Michigan: Mark Martin race report

Tough Day For Martin at Michigan; Finishes 29th BROOKLYN, Mich. (June 17, 2007) -- Mark Martin and the U.S. Army Team finished 29th Sunday at Michigan International Speedway. It was their toughest outing of the season. "This was a difficult...

Tough Day For Martin at Michigan; Finishes 29th

BROOKLYN, Mich. (June 17, 2007) -- Mark Martin and the U.S. Army Team finished 29th Sunday at Michigan International Speedway. It was their toughest outing of the season.

"This was a difficult day," said Martin. "But the guys on the U.S. Army Team really hung in there. We were behind the eight ball from the start, but nobody gave up and we just kept working with the car all day. We weren't able to do much with it, but I'm proud of the effort all the same."

"I just wish we could have had a better finish for the Army's 232nd birthday," added Martin. "But I know it's an effort that our soldiers can be proud of. We didn't get the result, but nobody gave up."

Despite missing three races, Martin is 13th in driver points and the 01 Ginn Racing team remains fifth in owner points.

Martin started the race 15th, but fought an extremely tight race car in the beginning - losing 23 positions in the first 25 laps of the race.

The team was able to tighten the car during the first two pits stops, and with better handling, Martin battled his way back into the lucky dog position, earning back his lap when the second caution was issued on Lap 69 of 200.

Martin climbed back inside the top 20 by lap 79, but the U.S. Army team was hit with a dose of bad luck when the race's fourth caution was called on Lap 114, just four laps after the team pitted under green. Once again, Martin found himself a lap down.

With the car still struggling, the team tried a series adjustments, including massive wedge and track bar changes. They even changed the car's right-front shock.

"It just wasn't there today," said Martin. "We're a much better team -- we all know that."

Martin will take off the next two Nextel Cup races -- once again handing the wheel of the No. 01 U.S. Army Chevy to Regan Smith -- before returning to Nextel Cup action on July 7 at Daytona International Speedway.

Smith will be in the 01 car at next week's road race at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif.

-credit: gr

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Series NASCAR-CUP