Martin's Charge from the Back Cut Short in Daytona Wreck Fest Daytona, FL.: The sport's most legendary oval lived up to its reputation Saturday as the ARCA Racing Series Presented by RE/MAX and Menards opened up the festivities for Speed Week at...
Martin's Charge from the Back Cut Short in Daytona Wreck Fest
Daytona, FL.: The sport's most legendary oval lived up to its reputation Saturday as the ARCA Racing Series Presented by RE/MAX and Menards opened up the festivities for Speed Week at Daytona. A third of the field was taken out of the Slick Mist 200 across six cautions in the 80 lap race. Hal "The Ragin' Cajun" Martin was one of them.
The weekend was tense for the Galliano, Louisiana native, who was forced to use a provisional to make the race after a part broke on the left rear shock during qualifying. The need for the repair required the 24 year old to start in 40th place among the 43 cars that made the field.
However, Martin is used to coming from behind. Last year, at Chicagoland, Martin endured under similar circumstances, and picked his way through the field all night, to finish an impressive third, in what was then only his second ARCA career start.
"Although we were disappointed to have to start at the back, at Daytona if you can't be in the front, it's almost better to be way at the back.," said Martin, in what would become a bitterly ironic comment.
As the green flag dropped, Martin and the #17 Mark Gibson Racing/Sea Support Ventures Dodge began ticking off lap times faster than the leaders, making up ten positions in just the first five laps.
On lap seven came the biggest wreck of the night in turn two, when a cut tire on a car mid-pack created a melee in the rest of the field. Martin had all but avoided trouble, slowing quickly and pulling into the infield to avoid the slide of cars coming off the bank, making only light contact with the front end before coming to a halt. As he re-fired the engine, another driver made hard contact with the group of stopped cars, damaging the front clip of the #17 Dodge and ending Martin's night much too soon. Nine other cars were involved in the incident.
"You work like crazy to put something great together for a race like this," commented Martin, "and then to have it end this way is disappointing, to say the least. The car was handling very well, and we were making up ground quickly. A lot of good drivers went home with wrecked cars this weekend, but that's how it works out sometimes in this sport. We'll turn our sights towards the next race now."
Martin's next scheduled race is the ARCA Racing 150 at Palm Beach International Raceway on February 27th. Martin will team up again with Mark Gibson for the first of two road courses on the schedule this year. Martin and Gibson have a strong history, as they were together for all three of Martin's ARCA starts in 2009, with Cunningham Motorsports. Martin finished eleventh, third and ninth in the three races.
-source: hal martin PR