Martin Finishes 4th in Dover; Best COT Result for 01 Team DOVER, Del. (Sept. 23, 2007) -- Mark Martin was in position to win Sunday's Nextel Cup race, but the U.S. Army driver settled for an impressive fourth-place finish at Dover International...
Martin Finishes 4th in Dover; Best COT Result for 01 Team
DOVER, Del. (Sept. 23, 2007) -- Mark Martin was in position to win Sunday's Nextel Cup race, but the U.S. Army driver settled for an impressive fourth-place finish at Dover International Speedway.
For most of the closing 50 laps at the Monster Mile, Martin was running in second place, chasing Carl Edwards, who eventually went on to win the event. Martin said after he climbed out of his Dale Earnhardt Inc. Chevrolet that the number of cautions and red flags at the end didn't help his cause for a trip to Victory Lane.
For the record, the final 44 laps saw the yellow flag fly six times for 28 laps. There were also two red flags during this period that amounted to approximately 17 minutes of delay.
"We needed a long run there at the end," said Martin, who was credited with leading 22 laps during the NASCAR event. "If we could have gotten 40 or 50 (green flag) laps at the end we might have had a shot at it, but Carl (Edwards) was just spectacular on those restarts. We never did get a chance to get at it. I thought we had a great effort today and had a shot to win."
The result was the best Car of Tomorrow finish for the 01 Army team. The team's previous best COT finish was seventh at the June Dover race.
"I want to thank DEI for great horsepower," stated Martin. "I abused the engine quite a bit today and over-revved it on a couple of those restarts at the end. I was trying to go for it."
"I also want to thank my team," added Martin. "This merger has been incredibly tough on these guys and they haven't let up. We had an awesome car. We've been working so hard with the COT setup and today we started to see some big gains. This was a big boost for the future success of this team."
Martin started 31st after a sub-par qualifying effort Friday. But when the green flag dropped to start the 400-lap, 400-mile race, he patiently picked off positions on the all-concrete surface.
"The crew made some great adjustments and I had a fast car," said Martin. "It was sure fun challenging for the win. This is what it's all about -- a legitimate shot at winning a race."
Martin moved into the top 10 just past the halfway mark and stayed there until the checkered flag waved. He led from Laps 288 to 309. On the final restart (Lap 397), Martin was still in second, but was passed in the remaining laps by Greg Biffle and Dale Earnhardt Jr.
"Overall, it was a solid day of racing for our 01 team," offered Martin. "We fought to the end and I hope we made our soldiers proud. It's so awesome to represent the U.S. Army."
The result was Martin's 20th top-five and 27th top-10 finish in 43 starts at Dover. It was also his fifth top five and 10th top 10 in 19 starts this season.
The 01 DEI team is ranked 14th in Nextel Cup owner points. Despite missing nine races due to his part-time 2007 schedule, Martin is 24th in driver points.
The next stop for Martin and the Army team will be Sunday (Sept. 30) at Kansas Speedway.