Talladega II: Mark Martin preview

POLE SITTER: Martin's next Sprint Cup Series pole position will be the 50th of his career and will place him eighth on the all-time pole winner's list. Martin has started from the top spot twice at Talladega, both times in 1989. NO. 5 TEAM AT ...

POLE SITTER: Martin's next Sprint Cup Series pole position will be the 50th of his career and will place him eighth on the all-time pole winner's list. Martin has started from the top spot twice at Talladega, both times in 1989.

NO. 5 TEAM AT TALLADEGA: In 10 races under the leadership of crew chief Alan Gustafson, the No. 5 team has earned one top-five finish and two-top-10s. The team scored its career-best fifth-place finish most recently in April at Talladega.

CHASSIS CHOICE: Gustafson has chosen Hendrick Motorsports Chassis No. 5-577 for Sunday's restrictor-plate race. This chassis never has been raced or tested.

MARK MARTIN, DRIVER, NO. 5 GODADDY.COM CHEVROLET (ON LAST WEEK'S RUNNER-UP FINISH AT MARTINSVILLE.): "That was fun. Some of the most fun I've had all year, and I'll tell you, halfway into the race, I thought it was going to be the worst, longest day of the year. I knew all weekend that we had a good race car, but man, those last 200 laps or so, we were a rocket. Although we suffered some setbacks, Alan (Gustafson, crew chief) made the right calls and really kept me and the team pumped up and positive. The guys fixed the car really good. To be that fast and just pass all of those cars -- good cars -- it just felt incredible. That's what I do this for -- that feeling."

MARTIN (ON TALLADEGA.): "Talladega -- everyone knows how I feel about this racetrack. It's a total crap shoot. A clench-the-steering-wheel-and-hope-for-the-best mentality, because you can either win or end up upside down, like we did last year in a split second. It's madness. Controlled at times, and sometimes not. I just want to get through it. I want to get a good finish for this race team. We finished fifth here in the spring, and that, to me, is like winning at Talladega. We've got a good restrictor-plate program and fast race cars. So we'll just try to stay out of trouble and cross the finish line with a clean race car and hopefully a good finish."

ALAN GUSTAFSON, CREW CHIEF, NO. 5 GODADDY.COM CHEVROLET (ON STRATEGY AT TALLADEGA.): "I don't like to forecast our strategies to the world, but there's no reason to take unnecessary risks. You can be a maverick or a cowboy or whatever you want to be and beat the doors off of your car all day long, and you may make it. I just don't think that's the smart thing to do. You have to have the car to get there and be on the lead lap. You can't be wrecked in the garage. We don't have anything to lose, but we still want to get the best finish we can get. We want a chance to race for the win. That's our objective. How we get there will change throughout the race. Your strategy has to change as the race changes, and you have to evolve with it."

GUSTAFSON (ON GOING TO THE BACK TO BE SAFE.): "We study that strategy constantly and how it works out. It's very situational. You can interpret the numbers any way you want to. I have my opinions. Mark (Martin, driver) has his. We'll do what we think is the best thing for our team that will put us in the best position to win. If you can lead every lap, statistically that's the best place to be. But that's difficult to do."

GUSTAFSON (ON LAST WEEK'S RUNNER-UP FINISH AT MARTINSVILLE (VA.) SPEEDWAY.): "Every week's finish is a big deal. Finishing second is a big deal, but that's not as big of a deal to me as how we got there. Being able to go through all that we did -- two laps down, struggling with brake issues from the drop of the green flag -- to manage the race that well and to overcome the obstacles as well as we did was a huge accomplishment. There are very few times you can finish a race and say, 'We got everything we could out of that race. This is as good as a result as we were going to get.' I feel like we did that last Sunday. It's a great feeling. Almost every other time I've had that feeling we've won. But I had that feeling after Martinsville. I felt that everyone on this team achieved and performed at their maximum level with the situation we were given. Obviously we need to work on the brake issues, and we want to qualify better, but when that green flag dropped until the checkered waved, our team achieved maximum performance."

-source: hendrick motorsports

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