Loudon: Mark Martin preview

775TH START: When Martin lines up Sunday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, he will be making his 775th career start in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Only seven other drivers in the history of NASCAR have surpassed this mark, and Martin ranks eighth...

775TH START: When Martin lines up Sunday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, he will be making his 775th career start in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Only seven other drivers in the history of NASCAR have surpassed this mark, and Martin ranks eighth on the all-time list. In his previous 774 starts, Martin has earned 40 victories, 262 top-five finishes and 423 top-10s. He has started from the pole position 49 times and has led 12,403 laps.

POLE MAN: Martin's next Sprint Cup pole will be the 50th of his career and will place him eighth on the all-time pole winner's list. Martin earned the pole position for his first race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on July 11, 1993, when he went on to finish second. He followed that up by earning another pole there on July 9, 1995, and went on to finish that event third.

THE NO. 5 TEAM: Crew chief Alan Gustafson led the No. 5 team to New Hampshire Motor Speedway's Victory Lane on July 16, 2006, and again last September. In 10 total Cup starts at the track, the team has earned two victories, four top-five finishes and five top-10s with Gustafson at the helm. New Hampshire Motor Speedway joins Phoenix International Raceway as the only track where the No. 5 team has earned multiple wins since 2005.

CHASSIS CHOICE: Gustafson has chosen Hendrick Motorsports Chassis No. 5-588 for Sunday's race. This is the same chassis that Martin drove to a fourth-place finish at Phoenix International Raceway on April 10 earlier this year. 

MARK MARTIN, DRIVER, NO. 5 CARQUEST AUTO PARTS/GODADDY.COM CHEVROLET (ON MAKING HIS 775TH CAREER START.): "I didn't even know that was coming up. (LAUGHS.) I was told that last week and to be honest, it's kind of shocking even to me. Like 'Really? That's a lot of starts.' I kind of wonder where the time went, but it's all been fun, you know? I'm doing what I love. Still doing what I love. It's incredible. I don't think you can measure success by starts, but I appreciate all 774 races that have come to this point."

MARTIN (ON HIS WIN LAST YEAR AT NEW HAMPSHIRE.): "Starting the Chase off like that, that was just incredible. I'd never won at New Hampshire before. Alan (Gustafson, crew chief) gave me an amazing race car, and then he made a great pit call to get us to the front. Once we were up there, it wasn't easy. We had those restarts at the end with Juan (Pablo Montoya) breathing down my neck. We held them all off, and on tires that were quite a bit older than theirs, so it was just a huge accomplishment."

ALAN GUSTAFSON, CREW CHIEF, NO. 5 CARQUEST AUTO PARTS/GODADDY.COM CHEVROLET (ON LAST YEAR'S NEW HAMPSHIRE WIN.): "That race was really important to us. We had had a lot of pressure all season just to get into the Chase, and then, finally, we were in and could focus on wins. We worked really hard with our engineering department for that race, and it paid off. We got the opportunity later in the race to kind of flip track position on the leaders. When we did that, Mark (Martin) took the lead and just really took off. He was absolutely incredible on the restarts there at the end. I don't think our car was a lot better than our competitors at that point, it was all Mark. Just a great win and a great way to start the Chase for us."

GUSTAFSON (ON HIS SUCCESS AT ONE-MILE TRACKS.): "I feel that we've always had a good short-track program. Not just the (No.) 5 (team), but the entire Hendrick Motorsports organization. Those types of tracks require really good chassis setups, which we've done a good job with in the past. Also, it helps that those tracks are really fun to race on. They let the driver get after it. Mark enjoys that style of racing, and he's good at it, too. I think that showed with our wins at Phoenix and New Hampshire last year."

GUSTAFSON (ON WHAT HE WAS DOING IN APRIL 1981.): "Man, that was a long time ago! (LAUGHS.) Let's see, I would have been 5-years-old. I hadn't started school yet, but my Dad had taken me to Daytona a few times to watch the races there. I was a typical 5-year-old, riding my bike and playing with my Matchbox cars."

-source: hendrick motorsports

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