Richmond: Mark Martin pre-race notes

Martin's History Runs Deep at Richmond Poles, points and victories highlight Martin's storied past at the historical short track MOORESVILLE, N.C. (May 1, 2007) -- Mark Martin, who has enjoyed success with four top-five and six top-12...

Martin's History Runs Deep at Richmond

Poles, points and victories highlight Martin's storied past at the historical short track

MOORESVILLE, N.C. (May 1, 2007) -- Mark Martin, who has enjoyed success with four top-five and six top-12 finishes in six starts this season, is looking to add to his Richmond International Raceway highlight page in Saturday night's Nextel Cup race.

Martin's fondness for Richmond started to take shape in his first race at the three-quarter mile track when he won the pole and finished seventh in the Wrangler 400 on Sept. 13, 1981. It was his first of 379 top-10 career finishes.

Martin's other Richmond highlights include:

*one win along with 13 top-five and 23 top-10 finishes in 43 starts

*with no room for error, finished fifth in the 2004 fall race to clinch spot in the inaugural Chase

*five wins in Busch Series races

*scored record 13th win in the International Race of Champions Series race, September, 2005

*earned 41st career (and currently last) Cup pole in 2001 spring race

"There's a lot of history at Richmond for me," said Martin, who returns to the U.S. Army Chevrolet after taking off last week's race in Talladega as part of his limited 2007 schedule. "It's a fast track and you can really get around it. You can pass and it offers plenty of excitement to both the competitors and the fans. We've had a lot of great runs and battles there."

Martin's most inspired run at Richmond was in the 2004 fall race when he capped a late season rally by finishing fifth and earning a spot in the first year of the Chase for the Nextel Cup. In that race, Martin survived a 360-degree spin in a multi-car accident.

"It was kind of like Joey Chitwood (famous stunt man) out there," Martin recalled. "I was spinning around on the track; cars where everywhere. If anyone so much as made any contact with us, our chances at the Chase were finished. Making that Chase was a really big deal to me. It was the hardest thing I've ever had to do in my racing career. We got so far behind and it was such a fight to get there. It's something that will always stand out."

One of Martin's highest and lowest points at Richmond came after celebrating his victory in the 1990 fall race. In a controversial decision by NASCAR, he was penalized after the win for an illegal carburetor spacer. He was allowed to keep the victory, but was docked 46 points. Martin later lost the championship that season by only 26 points to Dale Earnhardt.

"That was the famous carburetor spacer 46-point deal," said Martin. "I left the racetrack that day on top of the world. By the time I got home I got the devastating news. We went from a real high to a real low and it was a tough time for me. We went on to have a great year, but that penalty turned out to be pretty big for us."

Entering this weekend's Nextel Cup event at Richmond, Martin is ranked 17th in driver points despite missing three races. The combination of Martin and Regan Smith, who shares driving duties in the 01 Chevy, have the Ginn Racing team in fifth place in the owner point standings.

"I would love to add another Richmond highlight as the driver of the U.S. Army Chevrolet," said Martin. "There's going to be a lot of military personnel at the race this weekend and we're going to do everything possible to have the soldiers' car run up front."

-credit: gr

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Regan Smith , Joey Chitwood , Mark Martin