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 ...
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 couldn't 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.