Martin Vows To Go Down Fighting in Chase For Top 10 Martin, No. 6 Viagra (sildenafil citrate) Team have used past two races to cut 90 points off distance to 10th CONCORD, N.C. (August 24, 2004) -- Mark Martin does not care to talk a lot about...
Martin Vows To Go Down Fighting in Chase For Top 10
Martin, No. 6 Viagra (sildenafil citrate) Team have used past two races to cut 90 points off distance to 10th
CONCORD, N.C. (August 24, 2004) -- Mark Martin does not care to talk a lot about the current race to make the top-10 in the Nextel Cup points race. In fact, Martin tends to shy away from commenting on his team's chances to crack the top 10 by the end of the next three races.
"You know this whole thing is silly," said Martin. "We shouldn't even be talking about this stuff. The way this race team has run this year we should be somewhere in the top five, not worrying if we can make the top 10.
"The bottom line is that this is a top-five race team and we've ran that way for several weeks to prove it. I can't make sure the engine holds up and we can't keep air in the tires, but we've ran top five week-in and week-out. I'd rather have runs like I've had this year, strong runs like we had at Watkins Glen and Michigan and even Indy, Chicago and Pocono, than to ride around in 14th all day and be in that top 10.
"I've always said that's why I race," added Martin. "Because I love to be competitive. I love to run up front and to pass cars and to be in a position to win races and we've done that several times this year, despite all of the rotten luck we've had."
Martin may not care to elaborate much about the race for the top-10, but his actions on the track have helped put him back within striking distance of making the field of 10. When Martin lost his tire on the last lap -- running third -- of the Brickyard 400 three weeks ago, it seemed to put an end to the momentum he had built going into that race. The lost tire dropped Martin to a very disappointing 24th -place finish and dropped him to 15th in the point standings, and 123 points outside of 10th. Just seconds earlier Martin was listed on the TV monitor as close as 40 points outside of 10th.
True to fashion Martin and the Viagra* Team battled back, fighting to a third-place finish at Watkins Glen and a second-place run at Michigan to cut the deficit to only 33 points with just three races remaining at Bristol, California and Richmond.
"Don't get me wrong," said Martin. "We plan to go down swinging in this thing. We aren't going to go out and get all hyped up and set up for heartbreak, but we are not about to give up without a fight either."
Martin's season has been full of up and downs. Martin started the season in 43rd place, after losing his engine only seven laps into the Daytona 500, but battled back, picking up 31 places to 12th over the next four races. Problems with an defunct oil line at Martinsville dropped Martin from a top-five run to a 34th -place finish and all the way down to 18th in the points.
Once again the team rallied, using top-10 runs at Talladega and Richmond to move back up to 12th in the standings, only seven points outside of 11th place heading into the Coca-Cola 600. Martin was headed to a top-five finish at Charlotte, when he lost both of his ignition boxes, losing several laps and dropping to a 36th place finish. The malfunction dropped Martin all the way back to 15th in the points.
Again the team rallied immediately, winning the following week in Dover. The win moved Martin back into 13th place and the team seemed on a roll moving into Pocono, where Martin was running seventh when he lost his engine just past the halfway point of the race. The setback dropped Martin back to 14th. The following week the bad luck continued, with a transmission failure on the first lap of the race. The team replaced the transmission but not before Martin had lost enough laps to drop him to a 34th -place finish an to 16th in the points.
The back-to-back failures put Martin 205 points outside of 10th place and it looked like Martin's chances of making the top-10 had came to an abrupt halt.
However, with their backs firmly planted against the wall, Martin, Pat Tryson and the No. 6 Team dug down deep for their best work of the year. Back-to-back top 10 finishes at Sonoma and Daytona moved Martin back to 14th in the points, 156 points outside of 10th place heading into Chicago with one of his best cars of the season.
Martin looked poised for a big points day at Chicago, exhibiting one of the fastest cars in the field, and running in third place with only three laps remaining, when an engine failure dropped him to a 24th place finish. Still, Martin was so strong that day, while he dropped one place in the standings to 15th, he picked up 18 points on 10th place.
Again the team would rebound, and after a second place finish two races later at Pocono, Martin was back up to 13th place, and only 89 points outside of 10th place as they confidently headed to Indianapolis. The team was once again on its game at Indy, as Martin sported one of the fastest cars on the track. In fact after 400 miles of the Brickyard 400, Martin was in fourth place. However Martin lost his front-left tire on the final lap of a green-white-checkered and dropped to a 25th place finish.
Once again Martin had dropped to 15th in the points and his chances at the top-10 again looked dead in the water. However, the Viagra* Racing Team refused to give up as Martin came back with the back --to-back top three runs at Watkins Glen and Michigan to put Martin back to within 33 points of the top 10; his closest margin to the top-10 since going into the Daytona 500.
"It's been an up and down process for sure," said Martin. "But all we can do is just keep coming back. We have had great cars and we've been able to run up front. That is what we are looking to do. We are going to go out and try to win races and the rest will fall where it falls. If that gets us in that top-10 then that is great and if it doesn't well then we are still going to go out and try to win every race. That's what we do and we'll keep doing that until the last checkered falls in Homestead in November, regardless of what any points list says."
Four races ago Martin was 192 points outside of top-10 and not much was being made of his chances to crack the top-10. Four strong runs and three top-three finishes later Martin is once again knocking on the door.
"I want to go down slugging as hard as I can," said Martin. "If that doesn't work out, then I don't want to be broken-hearted. I've had enough of those.
"I don't car what the points say," added Martin. "I know this is one of the best teams in the business and nothing can take that away from us."
Roush Racing is a subsidiary of Livonia, Mich., based Roush Industries that operates nine motorsports teams; five in NASCAR Nextel Cup with drivers Mark Martin, Matt Kenseth, Kurt Busch, Greg Biffle and Carl Edwards; two in the Busch Series with Martin, Kenseth and Biffle, and two in the Craftsman Truck Series with drivers Jon Wood and Edwards. For sponsorship inquiries please contact John Miller at Roush Racing at 704.720.4600.