Richmond II: Mark Martin preview

Richmond Shootout Up Next For Martin Martin used yet another impressive third-place finish at California - his third top-three in the last four races - to jump inside the top-10 for the first time in 2004. On a roll, the team has posted four ...

Richmond Shootout Up Next For Martin

Martin used yet another impressive third-place finish at California - his third top-three in the last four races - to jump inside the top-10 for the first time in 2004. On a roll, the team has posted four top-three finishes in the past six races, as they head into Richmond for the final showdown before the cutoff point. Martin needs a finish of third or better to guarantee his spot in the 10-race playoff for the championship.

Chassis Number: (RK-264) - The team will run RK-264 this weekend at Richmond. This will be the first run for RK-264, which tested to pleasing results last week at Richmond.

Worthy Note: Martin won the pole and finished seventh in his first ever Cup run at Richmond in the Wrangler 400 on 9/13/81.

IN THE POINTS - BACK IN THE TOP 10 WITH ONE MORE TO GO TO PLAYOFF

With only one race remaining before the cutoff, Martin has clawed his way into the top-10. He is currently nine points out of ninth place and 20 points outside of eighth. Martin, who trailed 10th by 123 points and was in 15th place just four races ago, is currently 25 points ahead of 11th and 56 points ahead of 15th. In addition, Martin is only 424 points outside of first place, just 24 points outside the 400 point cutoff point.

ON THE MARK AT RICHMOND

Martin is no stranger to the .75-mile track at Richmond. He was strong there from the word go, winning the pole and finishing seventh in his first race there in 1981. He's won once in the Cup car, while taking home five victories in the Busch series. He has finished in the top seven in four of the last five there, including a seventh-place finish last Spring. The team tested last week at Richmond and were please with the results of the test session.

WHITE LIGHTNING UP FRONT

Martin will again run the reverse paint scheme this week at Richmond. Martin has run the night race scheme in seven races this year (counting the All-Star), recording top-10 finishes on five of the seven occasions, including a victory at Dover.

RETURN TO RICHMOND BUSCH RACE

Martin will run the No. 9 Pennzoil Ford in Friday night's Busch race at Richmond. It will be Martin's 22nd Busch start at Richmond, where he has five wins, 13 top-five and 17 top-10 finishes.

QUOTING MARK AND PAT ON RICHMOND

MARK MARTIN

"Richmond is a great race track and I've always enjoyed racing there. They put in a new surface before the spring race this year and they did a great job with that and it allowed for some really good racing in the spring. We tested there last week in both the Cup and Busch cars and I really like where we are going into this race.

"The agenda is the same as always - we are going to go out and try to win the race. It's hard to say what will happen with the top-10 but I know that if we do that, we'll be in good shape. No matter what happens it can't take away from what this race team has been able to do this year. If we get in, then we'll go after it. If not, we are going to try to win some more races just the same, but we'll know more about all that about midnight Saturday night."

PAT TRYSON

"We are taking a new car with us to Richmond this weekend. We tested it at Richmond last week and were pretty quick, so we are excited about going back there. Richmond is a good track for Mark. We've had to really fight hard to get to this point, so we are planning on putting together another strong run to secure our place in that top 10. I know Mark's up for the challenge, so it's our job know make sure we give him a good enough car on Saturday to finish the deal."

Mark Martin Fast Facts - RICHMOND

* Martin has finished ninth or better in 16 of his past 24 races at Richmond.

* Martin has won once at Richmond in the Cup car (2/25/90) and four times in the Busch Series.

* Martin has posted 11 top-five and 21 top-10's in 39 Cup races at Richmond.

* Martin finished seventh in his first career race at Richmond (9/14/81) and seventh in the last race there earlier this year.

* Martin has finished third or better in three of the last four and four of the last six races.

* Martin moved inside the top-10 for the first time of the season with his third place finish at Fontana.

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Series NASCAR-CUP