Daytona II: Mark Martin preview

MARTIN RETURNS TO DAYTONA LOOKING FOR ELUSIVE VICTORY 01 team to run special Principal Financial Group paint scheme this weekend DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (July 3, 2007) -- While Mark Martin's controversial second-place run in February's Daytona 500...

MARTIN RETURNS TO DAYTONA LOOKING FOR ELUSIVE VICTORY
01 team to run special Principal Financial Group paint scheme this weekend

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (July 3, 2007) -- While Mark Martin's controversial second-place run in February's Daytona 500 may have jump-started his tenure in the No. 01 Chevrolet, the veteran returns to Daytona International Speedway this weekend still seeking his first victory at the famed 2.5 mile-oval.

The Daytona 500 photo finish, which saw Kevin Harvick nip Martin by approximately three feet, has been nominated for an ESPY under the category of Best Finish.

The 500 finish launched Martin to the best start of his 20-plus year NASCAR Cup career and eventually into the Nextel Cup point lead. However, Martin goes back to Daytona for Saturday night's Pepsi 400 looking for "less hype and more hardware."

"We came so close and you can't ask for any more than a solid shot to win the Daytona 500," said Martin. "We were right there, but in the end I came up just a little short. The outpouring from the fans and all the attention was amazing. But this time I'd settle for a little less hype and some hardware in the form of a trophy."

"Daytona has been a tough track for me over the years," added Martin a long time Daytona Beach resident. "I've had a lot of heartache there, but I don't really count last February as one of those. It was a tough pill to swallow, but at the same time the guys on the U.S. Army Team and at Ginn Racing gave me a solid shot to win the biggest race of the year and you just can't ask for more than that. Maybe I can get it done for them this weekend."

Martin's car in Daytona will have primary sponsorship by The Principal Financial Group, the nation's 401(k) leader and premier benefits provider. The car will carry a special blue and white paint scheme that promises to show well under the lights during the 400-mile race.

"We are really glad to have a company like The Principal on board," said Martin. "And the car looks really good. I think it will show up really well under the lights at Daytona and I think the fans won't have any problem seeing us on the track. Hopefully we can run up front, finish the job and take that car to Victory Lane."

The U.S. Army, which is the primary sponsor on the 01 Chevy for 34 of the 36 Cup races, will have an associate status on the car in Daytona.

Though he has never won a Nextel Cup point's race at Daytona, Martin has visited Victory Lane there on several occasions. He won the Budweiser Shootout in 1999 and a Craftsman Truck Series race in 2006. In addition, the veteran boasts two IROC victories at Daytona -- in 2003 and 2005.

-credit: gr

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Kevin Harvick , Mark Martin