredibly proud to drive their car each week."
Mark Martin Race Report - Dodge Challenger 500
Martin Battles to 16th-Place Finish at Historic Darlington
DARLINGTON, S.C. (May 10, 2008) --Mark Martin and the No. 8 U.S. Army team experienced an unidentified power steering issue, but still managed to post a solid 16th-place finish in Saturday night's NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Darlington Raceway.
"This was a really tough race," said Martin. "But these guys on this U.S. Army team are just incredible. They don't give up and got us so many positions on pit road. We were able to hang in there and bring home a respectable finish."
"You don't always have the fastest car out there and everything doesn't always go perfect," added Martin. "On those nights you just have to dig deep and give it all you have. That is what these guys did tonight and I'm incredibly proud to drive their car each week."
The veteran driver, who started 27th, patiently bided his time early in the race as several cars continued to collide with the wall. In the end, Martin's Chevrolet Impala SS was one of only a handful of cars that did not tag the wall and collect the famous Darlington Stripe.
With the help of quick pit work by the Army over-the-wall crew, Martin did run as high as 12th during the 367-lap, 501-mile race.
The No. 8 Dale Earnhardt Inc. team is now 5th in the Sprint Cup owner point standings, just 20 points outside of 12th and the cutoff point for the Chase.
In the driver standings, Martin is ranked 26th, despite only having competed in eight of 11 events. He is ahead of eight drivers who have competed in all 11 races this season.
The No. 8 team will take a week off from point racing for the Sprint All-Star Challenge Saturday night (May 17) at Lowe's Motor Speedway near Charlotte. The next points race is also at Lowe's -- the Coke 600 -- Sunday, May 25.Martin won the All-Star event in both 1998 and 2005 and won the Coke 600 in 2002.
Martin, No. 8 U.S. Army Team Driving Point Home
Veteran Driver Strong as ever in 'part-time' role with Dale Earnhardt Inc.
MOORESVILLE, N.C. (May 7, 2008) -- Fresh off the strength of back-to-back top-five finishes at Phoenix and Richmond, Mark Martin has helped lead the No. 8 U.S. Army Team to a 14th-place position in the Sprint Cup owner points -- only 31 points outside of the top 12.
The top 12 is the cutoff point for teams eligible for the Chase for the Sprint Cup title. The recent strength of the No. 8 Dale Earnhardt Inc. team could very likely create an interesting scenario that would see the No. 8 Team with Martin and co-driver Aric Almirola run for an Owner's Championship come September.
Martin had realistic opportunities to win each of the last two Cup races, while Almirola finished eighth in his debut in the No. 8 at Bristol in March and ran inside the top 10 at both Martinsville - where he qualified third - and Talladega, before running into trouble.
"This is a really good race team," said Martin of his No. 8 U.S. Army Team. "These guys are a group of really dedicated racers who want to win. They aren't worried about all of the problems that could stand in the way. They aren't worried about which driver is in the car or the problems it might present. These guys are worried about winning races and running up front.
"Tony Gibson (crew chief) and these guys want to win races and we have a common goal of running up front and being competitive. It's an honor to drive this team's race cars and I look forward to getting in the No. 8 Chevrolet each week."
Martin's third place finish at Richmond last weekend was not only is best in the No. 8 car, but his best in over a year. It also marked the first time that Martin has finished inside the top five in consecutive races since the beginning of 2007, a feat that the No. 8 team only accomplished only once last season.
A top-five finish this weekend at Darlington would mark the first time Martin has posted three straight top-fives since the beginning of 2007, and the first time the No. 8 team of Dale Earnhardt Inc. has posted three consecutive top-five finishes since April, 2004.
In addition to the No. 8's impressive standing in the points, Martin is ranked 28th in driver points, despite having missed three of 10 events in 2008. Martin is ahead of nine drivers who have competed in more races in 2008. He has more top-10 finishes (4) than 19 drivers how have raced in all 10 events, and his two top five finishes are more than 21 of the drivers who have raced in every Sprint Cup race this season.
Martin and the No. 8 U.S. Army team will look to continue their success when they roll into historic Darlington (S.C.) Raceway this weekend, where Martin won the famed Southern 500 in 1993 and has totaled 16 top-five finishes and 25 top 10s. In addition, Martin is the track's most successful driver in the Nationwide Series, where he has accumulated a track-high eight wins.
Mark Martin Racing Preview - Dodge Challenger 500 (Sprint)
MARTIN LOOKS TO TAME THE 'LADY' ONCE MORE
Mark Martin and the No. 8 U.S. Army/Dale Earnhardt Inc. Team race into Darlington on the heels of back-to-back top-five finishes at Phoenix and Richmond, with Martin having scored top-10 finishes in three straight races. They will aim to continue that trend this weekend, as they look to make their return to victory lane at historic Darlington Raceway.
Martin finished seventh in his first career Cup race at Darlington in 1982.
MARTIN AT DARLINGTON
This will be Martin's 42nd career Cup start at Darlington Raceway, where his 16 top-five and 25 top-10 finishes are the most among active drivers and second most ever. Martin has finished inside the top 10 in 62 percent of his races at the 'Lady in Black', and he has finished eighth or better in five of his last seven and in the top five in three of the last seven. He will be looking for his fifth top-10 in the last six races at Darlington this weekend, where he made his first start on April 4, 1982, finishing seventh. He won the famed Southern 500 there in September, 1993; his only Cup win at the track. His eight Nationwide wins at Darlington are a track record, setting him as one of the most successful drivers in the track's famed history.
Starts: 41 (21)
Wins: 1 (-)
Top 5’s: 16 (10)
Top 10’s: 25 (17)
Poles: 2 (2)
Highest finish: 1st (9-’93)
First time: 4/482 (7th)
Last time: 5/13/07 (12th)
LAST YEAR AT DARLINGTON
May 13, 2007
Started 37th, Finished 14th
Darlington is known as the track 'Too Tough to Tame’ and Mark Martin and the U.S. Army Racing Team spent much of the day battling the track and its inaugural race with the Car of Tomorrow.
Martin and the team struggled the entire weekend with the car, qualifying 37th and turning lap times in the low 30’s during happy hour. The team never gave up however, continuing to work with the setup throughout the weekend.
Persistent rainfall on Saturday night forced NASCAR to run on Mother’s Day for the first time since 1986. Having changed the setup after happy hour, Martin and the team were unsure going into the race on Sunday, but Martin wasted little time moving through the field.
Starting 37th, the veteran powered his No. 01 U.S. Army Chevy into the top 30 by lap 33. 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 he would run inside the top 15 for the majority of the race from that point on.
HE'S BAD, HE'S NATIONWIDE
Martin's history at Darlington in the Nationwide Series is virtually untouchable. He has won a record eight Nationwide races at the 'Lady in Black', where he has a track record 14 top five and 18 top-10 finishes in 28 Nationwide starts. Martin will run this weekend in the Nationwide Series in the No. 5 Chevrolet. He won his last Nationwide race in the No. 5 at Las Vegas.
ON A ROLL
Martin's top-five finish at Richmond marked the first time he has posted back-to-back top fives since the second race of 2007. It is also the first time he has finished in the top 10 in three straight since the start of the 2007 season.
MAKING A STRONG POINT
Despite running a limited schedule and having missed three of 10 events in 2008, Martin is ranked 28th in the Sprint Cup point standings; ahead of nine drivers who have competed in more events. In addition, Martin's four top-10 finishes are more than 19 drivers who have taken part in all 10 events. Martin has more top fives than 21 drivers who have run all 10 events. Martin and Aric Almirola have the No. 8 Team in 14th in the Owner Standings, just 31 points outside of the top 12.
Martin and Aric Almirola have the No. 8 Team in 14th in the Owner Standings, just 31 points outside of the top 12 and the cutoff point for the Chase for the Sprint Cup.
MARK QUOTES 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 Nationwide wins. The place brings back some great memories of some great battles. Actually the win in '93 was four Cup wins 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. Plus, they have repaved it this year and that always makes for a new challenge. It won't be the same old Darlington, but I'm sure it will have hints of it."
MARK MARTIN - FAST FACTS - DARLINGTON
Martin’s 25 top-10 and 16 top-five finishes are the most of any active driver at Darlington.
Martin won the famed Southern 500 at Darlington in September, 1993.
Martin has finished inside the top-eight in five of the last seven races at Darlington.
Martin has finished inside the top-five in three of the last seven at Darlington and he has posted three top 10s in the last four races.
Martin’s eight Nationwide wins at Darlington are a track record. He’ll run this weekend’s Nationwide race for Hendrick Motorsports in the No. 5 Chevy.
Mark Martin Race Preview - Diamond Hill Plywood 200 (Nationwide)
MARTIN AT DARLINGTON
In 28 NASCAR Nationwide Series career starts at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway, Mark Martin has recorded eight wins, eight pole positions, 14 top-five finishes (50 percent of the time) and 18 top-10s (64.3 percent). He has led a total of 575 laps and has an average start of 8.1 and an average finish of 14.3.
Martin, driver of the No. 5 GoDaddy.com Chevrolet for JR Motorsports, has won three of his last five Nationwide Series races at the 1.366-mile South Carolina oval, including two victories from the pole in 2000. Most recently, he started 26th and finished second at Darlington in May 2007 driving the No. 5 Chevy.
IN THE SERIES
Martin, who ran his first full season in 1987, is the winningest driver in the Nationwide Series with 48 wins. In 226 races, Martin also has recorded 30 poles, 108 top-five finishes and 145 top-10s. His average start is 10.2, and his average finish is 12.3. In a 2006 NASCAR poll of both fans and media, Martin ranked No. 1 among the "25 Greatest NASCAR Nationwide Series Drivers." Martin made his debut in the series on Aug. 13, 1982.
JR MOTORSPORTS' FIRST WIN
Martin won during his last outing in the No. 5 Chevrolet, which was March 1 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. He led 81 laps en route to giving JR Motorsports its first win.
This weekend marks the second of five times this season that Martin will pilot the No. 5 JR Motorsports Chevrolet. Martin's next race will be Aug. 16 in the No. 5 GoDaddy.com Chevrolet at Michigan International Speedway. Martin also will drive the No. 5 Chevy at Kansas Speedway on Sept. 27 and at Texas Motor Speedway on Nov. 1.
JR MOTORSPORTS CHASSIS
Crew chief Chad Walter has chosen JR Motorsports Chassis No. 473 for this weekend's Nationwide Series race at Darlington. This is the same Chevrolet that Martin won with in early March at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Martin led 81 of 202 laps at the 1.5-mile oval. Dale Earnhardt Jr. also drove this car at Texas Motor Speedway on April 5. Earnhardt finished the race seventh.
UP NEXT FOR THE NO. 5
Jimmie Johnson will pilot the No. 5 Lowe's Chevrolet on May 24 at Lowe's Motor Speedway, and rookie Landon Cassill will be behind the wheel of the No. 5 National Guard Chevrolet on May 31 at Dover (Del.) International Speedway.
MARK MARTIN, DRIVER OF THE NO. 5 GODADDY.COM CHEVROLET (ON HIS NATIONWIDE SERIES SUCCESS AT DARLINGTON)
"We've had a great deal of success at Darlington over the years and a whole lot in the Nationwide Series. It's a place where you have to figure out how to go fast into the corner, and it's all about who can stay on the gas and hang on the longest. Managing your tires has also been important, and that is something that I've been pretty good at there as well."
MARTIN (ON DARLINGTON'S NEW TRACK SURFACE)
"As far as the new pavement, I think it will still make for great racing. It probably won't be the same old Darlington that we are used to, but it will have shades of the old Darlington. I can remember when we had new pavement there before sometime in the mid '90s and it was different then as well. It's better with the worn out pavement in a lot of ways. It's easier to pass, and I think a lot of fun, but it was ready for a new dress and it got it."
MARTIN (ON DRIVING THE NO. 5 GODADDY.COM CHEVROLET FOR JR MOTORSPORTS AT DARLINGTON)
"We had a blast in that last race and winning at Las Vegas in that No. 5 meant a lot to me. We'll have the same outlook this weekend, to win. We almost pulled if off last year at Darlington and we'll look to finish the deal this time around."
Mark Martin Post Race Notes and Quotes - Crown Royal
MARK MARTIN, NO. 8 U.S. ARMY IMPALA SS -- FINISHED 3RD
"Well, you know, just really, really proud of Tony Gibson and the U.S. Army team, and just want to reiterate how much of a privilege it is for me to drive the car, be a part of Dale Earnhardt, Inc.
"I really want to see their faces in victory lane. I mean, they are right there. They are getting it done. You know, we were just one little whisker off of being able to get it done tonight. It was very close. But the car, we got off a little bit the middle of the race and lost some track position and then got the car back something better toward the end; not quite a hundred percent, but we got it better. It was tough out there."
DID YOU SEE WHAT HAPPENED BETWEEN THE N0. 18 AND THE NO. 88? AND WHAT HAPPENED WITH YOU EARLIER?
"You know, I could see what was happening up there, but I was having to drive my own race car. So I can't describe it; I can't tell you exactly. And I didn't hear your second question. Just felt like some of the lap cars were disrespectful today, tonight, that's all."
Mark Martin Race Report - Crown Royal
Martin Claims Third-Place Finish at Richmond
RICHMOND, Va. (May 3, 2008) -- Mark Martin and the No. 8 U.S. Army Team turned in their second consecutive top-five performance with a third-place run in Saturday night's Crown Royal 400 at Richmond International Raceway. It was also the best finish of the season for Martin and the No. 8 Dale Earnhardt Inc. team.
"We had a great car out there tonight," said Martin, who ran inside the top five for the entire event. "If we can keep running like this, we will see the U.S. Army Chevrolet Impala SS in Victory Lane. Tony Gibson (crew chief) and these guys just are doing a great job each and every week and it's an honor to drive this team's race cars. I just have to thank the Army, the fans and everyone at Dale Earnhardt Inc.
The race ended under a green-white-checkered finish after the 11th and final caution of the night came out with only two laps remaining. Martin restarted in third place and came just a few feet of overtaking Kyle Busch for second place on the final lap.
Martin started the race on the outside of the front row after turning in his best qualifying effort in more than two years. The veteran was strong from the start, running inside the third position for the majority of the first half of the 410-lap Sprint Cup race.
"We got off there just a little bit during the middle of the race," said Martin. "That got us a little behind. We got caught up with some lapped traffic and the No. 07 (race winner Clint Bowyer) got around us. We were really close tonight, but I know if we can keep this going, we'll reach our goal and win in the soldiers' car."
The finish is Martin's third top-10 in his last three starts, and his fourth top-10 in the last five races. It is his best finish since April of 2007 at Texas. It was also his record extending 14th top-five and 24th top-10 finish at Richmond.
With the third-place result, the No. 8 Dale Earnhardt Inc. team moves to 14th in the Sprint Cup owner points, just 31 points outside the top 12 and the cutoff point for the Chase for the Sprint Cup. Despite only running seven races, Martin has more top-10 finishes than 19 drivers who have competed in all 10 events.
Martin and the No. 8 U.S. Army Team will return to action Saturday night at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway, where Martin won the famed Southern 500 in 1993 and boasts 16 top five and 25 top 10 finishes in 41 career starts.
Mark Martin Post Qualifying Notes and Quotes - Crown Royal
MARK MARTIN, NO. 8 U.S. ARMY IMPALA SS -- QUALIFIED 2ND
ON HIS QUALIFYING LAP
"My car was pretty good in practice. But that doesn't always translate out. It's so easy to make a little slip or a mistake or whatever. I was really proud of that. We were the third car out, so we felt like we got a disadvantage on the draw, but at the same time, I was really pumped because we really had a good race car. If you got a bad draw, and you have a bad car, you've really got your hands full. So at least we had a really awesome car. And to be real honest with you, I was really surprised that it could hold up and that the time held up as well as it did against the shade coming over Turns 3 and 4."
Mark Martin Friday Media Visit
Mark Martin, driver of the No. 8 U.S. Army Impala SS, met with media members at Richmond International Raceway and talked about his favorite All-Star moment, changes at Darlington, burnouts and much more.
ON THE RICHMOND RACE NOT BEING SOLD OUT
"That's the first I've heard of that. It's a real tough time economically, but that's the first I've heard of it so I haven't thought about it very much. Definitely I know that it's tough economic times, we feel it at our dealerships.. I see it when I roll up to any kind of fuel pump, gas or jet fuel or whatever you name it, it's putting a hurt on a lot of people."
LOOKING AHEAD TO THE ALL-STAR RACE A COUPLE OF WEEKS AWAY, DO YOU KNOW WHAT THE FORMAT IS THIS YEAR?
"No. (laughs), not really. Excitement I'm sure. I think I saw something about that but I don't pay much attention to what it is. We'll figure out what the format is when that's at hand."
ON HIS FAVORITE ALL-STAR MOMENT
"I think both times we won were really great. The way we won the first one was such a huge surprise. We were coming off of turn four running second, coming for the white flag and Jeff Gordon pulled over to the inside and he was out of gas. It was a big surprise. Then winning in 2005 was pretty awesome. Things went pretty awesome that night for me. Every move I made just happened to be right. It felt really good because every move I made just really worked out to be like it was planned that way. It's not always planned that way. Sometimes the moves you make are right or wrong based on what other people do. You can't control those so it worked pretty slick that night, 2005."
YOU LIVE IN FLORIDA, HOW DO YOU SPEND YOUR TWO WEEKS IN CHARLOTTE? DO YOU STAY IN CHARLOTTE?
"I'll go back. It's only an hour and a half to my house. For me it's just like someone else jumping in their car and driving up to Greensboro."
ARE YOU ENCOURAGED BY ALL THEIR SPENDING AT DARLINGTON NOW? A FEW YEARS BACK EVERYONE WAS TALKING ABOUT CLOSING THE TRACK.
"I'm encouraged. I don't know, not a lot of things surprise me. You know that's real encouraging. I'd like to see them get their race back."
ON HIS THOUGHTS WHEN HE HEARD A FEW YEARS BACK ABOUT THE POSSIBILITY OF LOSING A RACE AT DARLINGTON
"It was real sad. I'm a Johnny come lately, to be real honest with you. I don't even know what it meant to race there in '59 or whatever the first year was. I know I have a lot deeper roots than a lot of people in the garage, but I still don't have the kind of depth that that place had. To me it was sad and definitely I'm sure it was even more sad to the people who have even deeper roots than I do in NASCAR. That didn't seem like a race track that needed to lose a date. I think there are some, but I don't think Darlington is one of them."
ON DRIVERS ATTENDING DRIVING SCHOOLS TO HELP GET INTO THE SPORT
"There are a lot more opportunities to do that today then there were 30 years ago, but there were driving schools 30 years ago that a lot of us went to. Whether it was road racing, Bondurant, or the driving school that I went to when I was getting ready to start late model racing. There are a lot more to choose from today, but the whole world is quite a bit different than it was 30 years ago."
DO YOU THINK IT CAN BE BENEFICIAL TO SOME PEOPLE?
"The easiest way to become a NASCAR driver is to be better than everybody else. That you don't have to learn. That you have, I think you're born with that. That's the easiest way, just to have more ability and more talent than everyone else. For the rest of us, you got to work hard at it."
WHAT ABOUT MARKETABILITY? HOW MUCH HAS THAT RATIO SHIFTED BETWEEN DRIVING TALENT AND BEING ABLE TO SELL THAT PARTICULAR PERSON?
"I really don't think it shifted, I just think it's more important. It's selective. You still have to be incredible as a driver. Then when you line up five incredible drivers side-by-side, you know the first one's that are chosen, are chosen based on their marketability, but it still hasn't diminished the need for the incredible talent."
HOW EASY IS IT TO GET FRUSTRATED AT ONE OF YOUR TEAMMATES AT TALLADEGA? HAVE YOU CUSSED A TEAMMATE BEFORE?
"Yes, and they've cussed me. It's easy to actually have that anywhere, at Talladega it's even easier. Your expectations from your teammates are sometimes unrealistic and yet sometimes you fall short of what you might do for a teammate based on the things that are going on around you. Not that you plan it out and say I'm gonna do something bad to my teammate. It's just there's a lot going on out there. If you're as dull as I am, sometimes you don't get the chance to think everything through. It happens pretty quickly. You have to make decisions and sometimes in retrospect you might of could've done something differently but you have to make those kind of decisions. It's been going on for a long time. I've had teammates since about 1990 when Jack (Roush) started the second team and you do your best to get along but sometimes you're expectations are pretty high of your teammates and sometimes they just can't meet those expectations."
WHAT'S THE MADDEST A TEAMMATE HAS EVER BEEN AT YOU?
"Matt (Kenseth) probably made it clear that he was mad at me. I may have had other instances that were worse than that, but it wasn't as clear to me as Matt was with me at Chicago or Kansas quite a while back."
DID IT COME AS A SURPRISE THAT HE WAS THAT MAD OR A TEAMMATE COULD GET THAT UPSET WITH YOU?
"Well obviously you never think you did something that was that bad. I didn't think what I did was that bad, but that's how everyone is. We're all just a bunch of grown-up little kids, and you know how little kids, they think they never did anything wrong. We're just a bunch of grown-up little kids."
ON WHAT HE EXPECTS DARLINGTON TO BE LIKE NEXT WEEK
"I think it will be a great race, but it won't be quite the same old Darlington. It will have shades of the old Darlington. But with new pavement, we had new pavement I don't remember what year it was, mid 90's, 95, so it's different. It's better with the worn out pavement in a lot of ways. It's easier to pass I think and a lot of fun but it was ready for a new dress and it got it."
BEING ON THE TRACK IN A STREET CAR, I THOUGHT IT WAS RIDCULOUS GOING DOWN INTO WHAT IS NOW TURN THREE. YOU GUYS ADD ANTOHER 50 MILES PER HOUR IN SPEED, THAT'S GOT TO BE INSANE
"It is, but you add the grip to go with the speed, that's where the speed comes from. It's all relative. It's no more insane to go 15 miles an hour faster than it was to go 15 miles an hour slower on that pavement that wore the tires out as you were rolling across pit road. They were wore out before you got out of the garage, that was pretty insane too."
DID THE TRACK NARROW UP? YOU MAY HAVE MORE GRIP BUT DOESN'T IT GET EVEN MORE NARROW WHEN YOU HAVE HIGH SPEEDS?
"It may get a little bit more narrow with higher speeds, but it's pretty narrow at lower speeds when you don't have any control of your car. It's Darlington, new pavement, old pavement. Fast, when the speeds are slow it's still fast. It's really fast. It'll be interesting. I didn't do the tire test, so I don't know. I knew what it was like in '95. Like I say, I think every driver pretty much likes old pavement verses new pavement."
DID YOU EVER FIND YOURSELF AT DARLINGTON MAKING A MOVE AND IT WORKS AND YOU GET BY AND THINK I DIDN'T HAVE ENOUGH ROOM TO DO THAT, HOW DID THAT HAPPEN? DID YOU EVER SURPRISE YOURSELF SQUEEZING THROUGH THE EYE OF THE NEEDLE THERE?
"Yeah, and then I usually key up the mic and tell my spotter to tell what's his name, thank you. That's why I made it, because he let me make it."
WHEN DID BURNOUT'S BECOME POPULAR?
"They came apparent to me through (Alex) Zanardi. Zanardi is where I saw it start, that doesn't mean that's where it started. Zanardi did them big time. If he was winning every week and he was doing them like crazy and that's where it seemed to have started from."
WHEN DID IT COME HERE INTO CUP?
"Fairly soon after that. Pretty soon after that. I think they're real juvenile. It would embarrass me to do one because I would think that was either being a copycat or it was something to be expected. From these kids if they didn't do it, it would probably embarrass them so that's what you do today but I don't think I saw Jeff Burton do a burnout at Bristol. Thank goodness."
DOES IT TEAR UP THE EQUIPMENT?
"It's disrespectful to the equipment but it makes good T.V. That's what they show on television every time. If I did a burnout, I would wreck. So I'm not gonna do it."
DID YOU EVER PICTURE ANY CIRCUMSTANCE AT ALL THAT YOU WOULD DO IT?
"No. I slid a little bit in the grass at Charlotte in 2002 when we won the Coke 600 over the Coke logo that was in the grass. I don't see me doing a burnout ever of any kind or a snow angel."
SO YOU WERE BEING PRETTY WILD AND CRAZY GOING THROUGH THE GRASS?
"That was it, yeah. That was a stretch for me. I'll just collect the hardware. I'd rather take the checkered flag and hurry on in to Victory Lane and get there so I can start enjoying it."
Mark Martin Race Preview - Crown Royal Presents the Dan Lowry 400
Martin, No 8 Team Hungry For Victory Lane At Richmond
After their strongest run of the season three weeks ago at Phoenix, Mark Martin and the No. 8 U.S. Army Race/Dale Earnhardt Inc. team head to Richmond International Raceway hungry for victory. Martin led 68 laps and was the strongest car down the stretch at Phoenix, but lost out on fuel mileage. The team will look to finish the job this weekend.
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.
MARK MARTIN AT RICHMOND
Starts: 44 (22)
Wins: 1 (-)
Top 5s: 13 (6)
Top 10s: 23 (11)
Poles: 3 (1)
Highest finish: 1 (2/25/90)
First time: 9/13/81 (7th)
Last spring: 5/7/07 (17th)
Last time: 9/8/07 (21st)
MARK MARTIN - FAST FACTS - RICHMOND
Martin has finished inside the top 10 in six of his last 12 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 13 top-five finishes in 44 races at Richmond.
Martin holds the Cup and Nationwide records for top fives and top 10s at Richmond.
Martin has a record five Nationwide wins at Richmond.
Martin earned his 41st career Cup pole at Richmond in May 2001.
MARK MARTIN - LAST YEAR AT RICHMOND
MAY 7, 2007
Richmond Int'l Raceway
Started 9th, Finished 17th
Martin battled with an ill handling car for the entire way, going a lap down half-way through the race, while falling back as far as 26th. Still, the team never gave up fighting its way back onto the lead lap with just 23 laps to go in the race and held on for the 17th-place finish.
Struggling early, Martin dropped a lap down after staying out on a longer pit sequence and pitting on lap 213. He later led a laps, as the team made massive adjustments to the car during a series of pit stops throughout the race.
Eventually, while running 23rd, they made wholesale changes with the track bar and wedge under caution on lap 318. The changes paid off with Martin fighting his way back onto the lead lap, eventually battling to the lucky dog position on back on the lead lap on lap 363.
With just 23 laps to go from the checkered flag, Martin was able to hang on for a top-20 finish.
RICHMOND DEEP IN HISTORY FOR MARTIN
This will be Martin's 45th 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 to a seventh-place finish, the first of his 23 career top-10 finishes at Richmond and the first of his Cup career. Over the years, the veteran has logged over 12,300 miles at the .75-track. He leads all drivers in top-five and top-10 finishes in both the Cup and Nationwide Series and his five Nationwide wins are a track record as well.
ON THE POLE
Martin earned his second career Cup pole at his first start at Richmond in 1981 and his 41st pole there in September 2001. His other pole came in September of 1996.
NO. 8 LOOKING FOR RETURN TO WINNER'S CIRCLE
The No. 8 Dale Earnhardt Inc. Team's last trip to victory lane came at Richmond on May 6, 2006 - 72 races ago. Martin and the team hope to end that streak this weekend at RIR.
POINTING IT OUT
Despite running a limited schedule and having missed two of seven events in 2008, Martin is still in the top 30 in the Sprint Cup point standings; ahead of nine drivers who have competed in more events. In addition, Martin has three top-10 finishes in 2008; more than 19 drivers who have taken part in all nine events. Also, Martin has as many or even more top fives than 21 drivers who have raced in every event in 2008.
CHASING THE OWNER POINTS
While neither Martin nor co-driver Aric Almirola are in contention for a Sprint Cup Driver Championship, the No. 8 U.S. Army team accumulates points each week as with any other team. The No. 8 Dale Earnhardt Inc. Team has tallied four top-10 finishes in nine events this season and three top-eight runs in the past four races, and is currently sitting 17th in owner points. The No. 8 team is just 63 points outside of the top 12 and the "Chase" cutoff point.
QUOTING MARK MARTIN ON RICHMOND
"We have a long history at Richmond, going all the way back to the early '80s when I first broke into Cup racing. I sat on the pole there the first time we went in 1981. We were able to actually get a top-10 there the first time as well. It has always been a track that is 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 our last couple of seasons of point racing.
"We had a great run at Phoenix and it is our hope that it carries over to Richmond. This has always been a strong track for this No. 8 team at DEI and hopefully I can add a little to that mix and we'll be able to go in this weekend and again compete for a win. We came really close at Phoenix, and hopefully we can get the job done for our Soldiers this weekend."
Martin’s history runs deep at Richmond
Poles, points and victories highlight Martin's storied past at Richmond
Mark Martin was a wide-eyed rookie the first time he raced at Richmond in 1981, and he in made the most of his first opportunity taking the pole and running to a seventh-place finish in the Wrangler 400 on Sept. 13, 1981. It was his second pole and his first of 379 top-10 career finishes.
"Richmond is a track that is a lot of run to race on," added Martin. "It's fast and you can really get around it. You can pass and it offers a lot of excitement to both the competitors and the fans. We've had a lot of great runs and battles there. There is a lot of history at Richmond for me."
Martin won at Richmond in the second race of the 1990 season, but in a controversial decision by NASCAR was later penalized for what was deemed an illegal carburetor spacer. He was allowed to keep the win, but was docked 46 points. He later lost the championship that season by only 26.
"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."
In 2004 Martin used a dramatic performance at Richmond in the fall to cap a frantic late-season rally to clinch his spot in the inaugural 'Chase' for the Nextel Cup. The veteran's fifth-place finish at RIR was his fourth in the previous five races. With no room for error, Martin had to survive a multi-car accident that saw his race car get spun around a complete 360 degrees, as others cars wrecked all around him.
"It was kind of like Joey Chitwood (famous stuntman) out there," Martin said. "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. I finally stopped, put it in gear and went. We were really lucky that night and the wreck actually put us on a pit sequence that helped us to finish in the top five.
"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."
Martin also earned his 41st career (and currently last) Cup pole at Richmond in 2001. In 2005 he used a split second victory over Kurt Busch in the IROC car to clinch his record 13th championship in the International Race of Champions Series.
He also has five wins in the Nationwide car at Richmond, where he set the all-time Nationwide Series record for poles (29), with his qualifying run there in the fall of 2005.
Martin has 23 top-10 and 13 top-five finishes (both track highs) in 44 starts at Richmond.
Like that first season, Martin returns to Richmond this year as a part of a limited schedule. No longer a wild-eyed kid - but a seasoned veteran - he will look to prove that after 27 years and over 12,000 miles he can still get it done at one of NASCAR's most exciting tracks on the circuit.
Mark Martin Race Report - Phoenix
Martin,U.S. Army Team Come Up Short on Fuel; Finish 5th at Phoenix
Veteran leads 68 laps in strong Phoenix outing
AVONDALE, Ariz. (April 12, 2008) -- "We were really spectacular this weekend and it's a shame we finished fifth," said Mark Martin, who saw victory slip away after he was called into the pits for fuel with 10 laps remaining in Saturday night's Sprint Cup race at Phoenix International Raceway.
At the time of his final pit stop on Lap 302 of 312 Martin was enjoying a comfortable lead on the one-mile oval after passing Dale Earnhardt Jr. on Lap 273. But unfortunately for Martin, his No. 8 U.S. Army Chevrolet, which was paying tribute to the 100th anniversary of the Army Reserve, was in need of fuel to make it to the checkered flag.
"First of all I have to say how proud I am of this U.S. Army team and everyone at Dale Earnhardt Inc.," said Martin. "Their hearts are broken because we just about pulled this one off tonight. We had a great race car and thought we could make it on fuel. However, this is a team effort. When I drive the car into the wall they (crew) have to stand behind me, just like I am standing behind them right now."
"You hate to see it come down that way," added Martin, who led a total of 68 laps. "But you also don't want to run out of fuel with one lap to go and finish 20th in a race that you've been up front the entire time. Again, it was a great run and this is a great race team. It won't be our last chance to win."
When the race was restarted for the final time there were 80 laps remaining, and the initial thought, was the No. 8 car would fall one lap short of fuel. To compensate for the shortage, Martin delicately conserved fuel as the race was winding down.
"I thought I saved plenty of fuel --probably saved five laps," explained Martin. "We had such a spectacular car at the end of the race I didn't have to run it hard. There were a lot of laps I didn't get the throttle wide open on the straight-aways."
A handful of teams did take a gamble on fuel and opted to stay out, including Jimmie Johnson's race-winning team.
Martin, who started the race fourth, was in contention for the entire race. He took the lead for the first time on Lap 164.
The fifth-place result was the second consecutive top-10 for Martin, who finished eighth in Texas last week. It was also Martin's third top 10 of the season and the team's fourth top 10 in the last five races. Aric Almirola, who shares the No. 8 ride with Martin, finished eighth in Bristol last month.
With the finish, the Dale Earnhardt Inc. team moved into 14th place in Sprint Cup owner points, only 13 points outside the Chase's coveted top 12.
As part of his limited driving schedule, Martin will take off the next Sprint Cup race- April 27 at Talladega (Ala.) Super Speedway. His next scheduled race in the No. 8 Army Chevy is May 3 at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway. Almirola will pilot the No. 8 in Talladega, his third race of the season.
Mark Martin Post Race Notes and Quotes - Phoenix
MARK MARTIN, NO. 01 U.S. ARMY IMPALA - Finished 5th:
YOU'VE ALWAYS ASKED FOR JUST A CHANCE TO WIN. YOU HAD ONE TONIGHT. TALK US THROUGH THE LAST FEW LAPS
"Well, you know, we were saving gas. I thought we were trying to go, so we were real, real slow. I was just putting around out there. We had such an incredible car. I planned that run with 80 (laps) to go when we pitted. I said can we go? And we were just sort of saving the gas and trying to be there. I guess there was some confusion on the figuring and they decided that we were going to have to come (in for a pit stop). I'm just really proud of the team and I want them to keep their chin up because I want to win some of these races. And they can do it. They can do it on pit road. And they gave me a race car to win with tonight. Clearly (it was) one of the better cars out there on the race track, it no the best, you know, at the end. We sort of spent the whole race getting ready for a good run there at the end.
"I am just really proud to drive for the U.S. Army and give our soldiers something to cheer for. We just about pulled this one off tonight,. We had a great, great car. We changed our strategy right there at the end. I saved a lot of gas, probably a lot more than they knew. We just had such a spectacular car, there at the end of the race, I didn't have to run it hard. There were a lot of laps I didn't get the throttle wide open on the straightaway. You can't stop if somebody else stays out. It is a privilege to drive for these guys, I want them to keep their chins up because we can win some of these races."
Mark Martin Happy Hour Notes - Phoenix
Martin Fastest in Phoenix Happy Hour
Dale Earnhardt Inc. places four cars in top 15 in final practice session
AVONDALE, Ariz. (April 11, 2008) -- Mark Martin led the way Friday in the final practice session at Phoenix International Raceway, as preparation concluded for Saturday night's Subway Fresh Fit 500. Both Martin's quick time (129.296 mph) and his average time (127.302 mph) were fastest among the field of 43.
"We have a car that can win the race," said Martin in reference to his No. 8 U.S. Army Chevrolet. "I'm very pleased with how we've run this weekend and we are pretty excited to see what we can do tomorrow night. Hopefully we'll be able to stay up front and go out and compete for the win."
Martin led a strong Dale Earnhardt Inc. effort that saw all four of DEI cars post laps inside the top 15 during Friday afternoon's final practice. Martin Truex Jr. was the third fastest car in the session, while Paul Menard (13th) and rookie of the year candidate Regan Smith (15th) were both top 15.
Mark Martin Media Visit - Phoenix
April 10, 2008
Mark Martin, driver of the No. 8 U.S. Army Impala SS, met with media members at Phoenix International Raceway and talked about additional track testing, drug testing, racing at Talladega, his favorite Phoenix memory and more.
ON WHAT CHANGES HE WOULD RECOMMEND TO THE NEW CAR
"Without a question raise the splitter up. But I wouldn't mess around with an inch. They should have started at seven inches on that splitter, not four. The rest of the car is okay, there's nothing really wrong with the rest of it and we are so far along now with this four-inch splitter, I don't know. I don't know if I would even do anything. Maybe you could take it up an inch and give it some front suspension. That's the only real problem with this car, it doesn't have enough front suspension."
ON IF FRONT DOWN FORCE IS THE MAIN ISSUE WITH THE NEW CAR
"Its front grip and you can get a lot of mechanical grip by giving it some suspension. The down force is still a question; I still don't completely understand what all this aero push is. In 1990, 1989 we didn't have any down force and there was no such thing as aero push. And now when we take down force away, now we have aero push with down force, we take down force away and it seems worse. I'm a little bit baffled about that. We could use more mechanical grip in the front end and that would be easy to get. A four inch splitter was really way radical of a call for NASCAR to make and we could've had seven inches like the truck and gotten used to the car and then maybe each year cut it down an inch, to six then to five or something like that. Really the rest of the car, it's backwards, but it isn't that bad. It's heavy, it's higher, it's this and that but you can pretty much get used to all those things but giving up 50 percent of your front suspension is hard to get used to."
ON IF ADDITONAL TESTING WOULD BE A SIGNIFICANT BENEFIT
"No, we don't need to test. It's just burning everybody up, catching them on fire. I don't think that's it."
ON HIS REACTION TO REPORTS THAT AARON FIKE HAD ADMITTED TO BEING ON HEROIN DURING RACES
"I'm astounded. Just, wow. I saw that and I guess that just shows you can be naïve, I was naïve. I didn't think that was ever really a problem or ever would be an issue. I was surprised by that."
WHY DIDN'T YOU THINK THAT WOULD BE AN ISSUE?
"Cause I'm a race car driver and I would have no desire of racing a car or driving a race car with any sort of impairment at all. Matter of fact, I need something to enhance myself. I'm not good enough as it is, so I can use some help instead of something to put me backwards."
ON HOW HE WOULD REACT TO KNOWING HE WAS RACING WITH SOMEONE WHO WAS IMPAIRED FROM DRUGS, ALCOHOL OR SOMETHING ELSE
"I'm not gonna over react to that. Let me be honest with you, I've raced with a lot of guys that weren't impaired that drove like they were. That's not all of it. I don't know, I've raced a long, long time and I've had a lot of guys on the race track scare me that I'm pretty sure weren't under any kind of influence."
ON IF HE THINKS THERE IS A NEED FOR INCREASED DRUG TESTING
"That's a tough call, that's a tough question. Maybe, because I was naïve. I would have said no, the system works fine. I think that's a very isolated incident, but it goes to show you it could happen. Whether you put somebody out there on the race track who doesn't have the experience level and doesn't have the maturity to do it or you put someone out there that has all of that and is under the influence you know it's all not good and you need to prevent both sides of it. You need to screen these people closely, especially the newcomers, the young drivers and all and you also need to be screening them for drugs. That is a big deal. We have a very, very strong sense here in NASCAR of the competitors, what they're like and what they do and how they live their lives on most occasions. I think that one kind of caught us off guard."
ON RACING AT TALLADEGA WITH THE NEW PAVEMENT
"The last few races they've had there have not been like the last few at Daytona. Prior to that, Talladega was more inclined to give you that kind of finish and Daytona was less inclined to. I don't have an answer for that, for sure. Don't really love new pavement anywhere for what it does to the tire situation and the grip situation and all. I really just think it's a matter of coincidence that we haven't had the kind of wild showdowns at the end of Talladega. I was involved in NASCAR in 1981 and 1982 when there would be two, three cars on the lead lap at the finish. I remember four cars on the lead lap at Talladega and nobody complained it was boring and then maybe three or four races later there might have been 15 on the lead lap at the end of the race. So, it's random. You can't predict racing. Sometimes they go down to this much at the finish line and sometimes they go down to nowhere in sight. If you'll just wait, if you see a race that you don't think was exciting enough, if you'll just wait long enough you'll have one there. Be patient."
WHO IS THE GREATEST DRIVER IN ANY SERIES? WHO DO YOU CONSIDER THE GREATEST DRIVER EVER?
"Oh, wow. I won't give you one name but a few names come to mind. Top of my head - Larry Phillips, Dale Earnhardt, Al Unser, Jr., Tony Stewart, Jeff Gordon, A.J. Almindinger (laughter), don't laugh.
HOW ABOUT MARK MARTIN?
"No, I'm not in that league. I might make the good category but not the great. I'm serious, there's a lot of really great race -- Juan Montoya, a lot of names that people are surprised about. Al Unser, Jr. was one of the best I ever raced against. Anytime, anywhere, anything - Tony Stewart. A.J. Foyt was a little bit before my time when I was a little kid and a fan, but for what I understood he could drive anything, anywhere, anytime, that's Tony Stewart in my eyes. There's a lot of great race car drivers, I'm not talking about great results, I'm talking about great race car drivers. What gets the results are fickle, what team you're with all kinds of things like that so I don't really go off the trophies. I go off the abilities and what they can do behind the wheel of any given race car."
ON TIRES LAST WEEK AT TEXAS AND PREVIOUSLY AT ATLANTA
"I think the grip level that we had at Texas was marginal, it was right marginal. It was acceptable, but it was right there. If you go over that line, it's not acceptable like Atlanta, totally unacceptable. It's not all race car. Part of it is the tire that we marry to the race car and I think over time the team's getting better with the cars and Goodyear's getting better with what we need for a tire that will be durable enough but also give us a grip level, I think it will get better. One note I would like to make here, point I would like to make, I didn't see one tire failure all weekend at Texas. And by the way, the tires were acceptable. The grip level was acceptable for that car. With that all said, I would say that's a pretty good weekend.
"Unacceptable at Atlanta, acceptable at Texas. We didn't have a tire failure at Texas. I'm not so sure you can say that about Atlanta. I felt like there were tire failures at Atlanta and the grip was unacceptable. There were two pluses at Texas, you were inside the margin of acceptable grip and what I would call zero failures."
ON IF HE THINKS GOODYEAR'S LEARNING CURVE WITH THE NEW CAR HAS BEEN A LITTLE SLOW
"They're trying to make themselves happy, NASCAR happy and the teams happy. That's a pretty tall order and this car has presented a challenge to try to meet all that criteria. I think they did a good job in Texas with that."
HOW ARE THE TIRES FOR THIS WEEKEND?
"I think they'll be fine. We had a test here. I think they will be great."
ON IF HE THINKS TIRES ARE A FACTOR IN THE SLOWER SPEEDS
"I don't know. Everybody is going as fast as they can go."
ON HIS THOUGHTS ABOUT NASCAR HAVING A TRAVELING SAFETY TEAM
"I think that's a hot potato. I don't think NASCAR likes to hear that. That's been discussed ever since I've been a part of this thing."
DO YOU THINK THE CARE IS CONSISTENT FROM TRACK TO TRACK, CONSISTENT ENOUGH?
"When it comes to somebody's life, is it ever good enough?"
HOW CAN THEY GET BETTER?
"Well they spend more money."
SIMPLE AS JUST LAYING THE GREEN BACKS DOWN?
"It costs more money to make it better. It's a pretty simple formula. I mean that formula is fairly simple. Costs more money to have better . . ."
WHO SHOULD SPEND THE MONEY?
"I don't know."
NOT THE TRACKS, NOT NASCAR?
"I don't know."
DO YOU THINK NASCAR DOESN'T WANT TO DEAL WITH IT ON THEIR OWN?
"I don't know. They didn't used to. They didn't use to want to talk about it, so I don't know where they are today. I don't talk to them a lot about a lot of things because they don't really, what I mean doesn't really matter and if they had done what I thought they should have done then the whole thing would be all messed up so I keep my mouth shut because I usually don't know what's best."
ON HIS BEST MEMORY OF RACING AT PHOENIX
"We won here in '93, that's pretty awesome. I don't know if that was the year that I raced with Ernie (Irvan) so hard, but winning here and racing with my buddy Ernie."
ON HOW THE TRACK HAS CHANGED THROUGHOUT THE YEARS
"It's just been a little different. It's a lot the same. Different stages of pavement from new to old, in between. It's like that, its old pavement and they repaved it somewhere along the way and now the pavement is old again. It's just gone through those age cycles."
Martin's No. 8 Chevy to Honor Army Reserve’s 100th Anniversary
PHOENIX (April 8, 2008) -- Mark Martin's No. 8 Dale Earnhardt Inc. Chevrolet will pay tribute to the 100th anniversary of the United States Army Reserve in this weekend's NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Phoenix International Raceway.
The hood on Martin's Impala SS will be covered with the Army Reserve's 100th anniversary logo and tag line -- Army Reserve, 100 Years Strong.
"It's awesome -- and appropriate -- that one of NASCAR's top drivers is honoring the Army Reserve's 100th anniversary in this weekend's NASCAR race." said Lt. Col. Virginia Zoller of the U.S. Army Reserve. "Mark Martin is a hero to generations of NASCAR fans. When he drives the car with our anniversary logo, he helps recognize the contributions of hundreds of thousands of heroes who served our nation for a century."
The history of the Army Reserve dates back to April 23, 1908 when Congress established the Army's first Federal Reserve.
The Army Reserve began as a small force of approximately 160 medical professionals. Today, the Army Reserve consists of 205,000 soldiers and is an operational, expeditionary and domestic force that is an essential piece of the U.S. Army.
Joining the Army Reserve contingent for Saturday night's Cup race will be a local hero -- Staff Sgt. Christopher Cruse, a Phoenix native who received multiple honors for his service in Iraq, including the Purple Heart, Combat Action Badge and the Army Commendation Medal.
Cruse was severely injured when his humvee was struck by an anti-tank mine on July 25, 2004. He is currently back in Phoenix, serving as an Army Recruiter in the Glendale area.
"This Army Reserve paint scheme has plenty of meaning," said Martin. "We want nothing more than to go out there on Saturday and put on an excellent show as our way of honoring all the men and women who have served, and are currently serving, in the U.S. Army Reserve. They have sacrificed so much for our freedom."
Taking into account how Martin has performed in Phoenix, there's a good chance the Army Reserve car will run up front. In 22 races at the one-mile oval, Martin has one win, eight top fives and 14 top 10s. In addition, the veteran has led a track-high 608 laps, including 137 in the last three races.
Mark Martin Race Preview - Subway Fresh Fit 500
Martin, No. 8 team head west for Phoenix night race
After a strong run last week at Texas, Martin and the No. 8 U.S. Army/Dale Earnhardt Inc. Team head west to Phoenix International Raceway for the season's first Saturday night showdown. Martin and the team will look to build on their momentum following an eighth-place finish Sunday at Texas Motor Speedway.
MARK MARTIN AT PHOENIX
Starts: 22 (3)
Wins: 1 (-)
Top 5's: 8 (-)
Top 10's: 14 (-)
Highest finish:1st (10/31/93)
First time: 11/6/88 (36th)
Last year: 4/21/07(12th)
Martin's 608 laps led at Phoenix is not only the most in track history, but 160 more than second.
MARTIN AT PHOENIX
Martin will make his 23rd start at Phoenix International Raceway, where he won on Oct. 31, 1993. He has eight top-five and 14 top 10 finishes at Phoenix. However, his best finish in three spring races at Phoenix is 11th last season.
POINTING IT OUT
Despite running a limited schedule and having missed two of seven events in 2008, Martin is still in the top 30 in the Sprint Cup point standings; ahead of seven drivers who have started all seven events. In addition, Martin has two top-10 finishes in 2008; more than 22 drivers who have taken part in all seven events.
CHASING THE OWNER POINTS
While neither Martin nor co-driver Aric Almirola are in contention for a Sprint Cup driver Championship, the No. 8 U.S. Army team accumulates points each week as with any other team. The No. 8 Dale Earnhardt Inc. Team has tallied three top-10 finishes in seven events this season and two top-eight runs in the past three weeks, and is currently sitting 19th in owner points. The No. 8 team is just 21 points behind the 15th-place No. 2 car and 132 points outside the top 12.
THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY
Martin won the Phoenix race in 1993, but it probably wasn't his strongest outing at the track. Martin fans will most likely remember 2006's spring Phoenix race as 'the one that got away.' Martin's car was clearly the class of the field, leading 111 laps and building as much as a six-second lead. A problem in the pits dropped Martin to the back of the field midway though the race, but he was so strong on that night that he drove all the way back to second place before running out of fuel at the end of the race. Even with all the problems, Martin finished 11th.
QUOTING MARK MARTIN ON PHOENIX INTERNATIONAL RACEWAY
"I'm excited about getting out to Phoenix this week. Phoenix can be a lot of fun, and I've had some really good cars there over the years. We won there in 1993 and we really let one get away from us there a couple of years ago. Still, we've led a lot of laps at Phoenix and we have some really good race cars. I'm really looking forward to going there with (crew chief) Tony Gibson and this No. 8 U.S. Army Race Team. I think it's the type of track that really suits their style as well, and hopefully we can build on what we've been doing and go there and possibly contend for a win."
"I'm really proud of the effort that we had last week at Texas. The communication was a lot better and we were able to really get the car better as the race went on. I continue to be very excited about working with these guys. These guys are a dedicated group of pure racers, and I think it will only continue to get better and better as the year progresses.”
MARK MARTIN – PHOENIX FAST FACTS
Martin has finished inside the top 10 in 64 percent (14) of his Phoenix Cup races.
Martin has led the most laps at Phoenix (608), including 137 in the last three races.
Martin won at Phoenix on Oct. 31, 1993.
Martin is one of only five drivers to have started 22 races at Phoenix and one of 12 to have won there.
Martin has finished second or better in six of 22 races at Phoenix.
Martin is tied for the most top fives at Phoenix (8) and his 14 top-10 finishes are the second most.
Martin finished 12th at Phoenix last season in his Car of Tomorrow debut.
LAST YEAR AT PHOENIX
April 21, 2007
Phoenix International Raceway
Started 20th, Finished 12th
Mark Martin found the going tough in his debut race in the Car of Tomorrow at Phoenix. Still, the U.S. Army Team was able to use a late-race pit call and solid work in the pits to pull off at 12th-place finish; advancing Martin one place to 10th in the Nextel Cup point rankings, despite missing two races.
Martin started the race 20th and was able to advance as far as 15th early on, but he was never able to truly get a handle on his Chevrolet. Although loose in the corners, the car started to pick up a push around lap 70, and Martin would fight coming off the corners for the remainder of the race.
He fell back as far as 20th position on lap 196, as he continued to battle lapped traffic. Crew Chief Ryan Pemberton made the call of the day keeping Martin out on the track, while several of the leaders began to pit on lap 279. The race’s seventh and final caution was called just four laps later on lap 283. The event trapped several cars a lap down.
The call, combined with a quick stop in the pits, moved Martin up six positions to 12th when the green flag dropped for the final time on lap 293. Martin was able to hold on to position for the final laps, finishing just two places short of his sixth top-10 finish in six races.
Mark Martin Post Race Notes and Quotes - Samsung 500
April 6, 2008
MARK MARTIN, NO. 8 U.S. ARMY IMPALA SS -- Finished 8th:
"We had a great communication day with (crew chief) Tony (Gibson) and I. It was a tremendous improvement from what we did in Atlanta. I was very disappointed in myself at Atlanta and I feel really good about Tony and I and the Army team and the way we work together. We got the car good, especially for the second half of the race. We were very competitive later on there in the race.
"It came to us. We hardly adjusted the car very, very little. But the longer the race went, the better our car got. And we really actually had a top five car there at the end. I hated to see the caution come out. But I guess we only lost one spot. It doesn't really matter. But we were coming on strong. We were in 7th. It was actually getting to be a pretty strong car there in the latter part of the race."
SOME PEOPLE WONDERED ABOUT TIRES THIS WEEKEND AFTER WHAT HAPPENED IN ATLANTA. DID YOU HAVE ANY ISSUES, OR WERE THEY EVEN COMPARABLE?
"These are acceptable. Atlanta was not. I've driven these cars 30 years. I've never driven on anything like Atlanta in 30 years of experience. So, these tires were great. They were very acceptable. I give them high marks. I didn't see anybody having any problems and the car is a handful. Tony Gibson and the U.S. Army team got ours good for the second half and I felt like we were pretty competitive."
HOW ARE YOU PROGRESSING WITH ALL THE CHEMISTRY?
"We're a lot better. I felt really disappointed after Atlanta. I felt like I really let the team down. And so I worked hard with Tony and the guys to make sure we communicated better and I did a better job of leading the team."
WHY DID YOU FEEL THAT WAY?
"Well, because we were terrible, and maybe I could do something about it. So here, I tried to help them. They couldn't help me unless I could help them. We were terrible at Atlanta and I was embarrassed and disappointed in myself and I feel really good about this weekend. It's incredible you can make that much progress in one race, but I love working with Tony. These guys have got big hearts and it's a special time for me to represent all our soldiers. And it was a good run. I look forward to going to Phoenix."
WITH EVERYONE ON DIFFERENT LEVELS OF TRYING TO FIGURE OUT THE NEW CARS, HOW WAS THE HANDLING OF YOUR CAR?
"It was very acceptable today. I'm not saying it was overly comfortable, but it was very acceptable today. I give the tires high marks and I give Tony Gibson and the U.S. Army team kudos for doing everything so great. We had great communication this weekend. I let them down in Atlanta and I feel better about how this weekend went."
Mark Martin Race Report - Samsung 500
Martin Drives to Eighth-Place Finish at Texas Motor Speedway
Veteran hangs on for top finish of season
April 6, 2008
FORT WORTH, Texas (April 6, 2008) -- Mark Martin picked up two spots on the final lap of Sunday's Samsung 500 to post his best finish of the 2008 season, an eighth-place run at Texas Motor Speedway (TMS).
Martin, who was inducted earlier in the week into the TMS Hall of Fame, backed up the honor by posting his eighth career top-10 result at the 1.5-mile track.
"This was just an awesome job by the U.S. Army Team," said Martin, who started the race from the 31st position. "We kept working with the car all day and it was pretty good there by the end of the race."
"I'm very proud of (crew chief) Tony Gibson and this entire DEI team," added Martin. "I think we had a run that our soldiers can be proud of today. Hopefully we can build on this, and pick up where we left off next week in Phoenix."
Martin battled hard and worked his way to seventh place, when the race's sixth and final caution was issued on Lap 329 of 339. With only 10 cars on the lead lap, the caution set up several different strategic options for the race leaders. Martin and Gibson opted for four tires, while the first five cars stayed on the track for the green-white-checkered overtime finish.
Martin restarted his No. 8 U.S. Army Chevrolet Impala SS in ninth position, and fell back to 10th as the race took the white flag signifying one lap remaining. However, Martin dug in and was able to pick up two positions during the final lap.
"There really was a lot going on at the end," explained Martin. "It's always hard to know what to do in those situations, but Tony made a good decision and we were able to get an eighth-place finish out of the deal. I'm very excited about this run today."
Martin wasted little time racing through the field once the green flag waved to start the race. He had a loose-handling car early, but was able to move the car inside the top 20 on Lap 32 and inside the top 15 by Lap 81.
Martin moved inside the top 10 for the first time on lap 230, where he would run virtually the remainder of the race.
The finish is Martin's second top-10 in five starts in 2008 and it's the second top-eight finish for the No. 8 Army team in the last three races (co-driver Aric Almirola finished eight two weeks ago at Bristol).
The Texas result moved the No. 8 Dale Earnhardt Inc. team into 19th place in the Sprint Cup owner points.
Martin Brings Hall of Fame Career Back to Texas Motor Speedway
Veteran set to make 15th Cup start at Texas
MOORESVILLE, N.C. (April 2, 2008) -- Mark Martin will make his 15th career Sprint Cup start at Texas this weekend, but his first as a member of the Texas Motor Speedway Hall of Fame.
Martin, who will be inducted into the Hall of Fame this week, won at TMS in 1998 and has totaled five top-five and seven top-10 finishes in 14 starts at the track. In addition, the Dale Earnhardt Inc. driver boasts three wins and four top-five finishes in the Nationwide Series at Texas.
"It's really a great honor to be recognized for what we have been able to achieve at Texas," said Martin. "I've always enjoyed going there. It's one of my favorite tracks on the circuit and it was an obvious choice to keep on my schedule. We won there in 1998 and we've had some really solid runs there the last few years. Hopefully we can keep that going this weekend with this No. 8 U.S. Army team."
Martin, who finished third a year ago at Texas, will make his return to the track this weekend after taking off the last two races at Bristol and Martinsville. Aric Almirola, Martin's co-driver in the No. 8 U.S. Army Chevrolet, finished eighth at Bristol, then qualified third at Martinsville and had a strong run going before falling out late in the race with a punctured radiator.
"Aric did a tremendous job in those races," said Martin. "He is a very talented driver and it was great to be able to watch him run well in the car. We had a lot of hope for Aric when we brought him on board and he has proven what he can do behind the wheel of the car. Now it's my turn to get back out there and see if we can keep this No. 8 team headed in the right direction."
"This really is a great race team," added Martin. "Tony Gibson and these guys on this No. 8 U.S. Army Team are all pure racers. These guys love to race and they love to run up front. They go to the track each week looking to run well and contend to win races. I love what I have seen so far and I really look forward to getting more time in with these guys. We have some pretty good tracks coming up and I'm excited to see what we can do."
Martin, who has finished 92.9 percent of the Cup laps turned at Texas, has logged over 6,500 miles at TMS. One of only five drivers to have competed in all 14 races at Texas Motor Speedway, Martin has led in seven of his 14 starts at the track. In addition, he is tied for the most top five and top 10 career finishes at the track. The veteran will look to expand on those credentials this weekend, and continue to build on what is already a true hall of fame career.
Mark Martin Race Preview - Texas Motor Speedway
MARTIN RETURNS TO THE NO. 8 U.S. ARMY CAR AT TEXAS
After taking races off at Bristol and Martinsville, Martin returns to action this weekend at Texas Motor Speedway for his fifth Sprint Cup start of the season.
MARTIN AT TEXAS
Martin will make his 14th start at Texas Motor Speedway this weekend, where he won the second race in 1998. He has five top fives and seven top 10 finishes in the Cup Series at Texas. Martin finished third in this race last season. Martin has completed 92.9 percent of the Cup laps at Texas and has led in seven of 14 races. In addition, Martin has won three times in eight starts in the Nationwide Series at Texas, including the inaugural event in 1997.
MARTIN TO BE INDUCTED INTO THE TEXAS MOTOR SPEEDWAY HALL OF FAME
For his accomplishments at Texas Motor Speedway, Martin will be inducted into the Texas Motor Speedway Hall of Fame this week. Martin has a total of five wins, nine top-fives and 11 top-10 finishes in NASCAR racing at Texas Motor Speedway.
THE VETERAN AND THE ROOKIE SOLID TEAMWORK
Martin will return to the No. 8 U.S. Army Chevrolet this weekend, after giving way to rookie Aric Almirola at the last two races. The veteran will have his work cut out for him, as Almirola posted a top-10 finish at Bristol and a top-three qualifying effort at Martinsville last weekend. Martin will pilot the car at Texas and Phoenix, before giving the wheel back to Almirola at Talladega.
LOOKING AT THE POINTS
While neither Martin nor Almirola are contending for a Sprint Cup driver Championship, the No. 8 U.S. Army team accumulates points each week as with any other team. The No. 8 team peaked after Bristol at 15th, just three spots out of the coveted top 12. A punctured radiator at Bristol helped knock the team back to 22nd position, where they sit going into this weekend's event at Texas.
MARK MARTIN QUOTES ON TEXAS MOTOR SPEEDWAY
"I'm looking forward to going to Texas and getting back out on the racetrack. I've really enjoyed having a couple of races off and getting to watch the races at home on television, but I am definitely ready to get back out on the race track with Tony Gibson and this U.S. Army Race Team. These guys are a pleasure to work with and I can't wait to see what we can do in Texas this weekend.
"Aric (Almirola) did a great job driving the car the last two races. He is an extremely talented race car driver and I think the results speak for themselves. He had a top 10 at Bristol and turned around and qualified third at Martinsville. I'm really going to have to make sure I'm on my game to live up to my end of the equation with as well as Aric has run."
MARK MARTIN FAST FACTS - TEXAS MOTOR SPEEDWAY
Martin posted a Cup win at Texas in the second race there in 1998.
Martin has five top fives and seven top 10's in 14 Cup starts at Texas.
Martin has led in seven of his 14 starts at Texas, where he has completed 92.9 percent of his laps.
Martin is a 2008 inductee into the Texas Motor Sports Hall of Fame.
Martin has won three times in the Nationwide Series at Texas in four races, including the inaugural Busch race there in 1997.
LAST YEAR AT TEXAS
APRIL 15, 2007 – Texas Motor Speedway
Started 6th, Finished 3rd
Martin finished third in the Samsung/Radio Shack 500 at Texas Motor Speedway. The finish was Martin’s fourth top-five and fifth top-10 in five starts in 2007.
Martin started the race sixth based on the No. 01’s owner points after Friday’s qualifying was canceled due to severe weather. The team struggled early with the car’s handling in traffic and Martin dropped back to as far as 15th as he struggled with an aero push behind other cars.
The team made its final adjustment on its fourth pit stop of the race on lap 117, moving the track bar up and adjusting the air pressure. Martin restarted in 14th position when the field returned to green.
From that point on the No. 01 U.S. Army Team went to work, picking up five positions on the next three stops as Martin moved up the field, breaking back inside the top 10 on lap 195. He would run the remainder to the race inside the top 10, moving inside the top five for the first time of the day on lap 239, where he would run for the rest of the race. The veteran picked up two positions in the final 20 laps of the race to move to the third place finish.
Texas soldier honored for heroism will be guest of U.S. Army NASCAR team
FORT WORTH, Texas (April 1, 2008) -- Mark Martin and the United States Army NASCAR team will have an added incentive at this weekend's Sprint Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway.
Along with the Army's prerace pageantry for Sunday's Samsung 500, the No. 8 team will be introduced to a special guest - Staff Sergeant Kenneth Thomas -- a hometown hero from Utopia, Texas, located approximately 85 miles northwest of San Antonio.
Thomas, 23, a member of the Army's 1st Cavalry Division out of Ft. Hood, Texas, was awarded the Silver Star, a decoration for gallantry in combat.
Thomas' heroic action on Feb. 16, 2007 resulted in a number of his comrades' lives being saved while his boat patrol platoon was under attack by heavy enemy fire on the Tigris River -- 20 miles north of Baghdad.
"I got so excited when I was told that I would be going to a NASCAR race," said Thomas, who joined the Army following his 2002 graduation from Utopia High School. "This is really an honor for me. I've seen races on television and they look like a lot of fun. I just can't wait to get there."
Thomas will be accompanied to Sunday's race by his platoon sergeant in Iraq -- Sgt. 1st Class Allen Johns.
"When I hear stories about our soldiers like Mr. Thomas, I do sit back and reflect about what an awesome honor it is to wear the Army uniform," said Martin, a 35-time NASCAR Cup winner. "I am so proud to represent our soldiers and drive their car."
The Army will also have a visible presence during Sunday's national anthem. The 36th Infantry Division Band out of Austin, Texas will play The Star Spangled Banner while 50 Army Reserve and Army National Guard soldiers from Ft. Worth will hold the 30-by-60-foot flags of the United States and Texas.
The 1st Cavalry Division from Ft. Hood will provide the color guard for the national anthem along with 56 soldiers, who will hold the state and territory flags.