CORNELIUS, N.C. — Mark Martin has a special seat reserved for Saturday night’s 34th-annual Budweiser Shootout at Daytona that kicks off the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup season. The 1999 race winner will sit atop Michael Waltrip’s pit box. Waltrip will drive the No. 55 Aaron’s Dream Machine with plans to give Toyota its first victory in the 75-lap, non-points race. Martin, who is sharing the No. 55 with Waltrip in 2012, has work of his own to do this weekend as his team prepares for single-car qualifying at 1 p.m. on Sunday (Fox) for the Feb. 26 Daytona 500.
MARTIN ON BUD SHOOTOUT: “I’m going to put on my Aaron’s shirt, a radio headset and climb right up there on the pit box with (crew chief) Rodney (Childers) and watch Michael race. I’ll be rooting him on, but who knows, maybe I’ll get on the radio with him. There’s a lot we can learn from Saturday night’s race that we can apply to the Thursday qualifying races and the Daytona 500. Every little bit you learn helps.”
SINGLE-CAR QUALIFYING: “We’ll get about four hours of practice on Saturday to work on what we’ll have for Sunday. There’s not much you can do as a driver when you are out there on qualifying runs by yourself. It’s all car at that point. You want to do well Sunday, but you can’t lose sight of the bigger picture and that is getting your car ready to run in the pack when they drop the green flag for the Duels and the Daytona 500.”
· Mark Martin will race the No. 55 in 24 races plus the All Star race in 2012. Waltrip will drive the No. 55 in the Shootout plus six races including all the remaining restrictor plate events. MWR will fill the remaining races with a driver to be named later.