Atlanta: Mark Martin preview

ATLANTA WINNER: Mark Martin is a two-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race winner at Atlanta Motor Speedway. He earned his first victory there on Nov. 17, 1991, after starting fourth and leading 190 laps. Three years later, on Nov. 13, Martin led 119...

ATLANTA WINNER: Mark Martin is a two-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race winner at Atlanta Motor Speedway. He earned his first victory there on Nov. 17, 1991, after starting fourth and leading 190 laps. Three years later, on Nov. 13, Martin led 119 laps en route to the win.

HENDRICKCARS.COM ON BOARD: This weekend, the No.5 Chevy will have a new blue-and-black paint scheme representing Hendrickcars.com.

MARTIN AT ATLANTA: In 48 Cup starts at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Martin has posted two wins, 14 top-five finishes and 23 top-10s. He has started from the pole position at AMS twice, including this race last March.

POLE SITTER: Martin earned the pole for the March Atlanta race last year, his first of the 2009 season. The NASCAR veteran went on to score seven poles -- a career best and also the most for any Cup team in 2009. Martin's next pole will be the 50th of his Cup career and will place him eighth on the all-time pole winner's list.

LAST YEAR AT AMS: After starting from the pole position last spring at Atlanta, Martin raced inside the top 10 before suffering a blown tire on Lap 216 and finishing 31st. In the fall, Martin rebounded with a fifth-place finish at AMS.

LOOP STATISTICS: Martin earned the sixth-best driver rating in the 2009 fall race at Atlanta Motor Speedway with a score of 109.5. The driver rating is a formula that combines wins, top-15 finishes, average running position while on the lead lap, average speed under green, fastest lap, most laps led and lead-lap finishes. The maximum a driver can earn in each race is 150 points. The driver rating number is used pre-race as a prediction tool and post-race as a performance evaluator.

NO. 5 TEAM AT AMS: Under the leadership of crew chief Alan Gustafson, the No. 5 Hendrickcars.com/GoDaddy.com Chevrolet has made 11 starts at AMS. The team scored its highest finish -- fifth -- there last September.

HENDRICK AT ATLANTA: Hendrick Motorsports owns 10 wins, 47 top-five finishes and 73 top-10s in 52 events (163 starts) at Atlanta. Rick Hendrick is the winningest owner at the 1.54-mile oval, leading Richard Childress Racing and Joe Gibbs Racing teams, which have nine wins apiece.

HENDRICK MILESTONE: With Jimmie Johnson's win last weekend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Hendrick Motorsports now has 190 wins in the Sprint Cup Series, which is the most in the modern era and second all-time.

POINT STANDINGS: Martin's fourth-place finish last week at Las Vegas Motor Speedway vaulted the No. 5 team to third in the Sprint Cup point standings. Martin also scored a fourth-place finish at Auto Club Speedway and is one of three Cup drivers to have earned two top-five finishes so far this season. At this time last year, the No. 5 team was ranked 27th in the standings.

CHASSIS CHOICE: Gustafson has chosen Hendrick Motorsports Chassis No. 5-500 for the race in Atlanta this weekend. Martin drove this chassis to earn the pole position and finish second at Indianapolis Motor Speedway last year. He also raced 5-500 to a fourth-place finish at Auto Club Speedway last October.

SPOILER TEST: The Sprint Cup Series will conduct a test March 16 at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway to provide teams track time with the new spoiler, which is replacing the current wing. This change is scheduled to go into effect later this month.

***

MARK MARTIN, DRIVER, NO. 5 HENDRICKCARS.COM/GODADDY.COM CHEVROLET (ON RACING AT ATLANTA MOTOR SPEEDWAY.): "Atlanta has always been one of my favorite racetracks. The very first time I came here, I just felt good. It has the characteristics of a short track, but on a much larger level. There's an intensity to racing here, and qualifying is wide-open fast. Every time I've been to Atlanta I've had a great race car. Both races last year, we were real, real good. The tire, of course, bit us in the first race, but we had a car capable of winning. I'm sure we'll have a good car again this weekend. The guys on this team have given me great race cars in the first three races this year, and I know I'll have another one this weekend."

MARTIN (ON THE SERIES' FIRST OFF WEEKEND THAT IS COMING UP.): "When is the off weekend? I didn't even realize we were getting one this soon. Man, I don't know. I have absolutely no plans, obviously. I just want to relax and enjoy the time away from the track with my family. But everything's going so good right now, I'd like to just keep racing and keep this deal going."

MARTIN (ON THE UPCOMING TEST AT TALLADEGA SUPERSPEEDWAY.): "I'm anxious for this test at Talladega. I think putting the spoilers back on these cars is going to be real interesting. It will make a huge difference at Daytona (Fla.) and Talladega. I'm looking forward to getting on the track and seeing what the differences are and what we find out. It's been awhile since we've had them on now, so it will be interesting to see what the spoiler does to the car on that track."

ALAN GUSTAFSON, CREW CHIEF, NO. 5 HENDRICKCARS.COM/GODADDY.COM CHEVROLET (ON HIS PERSONAL BUYING EXPERIENCE WITH HENDRICKCARS.COM.): "Hendrickcars.com is great. It's a really cool avenue to buy cars. It's all Hendrick Automotive Group dealerships and all Hendrick Certified Pre-owned cars at your fingertips. On one of our off weekends, on a Sunday afternoon, I got on the site looking for a car. I found one I liked, talked to the dealer and had a car later that week. It's so easy."

GUSTAFSON (ON THE UPCOMING TALLADEGA TEST.): "We're just going to put the spoilers on and go run some laps at Talladega. We'll see what we have to deal with then. We'll go to Charlotte (N.C.) the week after and find out more. The Talladega test will be strictly for speed. When we get to Charlotte, we'll know more about the handling of the car with the spoiler back on it."

-source: hm

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jimmie Johnson , Mark Martin
Teams Hendrick Motorsports , Joe Gibbs Racing