Talladega: Mark Martin preview

TALLADEGA WINNER: Martin is a two-time winner at Talladega Superspeedway. In April 1995, he started third and took the win over now-teammate Jeff Gordon. Two years later, Martin started 18th and beat Dale Earnhardt Sr. across the line. Martin also...

TALLADEGA WINNER: Martin is a two-time winner at Talladega Superspeedway. In April 1995, he started third and took the win over now-teammate Jeff Gordon. Two years later, Martin started 18th and beat Dale Earnhardt Sr. across the line. Martin also has 10 top-five finishes and 22 top-10s at the 2.66-mile track.

POINT STANDINGS: With a sixth-place finish at Texas Motor Speedway on Monday, Martin and the No. 5 GoDaddy.com team advanced to 10th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship standings. Martin is just 34 points outside the top five.

HENDRICK HISTORY: For the first time in the organization's history, Hendrick Motorsports has four drivers ranked in the top 10 in the Sprint Cup championship standings. After Monday's race at Texas, Jimmie Johnson leads the group in first, while Jeff Gordon is fifth, Dale Earnhardt Jr. is seventh and Martin is 10th. Hendrick Motorsports expanded to a four-car team in 2002.

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.

SUPERSPEEDWAY HISTORY: Martin has made 94 career superspeedway starts in Sprint Cup competition at Talladega and Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway. The veteran driver has earned a combined two wins -- both at Talladega -- 19 top-five finishes and 39 top-10s. He has completed 15,005 laps between the two tracks and has led 575 of those.

SEASON-TO-DATE LOOP STATS: Although 10th in points, Martin is ninth in average running position amongst all Cup competitors after eight races this season. He also holds the third-best average mid-race running position during that timeframe.

NO. 5 TEAM AT TALLADEGA: In 10 races under the leadership of crew chief Alan Gustafson, the No. 5 Hendrick Motorsports team has earned one top-10 finish -- a seventh-place result in April 2008 -- at Talladega Superspeedway.

SUPERSPEEDWAY CHASSIS: Gustafson has chosen Hendrick Motorsports Chassis No. 5-561 for Sunday's race at Talladega Superspeedway. This chassis never has been raced or tested.

***

MARK MARTIN, DRIVER, NO. 5 GODADDY.COM CHEVROLET (ON TALLADEGA SUPERSPEEDWAY.): "Well, last year I came into this track with the mindset that, 'This is going to be a good race. The odds are with us on this one. Not every race can go wrong for us here.' I was wrong. We ended up on our roof, which was the worst outcome I've ever had (at Talladega). So, I just come in with no feelings either way. Is it my favorite place to come to? No. But feeling one way or the other isn't going to change anything. I just want to finish the race. And finish in a good position. No wrecking. That would be a good outcome."

MARTIN (ON BEING UPSIDE DOWN LAST NOVEMBER AT TALLADEGA.): "There may have been another time in my career that I was upside down, but if there was I don't remember it. I always thought I would never live through going upside down. Not because of the wreck but because I thought I would have a heart attack from sheer fear! (LAUGHS) Truth be told, it happened so fast that I didn't even realize I was upside down until I was back on my tires."

MARTIN (ON LUCK.): "We had winning cars at Martinsville (Va.) and Bristol (Tenn.) and ended up with finishes that were way lower than we deserved. Then we get to Phoenix and Texas and struggled with the handling all night long. Alan (Gustafson, crew chief) made great calls at the end of both of those races and we ended up with top-10 finishes. I'm not a fan of the word 'luck,' but I know it comes into play. And I need one more week of being lucky. That's what matters at Talladega. Luck. And I just need to be lucky again on Sunday."

ALAN GUSTAFSON, CREW CHIEF, NO. 5 GODADDY.COM CHEVROLET (ON THE TEAM'S LAST TWO FINISHES.): "The last two weeks have been huge for this race team. Like last year, we had three races in a row that really cost us in points. A late-race wreck in Atlanta, another one at Bristol and then the pit road penalty in Martinsville. That just killed our momentum and left us digging out of a hole we didn't need or want. I watched all the guys on the team really dig in. We have adopted this never-give-up attitude, and it's really shown the last two races. We couldn't afford another bad day, especially in points. So combating our issues and getting two top-10s was a must for us."

GUSTAFSON (ON BEING PREPARED FOR TALLADEGA.): "Talladega is so tough because anything can happen there. The key to being completely prepared is knowing what you can and cannot control. We just have to keep ourselves out of as many compromising situations as possible. That's not always possible. But that's the mindset going in. You have to keep control of what you can."

GUSTAFSON (ON LUCK.): "I'm not a believer in luck at all. There is a lot of work and effort that gets you to one given spot or place in time. I understand where some things or events may look like luck played a role, but usually it's the way you handle the circumstance and opportunities that are given to you. If you take those opportunities and handle them better than the competition, then you get the better outcome. It's not luck. It's making the best out of every possible situation."

-source: hm

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Dale Earnhardt Jr. , Jeff Gordon , Jimmie Johnson , Mark Martin
Teams Hendrick Motorsports