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...
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 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.
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.
"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."