Phoenix: Mark Martin preview

MARTIN TO MAKE COT DEBUT IN PHOENIX After rolling to another top-five finish last weekend at Texas, Martin prepares to make his racing debut in the Car of Tomorrow this weekend at Phoenix. It will be the third COT race for the No. 01 U.S. Army...

MARTIN TO MAKE COT DEBUT IN PHOENIX

After rolling to another top-five finish last weekend at Texas, Martin prepares to make his racing debut in the Car of Tomorrow this weekend at Phoenix. It will be the third COT race for the No. 01 U.S. Army Team, but the first for Martin. Martin did test the COT back in March at Bristol.

Worthy Notes:
* Martin won at Phoenix on Halloween of 1993.
* Martin led 111 laps and had the dominate car of this event last season.

MARTIN AT PHOENIX

Martin will make his 22nd start at Phoenix International Raceway, where he won on Oct. 31, 1993. He has 14 top five and eight top 10 finishes at Phoenix. However, his best finish in two spring races at Phoenix is 11th last season.

THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY

Martin fans will most likely remember last year's spring Pheonix race as 'the one that got away.' Martin's car was clearly the class of the field, leading 111 laps and building as much as a six second lead. A problem in the pits dropped Martin to the back of the field midway though the race, but he was so strong that night driving all the way back to second place before running out of fuel at the end of the race. Even with all the problems, he still finished 11th on the night.

MAKING HIS POINT

Despite the fact that Martin is not running a full schedule in 2007 and he took off races at Martinsville and Bristol, after seven races in 2007 Martin is in 11th place in the Nextel Cup point standings and inside the Chase cut-off mark. In fact, Martin is ahead of 25 drivers who have competed in all seven races and 29 drivers who have started more races in 2007. In addition, Martin and co-driver Regan Smith have the No. 01 in fourth in the Nextel Cup owner standings and in solid contention for an owner's championship.

MARTIN'S ROLL AT GINN CONTINUES

Despite a limited schedule in 2007, Martin started his Cup season with three-consecutive top-five finishes for the first time in his racing career and five straight top 10's . Until joining with Ginn Racing this season, Martin had never started a season with back-to-back top-fives and his second-place finish in the Daytona 500 is also a career best. Martin's three straight top-fives to open the season also marked the first time Martin has scored three consecutive top-five finishes since 2002 and his lead in the points was his first since 2002. He became the oldest driver to lead the points for more than one week and the first driver since 1983 to walk away with the lead.

THE STREAK ENDS

Phoenix will see the end of Martin's streak of what will be two consecutive Nextel Cup starts, as Martin is not scheduled to compete at Talladega in two weeks.

ON PHOENIX:

"I've always enjoyed racing out in Phoenix. I've had some really good runs there over the years and last year in this race I think we had the car to beat and just weren't able to finish the deal. I'm really excited about going there this weekend with Ryan and this U.S. Army Team. This is just an incredible race team here at Ginn Racing. The cars are fast, the pit strategy is brilliant and the guys really get it done on pit road when it counts. You really just couldn't ask for more in a team and it's the best team I've ever worked with.

ON HIS DEBUT IN THE CAR OF TOMORROW:

"I'm not sure what to think going into my first COT race. I was able to test the car at Bristol earlier this year and I think we have our work cut out for us. We were about a 15th-place car at the test, but we've actually raced a lot better this year than we practice, so I guess only time will tell. I haven't really been that big a fan of the COT, but I love working with these guys so much, that I'm looking forward to going there and seeing what we can have. I'm also looking forward to working with the COT program here at Ginn and helping to improve that as we go along."

* Martin has finished inside the top 10 in 66 percent (14) of his Phoenix Cup races.

* Martin won at Phoenix on Oct. 31, 1993.

* Martin has finished inside the top 10 in 12 of the last 17 races at Phoenix.

* Martin has finished second or better in six of 21 races at Phoenix.

* Martin led 111 laps at Phoenix in the spring race last year.

* The race will mark Martin's debut in the Car of Tomorrow.

-credit: gr

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers Regan Smith , Mark Martin