MARTIN, U.S. ARMY TEAM EXPERIENCE TOUGH OUTING AT MICHIGAN BROOKLYN, Mich. (Aug. 21, 2007) -- One of the longestweekends in NASCAR history culminated in a frustrating endingfor Mark Martin and theU.S. Army Race Team. Running in the 16th...
MARTIN, U.S. ARMY TEAM EXPERIENCE TOUGH OUTING AT MICHIGAN
BROOKLYN, Mich. (Aug. 21, 2007) -- One of the longestweekends in NASCAR history culminated in a frustrating endingfor Mark Martin and theU.S. Army Race Team.
Running in the 16th position just prior to the half-way point of Tuesday's Nextel Cup race at Michigan International Speedway, Martin's 01Army Chevrolet began to smoke heavily, bringing out the third caution of the race.
Martin and the team were forced to take the car behind the wall to repair a broken rear seal in the engine. The crew worked on the car for approximately one hour before Martin returned to the track. Buta fewlaps later,Martin's day came to an end on Lap 170 of 200 when the engine let go.He finished 42nd.
"We had a pretty good car today and it was just starting to come backto us when we started smoking," said Martin. "Wehad a lot of power in the engine, but had aproblem with a seal somewhere. It was just anunfortunate incident."
In a race that was delayed twodays due torain, Martin started 10th based on Friday's qualifying effort. With the race conditions much different than they were for the final practice on Saturday, Martin started the race tight. The team made adjustments to loosen the car's handling on Lap 31.
With the car too loose in the corners, Martin fell back toq7th before the car's handling started to come around. He moved into the top 15 by Lapw3. But on Lap 88 the car started to smoke, ending any hopes of another strong finish for the veteran driver.
"I do have to mention the effort of this U.S. Army Team today," added Martin. "The stats won't show it and most people will never know how much those guys had to workand get the problemfixed for me to get back out there. They never had a defeatist attitude -- just like our soldiers."
The 01 Army/Dale Earnhardt Inc team dropped to 13th in the owner point standings. The team is 43 points shy of being in 12th place,which is theChase cutoff. There are threeraces remaining before the Chase for the Nextel Cup begins Sept.q6 at New Hampshire International Speedway.