Pocono: Consistency key for Martin

CONSISTENCY KEY FOR MARTIN DOWN THE STRETCH Mark Martin and the No. 6 AAA Team have finished inside the top-15 in 12 of 13 in 2006 CONCORD, N.C. (June 7, 2006) -- No other driver in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series has been more consistent than...

CONSISTENCY KEY FOR MARTIN DOWN THE STRETCH
Mark Martin and the No. 6 AAA Team have finished inside the top-15 in 12 of 13 in 2006

CONCORD, N.C. (June 7, 2006) -- No other driver in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series has been more consistent than Mark Martin in 2006. In 13 starts in 2006, Martin has finished inside the top 15 on 12 occasions. In fact only an unavoidable accident at Talladega has kept Martin outside of the top-15 in the previous 17 races, dating back to Atlanta last November. This consistency is a major component of what has Martin sitting third in the Nextel Cup point standings as the season rolls into race number 14 this weekend at Pocono.

"We've had really fast cars and pretty good luck," said Martin. "Our luck has actually been up and down, but we've been able to finish races and finish with respectable positions, and that is what it takes to stay where you want in the points. We've had years where we had problems or we couldn't stay out of other people's accidents, and it really puts you behind the eight ball. Hopefully, we'll keep building on what we are doing and get in that chase and then it's a whole new game from there."

That's not to say that Martin and the team have not experienced their share of up and downs in 2006. Martin had cars capable of winning at Daytona, Phoenix, Richmond and Dover, but had to battle back from a various array of adversity. Each time Martin's car ran top-five for much of the race, but had to settle for finishes ranging from 9-12. In fact at Phoenix, Martin led a race-high 111 laps, while clearly exhibiting the fastest car on the race track. The team would battle a mishap in the pits and survive running out of fuel with one lap to go, while still managing to bring home an 11th-place finish, and while not near as grand as a win, the finish helped keep Martin clearly inside the top-10 in the Nextel Cup point standings.

The one factor for Martin and the team is their inability to give up in the face of adversity, and that trait has paid off. At the half-way point of the 'Chase' cutoff, Martin is in third place, 216 behind first, but more importantly 223 points ahead of 10th place with 13 races remaining before the points are cleared and the "Chase" begins.

"Pat (Tryson) and the team have done an outstanding job with the cars this season and the work in the pits continues to improve each week. If we can keep building on this and we can get in that Chase, then hopefully we can make some noise in those final 10 races."

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Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Mark Martin