Las Vegas: Mark Martin preview

VEGAS VICTOR: On March 1, 1998, Mark Martin became the first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver to visit Victory Lane at Las Vegas Motor Speedway after starting seventh and leading 82 laps. Martin counts the victory at the 1.5-mile track as the most...

VEGAS VICTOR: On March 1, 1998, Mark Martin became the first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver to visit Victory Lane at Las Vegas Motor Speedway after starting seventh and leading 82 laps. Martin counts the victory at the 1.5-mile track as the most memorable of his 40 career Cup wins.

LUCKY NO. 13: Martin, driver of the No. 5 GoDaddy.com Chevrolet, will make his 13th Sprint Cup start at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Sunday. Including his 1998 victory, he has posted five top-five finishes and nine top-10s in his previous 12 starts.

MOST RECENTLY AT LVMS: Last year, Martin climbed from his 18th starting spot to fourth by Lap 121 when the engine expired. It left the No. 5 team with a 40th-place finish.

LOOP STATISTICS: Martin has the sixth-best driver rating -- 94.9 -- in the last five Las Vegas Motor Speedway races. The NASCAR loop data statistics driver rating is a formula combining the following categories: wins, finishes, top-15 finishes, average running position while on lead lap, average speed under green, fastest lap, led most laps, and lead-lap finish with a maximum 150 points per race.

FROM THE POINT: Las Vegas Motor Speedway is one of only six active tracks where Martin has yet to earn the pole position. Martin made his career-best LVMS start in 2008 when he lined up third. His next pole will be the 50th of his career and will tie him for eighth on the all-time pole winner's list.

NO. 5 TEAM AT LVMS: Under the direction of crew chief Alan Gustafson, the No. 5 team has posted two top-five finishes and three top-10s in six starts at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The team posted a career-best runner-up finish in March 2005.

HENDRICK AT LAS VEGAS: Hendrick Motorsports has scored four wins, 11 top-five finishes and 17 top-10s in 12 events (46 starts) at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

POINT STANDINGS: Martin's fourth-place finish last week at Auto Club Speedway vaulted the GoDaddy.com team to sixth in the Sprint Cup point standings. At this time last year, the team was 27th.

ALL ABOUT THE 5: Gustafson has chosen Hendrick Motorsports Chassis No. 5-555 for the race in Las Vegas this weekend. This chassis was raced at Texas Motor Speedway last November where Martin finished fourth.

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MARK MARTIN, DRIVER, NO. 5 GODADDY.COM CHEVROLET (ON WHY HE LOVES LAS VEGAS.): "I love this city. It's probably my favorite place we go. I don't know what it is, because I'm not a real 'go-out' kind of guy. But the atmosphere is so great here. You can do anything at any time of day. It's open 24 hours. There are shows and great food. It's just an exciting place to be."

MARTIN (ON HIS LAS VEGAS WIN.): "That day was so cool. It was the first time the Cup Series raced at Las Vegas. I don't think the win really sank in at first. I'm trying to really appreciate wins more because you don't know if there will be a next one. And that night, after all the post-race stuff was over, we helicoptered out of the track. The Strip was all lit up, and it was just an incredible sight. I remember sitting in the helicopter and letting that win sink in. I just really appreciated that one."

MARTIN (ON THE TEAM'S POSITION IN THE STANDINGS.): "After our fourth-place finish last week, I was so relieved. It's such an opposite starting point from what we had last year. The communication between Alan (Gustafson, crew chief) and I is on a whole new level. At this point last year, we were still getting to know each other. Now, it's like he just knows me and he knows what I want out of the race car. We're at a whole new level. There's no telling what this team is capable of, but it's definitely nice to not be in a hole this early in the season."

ALAN GUSTAFSON, CREW CHIEF, NO. 5 GODADDY.COM CHEVROLET (ON VISITING LAS VEGAS.): "I love Las Vegas. The city itself is just really cool. I like architecture, so that's something that really intrigues me about Las Vegas. It's just an exciting place to be. There's a lot going on. We spend most of our time there at the racetrack, but it's nice to have a lot to do once the garage closes, too."

GUSTAFSON (ON THE GODADDY.COM TEAM'S START TO THE SEASON.): "We've had a decent start to the season. Definitely in a better position right now than we were at this point last year. It's still early, though. We have to keep our focus on consistency to maintain our position and breathe a little easier. That doesn't mean we'll get complacent, though. Winning is our main goal. We want those wins. If you win, everything else works itself out and falls into place."

-source: hm

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Mark Martin
Teams Hendrick Motorsports