Bristol II: Mark Martin preview

POINTS: Mark Martin is currently 13th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series point standings. He trails 12th-place Clint Bowyer by just 35 points with three races remaining until the field is set for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. BRISTOL WINNER:...

POINTS: Mark Martin is currently 13th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series point standings. He trails 12th-place Clint Bowyer by just 35 points with three races remaining until the field is set for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.

BRISTOL WINNER: Martin is a two-time NASCAR Sprint Cup race winner at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway. In August 1993, Martin started from the pole position and led 67 laps en route to his first victory at the short track. Five years later, he led 190 laps before scoring his second win at Bristol on Aug. 22, 1998.

POLE SITTER: Martin, driver of the No. 5 CARQUEST Auto Parts/GoDaddy.com Chevrolet, has earned nine pole positions at the Tennessee short track, which is more than any other active driver and ties legendary Cale Yarborough for first all-time. From Martin's first Bristol pole in April 1989 to his most recent -- last August -- the overall pole speed has increased by more than four mph. Martin's next Sprint Cup Series pole will be the 50th of his career and will place him eighth on the all-time pole winner's list.

MARTIN AT BRISTOL: In 43 Cup starts at Bristol Motor Speedway, Martin has posted two wins, 16 top-five finishes and 23 top-10s. Martin has led 1,199 laps at Bristol, which ranks second for the NASCAR veteran only to the 1,720 laps he's led at Dover (Del.) International Speedway.

EARLIER THIS YEAR: Martin started from the 13th position at Bristol in March. Martin drove into the top-10 and was making the pass for fifth place when he was pushed into the outside retaining wall by another competitor. The Chevrolet suffered extensive damage and was forced to retreat to the garage for several laps. The team was scored with a 35th- place finish.

LAST YEAR AT BRISTOL: Martin earned the pole position for both Sprint Cup races at Bristol Motor Speedway in 2009. He finished sixth in the spring race. In his August outing, which also happened to be his 1,000th career NASCAR start, Martin led 240 laps and finished second.

HISTORICAL WIN: Crew chief Alan Gustafson led the No. 5 GoDaddy.com team to victory at Bristol on March 25, 2007. The win marked the first victory for NASCAR's new car and was the 600th victory for Chevrolet and the 200th NASCAR win for Hendrick Motorsports. Since 2005, the No. 5 team has earned three top-five finishes and five top-10s at the short track.

CHASSIS CHOICE: Gustafson has chosen Hendrick Motorsports Chassis No. 5-600 for Saturday night's race at Bristol. This is the same chassis Martin raced to a fourth-place finish in the 600-mile race at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway in May. He also drove this car to a 15th-place finish at Chicagoland Speedway last month.

HENDRICK AT BRISTOL: Hendrick Motorsports has nine wins, 41 top-five finishes, 75 top-10s and 10 pole positions in 53 events (163 starts) at Bristol. Jimmie Johnson earned his first win at the short track in March after leading 84 laps.

MARK MARTIN, DRIVER, NO. 5 CARQUEST AUTO PARTS/GODADDY.COM CHEVROLET (ON THE TEAM'S CHANCES TO GAIN POINTS AT BRISTOL MOTOR SPEEDWAY.): "Bristol is a tough one because you can't count on anything, and you can't count anything out. This team witnessed that first-hand when we were there in March. We had an awesome race car, possibly the best one we've had all season. We had a chance to win that race and lost it all when we were pushed into the wall by another car. And last year, we led a lot of laps and came up just one position short in the fall race there. All we can do is run the best race we can. It's a great race and we all look forward to it. I think we'll be really good, you just can't count out something crazy happening at Bristol."

MARTIN (ON THE TEAM'S PROGRESS.): "It obviously didn't show, but we did have a good car at Michigan. I got a little too aggressive early in the race and that didn't help us at all. The guys did what they could and brought home the best finish we could. We've been testing a lot and actually will continue to do so. One thing about this No. 5 team, no one gives up. Ever. It's impressive. Just like on Sunday, these guys had so much fight in them. It wasn't the day anyone wanted, but no one complained or gave up on anyone else. That's what makes teams survive tough times and get better from them. This points race is going to be a battle that's for sure. We're doing all we can do. We're working hard as a team to get back on the level we were on last year."

MARTIN (ON POINTS RACING.): "It's just what you do. It's what I did on dirt tracks the first year I drove. The race itself is fun and a challenge, and it's what I enjoy the most. Points are affected by things you can't control. But the race can be fun and you can have some control over that. The individual races are important to me. Each one of them is another opportunity and a great day in my life. Points racing is something we have to do, but I don't necessarily like it."

MARTIN (ON HIS POLES AT BRISTOL.): "I guess I really didn't realize that I had that many. (LAUGHS.) I remember getting both of them last season and how crazy those laps were. I thought, 'I don't know how much more of that my heart can take!' It's just one of those tracks that we were able to get everything out of the race car. We haven't gotten the amount of poles we would have liked to this year, so I don't know how our lap will be Friday. I hope I have another one of those crazy good ones."

-source: hm

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About this article
Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jimmie Johnson , Clint Bowyer , Mark Martin
Teams Hendrick Motorsports