Richmond: Mark Martin preview

RICHMOND WINNER: In 48 career Sprint Cup Series starts at Richmond International Raceway, Martin has earned one win, 17 top-five finishes and 27 top-10s. He went to Victory Lane on Feb. 25, 1990, after starting sixth and leading 16 laps. Martin's...

RICHMOND WINNER: In 48 career Sprint Cup Series starts at Richmond International Raceway, Martin has earned one win, 17 top-five finishes and 27 top-10s. He went to Victory Lane on Feb. 25, 1990, after starting sixth and leading 16 laps. Martin's average finish of 11.8 at Richmond is his fourth-best at any oval track on the circuit.

POLE SITTER: Martin's next Sprint Cup pole position will be the 50th of his career and will place him eighth on the all-time pole winner's list. Martin earned his second career Cup pole at RIR on Sept. 13, 1981 -- his first start at the Virginia short track. Since then, he has scored three additional poles there, including one last September. Martin's average Richmond starting position of 9.9 is tied with Atlanta as his second-best for any oval track on the circuit. He ranks higher at only Pocono Raceway with an 8.7 average starting position.

POINT STANDINGS: The No. 5 team earned its third consecutive top-10 finish when Martin crossed the line fifth at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway last Sunday. The finish advanced the team to sixth in the standings, just nine points behind fifth and 169 points behind leader and teammate Jimmie Johnson.

MOST RECENTLY AT RIR: Martin earned back-to-back top-five finishes at Richmond last season. The No. 5 team started seventh and finished fifth in May. In September, Martin started from the pole and finished fourth.

CLOSER: Martin has gained more positions during the last 10 percent of laps in the last 10 races at RIR than any other Sprint Cup competitor. On average, Martin gains 3.6 positions in the final 40 laps at each RIR race.

THE NO. 5 AT RICHMOND: Under the leadership of crew chief Alan Gustafson, the No. 5 team has posted seven top-five finishes in 10 starts at Richmond. Gustafson earned five straight top-fives in his first five starts at the Virginia short track as crew chief, including runner-up finishes in September 2006 and May 2007.

RICHMOND CHASSIS: Gustafson has chosen Chassis No. 5-561 for Saturday's event at Richmond. Martin drove this car at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway during the short track's last two Cup races, collecting a 21st-place finish earlier this year and an eighth-place finish last October.

MARK MARTIN, DRIVER, NO. 5 HENDRICKCARS.COM/GODADDY.COM CHEVROLET (ON RICHMOND INTERNATIONAL RACEWAY.): "I think it's a favorite of the fans as well as the drivers. Richmond is big enough that you can put a lot of cars out there. It's got great racing room on it, the way the transitions are from straightaway to corner and the banking as well.. You can run multiple lines around the racetrack and it's some of the best racing that we do all year. It's just fun to race there."

MARTIN (ON THE TEAM'S PERFORMANCE DURING THE LAST THREE WEEKS.): "The last three weeks have been huge for this race team. We haven't always had the best car, but we've done the best with what we had and that made the difference. Alan (Gustafson, crew chief) has made all the right calls in all of these races. And to finish in the top five at Talladega, that's just huge. It felt like a win for me. We're on a roll, and we just gotta keep it going."

ALAN GUSTAFSON, CREW CHIEF, NO. 5 HENDRICKCARS.COM/GODADDY.COM CHEVROLET (ON THE TEAM'S SUCCESS AT RICHMOND.): "Richmond is one of our better tracks. The No. 5 team has had a good history of performing well there with a lot of different drivers. It just seems to be a place that we're able to understand well and produce good finishes. It's a great track to race and a place that, if your car is good, you can pass and make your way to the front so that helps, too."

GUSTAFSON (ON THE TEAM'S PERFORMANCE DURING THE LAST THREE WEEKS.): "The past three weeks have been great points races for us. I think having that streak of success gives us a solid foundation to build from going back to those tracks in the Chase (for the Sprint Cup). Making it through Talladega in one piece definitely lightened the work load in the shop, which is a big bonus."

GUSTAFSON (ON MOMENTUM.): "I definitely believe in momentum and the confidence and decisiveness it brings to the team. When the momentum and confidence is there, it allows you to react quicker and have the confidence to know your decisions will pay off. The past three weeks have been huge in building momentum for this team. We took a great car to Talladega and had a great finish, which was a huge relief for us. At Texas and Phoenix, we struggled a bit, but turned the struggle into good finishes. It's nice to know that we, as a team, can make the best out of good and bad situations. It's huge."

-source: hm

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About this article
Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jimmie Johnson , Mark Martin