Sonoma: Mark Martin preview

MARK MARTIN, DRIVER, NO. 5 GODADDY.COM CHEVROLET (ON HIS 1989 ACCIDENT AT INFINEON.): "The first time I went to Sonoma it was back in 1989, we made a pit stop that was supposed to be for gas only. When I left, though, I turned to go up the hill...

MARK MARTIN, DRIVER, NO. 5 GODADDY.COM CHEVROLET (ON HIS 1989 ACCIDENT AT INFINEON.): "The first time I went to Sonoma it was back in 1989, we made a pit stop that was supposed to be for gas only. When I left, though, I turned to go up the hill and the right-rear tire flew off. I spun and turned over. I didn't know, right away, if I had done it or what had happened. We weren't supposed to change tires, but it turned out that the guy ran out there and took all the lugnuts off the right-rear tire. So the tire just flew off. We got back out there and ended up finishing the race. Pretty crazy day for sure."

MARTIN (ON THE IMPORTANCE OF ROAD COURSES.): "Back when I first started racing, no one seemed to take the road course races too seriously. It was almost like a couple of weekends that you just 'got through.' But today, all the teams take it very, very seriously. You can't afford to have even one off day. The series is a lot more competitive now, and everyone's more on their game. Back in the '90s, only about half as many teams were as competitive on road courses as there are now."

MARTIN (ON LAST YEAR AT INFINEON RACEWAY.): "Infineon is a very demanding course and a demanding race. I think it's difficult for all oval racers. I hadn't been out there for three years until last season, and we struggled a bit. We didn't qualify like I wanted to, and then, halfway through the race, we got caught up in an accident with Matt (Kenseth). Our rear axle was bent, and we couldn't do much with it. Ended up with a much worse finish than we deserved, for sure. This team, all of Hendrick Motorsports, has put a lot of emphasis on its road course program since last season. I'm anxious to get on the track and put it to use."

ALAN GUSTAFSON, CREW CHIEF, NO. 5 GODADDY.COM CHEVROLET (ON HOW THE TEAM HAS WORKED ON ITS ROAD COURSE PROGRAM.): "We've done a lot of on-track road course testing. We knew that the team, all of Hendrick Motorsports, needed to improve its road course program. It's something we put a lot of emphasis on since last season. I feel like we've made improvements, but we won't really know until we're out there on the track with other competitors."

GUSTAFSON (ON INFINEON RACEWAY VERSUS WATKINS GLEN INTERNATIONAL.): "The biggest difference is really the average speed. The speed is so much higher at Watkins Glen. Infineon is slower, more technical. Forward drive off of the corners is more of an issue out there. The surface is a little slicker at Infineon, too, so it's harder to get the car to get in the track. It slides around a lot more in Sonoma than it does at Watkins Glen."

GUSTAFSON (ON ROAD COURSE RACING.): "I enjoy road course racing. I don't think these style of cars are very well suited for it, but it's fun. A very big challenge. These heavy cars don't like to change direction very well, so that makes it difficult, but it's still a lot of fun. If NASCAR wanted to add more, I wouldn't be against it, but I don't think there's a real need to have more on the schedule."

-source: hm

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Mark Martin
Teams Hendrick Motorsports