Martinsville: Mark Martin preview

MARTINSVILLE WINNER: Mark Martin is a two-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race winner at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway. In April 1992, he started 14th and led 33 laps on his way to Victory Lane. In April 2000, he overcame a 21st-place starting...

MARTINSVILLE WINNER: Mark Martin is a two-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race winner at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway. In April 1992, he started 14th and led 33 laps on his way to Victory Lane. In April 2000, he overcame a 21st-place starting position to earn his second Martinsville win.

CARQUEST BACK: CARQUEST Auto Parts, a major sponsor on the No. 5 team since 2005, will be back on the hood of the No. 5 Chevy this weekend at Martinsville. The red, white and blue paint scheme will be featured in a total of eight races this season.

POLE SITTER: Martin's next Sprint Cup pole position will be the 50th of his career and will place him alone in eighth on the all-time pole winner's list (he currently is tied with Bobby Isaac). Martin has started from the front row in 95 of his 763 career Sprint Cup starts.

FIRST TOP-FIVE: Nearly 29 years ago at Martinsville, Martin earned his first career Sprint Cup top-five finish. Martin started fifth and finished third at the paper-clip oval driving the No. 02 entry in 1981, his first year of Cup competition. Martin followed Darrell Waltrip and Harry Gant across the finish line.

MARTIN'S VILLE: In 44 career Sprint Cup starts at Martinsville, Martin has earned two wins, 11 top-five finishes and 23 top-10s. He's led a total of 319 laps there.

LAST YEAR AT MARTINSVILLE: Martin scored top-10 finishes in both Martinsville Cup races last year, his first season with Hendrick Motorsports. He finished seventh in the spring and followed that with an eighth-place finish in the fall.

NO. 5 TEAM AT MARTINSVILLE: Under the leadership of crew chief Alan Gustafson, the No. 5 team has earned three top-five finishes and eight top-10s at Martinsville. The team has led a total of 127 laps there with Gustafson at the helm.

HISTORICAL NOTE: Driving a No. 5 Chevrolet at Martinsville, Geoff Bodine recorded Hendrick Motorsports' first-ever Cup win on April 29, 1984. Overall, the No. 5 team has earned one win, 12 top-five finishes, 22 top-10s and five pole positions in 52 events at the short track.

HENDRICK AT MARTINSVILLE: Hendrick Motorsports is the winningest active team at Martinsville with 18 victories and trails Petty Enterprises all-time by just one win. Hendrick also leads all teams in laps led with 6,524 at the short track. Hendrick has 18 wins, 55 top-five finishes and 89 top-10s in 52 events (158 starts) at Martinsville Speedway.

POINT STANDINGS: Martin ranks 16th in the Sprint Cup standings after finishing 33rd and 35th in the last two events. The team, which was 31st in points at this time last season, is just 22 points outside the top 12.

CHASSIS CHOICE: Gustafson has chosen Hendrick Motorsports Chassis No. 5-561 for the race in Martinsville this weekend. Martin drove this chassis to an eighth-place finish at Martinsville last fall.

TESTING: The No. 5 team tested the new Sprint Cup spoiler at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway on Tuesday and Wednesday. It also tested the new package last week at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway.

FAN APPRECIATION DAYS: Martin will host his sixth annual open house at the Mark Martin Museum in Batesville, Ark., on Thursday, April 1 from noon to 6 p.m. local time and Friday, April 2 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Martin will sign autographs both days, while Darrell Waltrip will sign at 1 p.m. on Thursday, and Tony Stewart will sign at 3 p.m. on Friday.

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MARK MARTIN, DRIVER, NO. 5 CARQUEST/GODADDY.COM CHEVROLET (ON THE RETURN OF THE SPOILER.): "I like the spoiler, and I'm really happy NASCAR decided to make that change. With the spoiler, it looks like a race car. It looks like how NASCAR cars looked from back when I started. Aside from that, I think the racing will get better and better, too. I think the addition of the spoiler will make the cars race in packs together better and it will make passing easier, too. I'm really excited to get the spoiler back on the car this weekend."

MARTIN (ON TURNING THE TEAM'S RESULTS AROUND.): "The past two races have been hard pills to swallow. First, at Atlanta, we had a car that wasn't so great in the beginning of the race. The guys on this race team never gave up, really dug in and turned that car around. We went from running about 35th to having a top-seven or eight car. Then we get in a wreck not of our doing. That was a tough one. At Bristol (Tenn.), we had a winning race car. From the get-go, I knew that was a car capable of contending. And again, we end up in the garage area. It's frustrating. It's a part of the sport that you know is there, but you still get frustrated when it happens to you. The good thing is that we have had great race cars. The team has given me a top-five car every weekend this year. That's the point we need to focus on."

MARTIN (ON HIS UPCOMING FAN DAYS.): "This is a really important deal to me. The fans are so, so important to this sport, and to me and my career, too. I'm also really glad that I can bring some of these racers, NASCAR champions, to a small town in Arkansas. This year, my buddy Darrell (Waltrip) is coming out and Tony (Stewart) is coming again. He comes every year. The fans just love him. It's a great time. Both days are really laid back, and I have the opportunity to just talk with the fans about the sport, about the old days, and all that good stuff."

-source: hm

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About this article
Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers Darrell Waltrip , Tony Stewart , Harry Gant , Mark Martin
Teams Hendrick Motorsports