Texas: Mark Martin preview

Martin 'Charged Up' After Short Hiatus U.S. Army driver returns to track after taking two races off FORT WORTH, Texas (April 11, 2007) -- After taking nearly one month off from the NASCAR circuit, Mark Martin will return to competition ...

Martin 'Charged Up' After Short Hiatus
U.S. Army driver returns to track after taking two races off

FORT WORTH, Texas (April 11, 2007) -- After taking nearly one month off from the NASCAR circuit, Mark Martin will return to competition this weekend at Texas Motor Speedway.

Martin, who led the Nextel Cup driver point standings after the first four races, stuck to his plan of running a limited schedule for Ginn Racing in 2007 by sitting out the Bristol and Martinsville events.

The short hiatus has the U.S. Army driver fired up and ready to do battle again in NASCAR's elite division.

"I'm charged up and ready to represent our soldiers again," said Martin. "The break was truly wonderful. I was doing just exactly what I wanted to do. One weekend I got to go racing with Ricky Carmichael and my son Matt. Another weekend I was with my two-year-old grandson. I also had friends over for a cookout to watch the last two Cup races. It was like developing and opening a new chapter in my life."

With the new chapter open, Martin is now ready to continue where he left off in his No. 01 U.S. Army Chevrolet.

Martin earned three consecutive top-five finishes to start the season, followed by a 10th-place result at the fourth race in Atlanta. He was the only driver to record top-10 results in the first four Cup events and it marked his best start of his 25-year racing career.

The early performances allowed Martin to walk away from full-time Nextel Cup racing with the point lead. In fact, Martin's start was so impressive that despite not running in the last two races, he is still 15th in the standings.

"That's kind of wild," said Martin. "I spent my entire career fighting to be up there in the top-15 or so and now I see that the best way to do it is just not to show up (laughing). Actually, we just had some great runs -- thanks to some good luck, fast cars, great pit strategy and excellent pit stops."

"I get e-mails from many of our soldiers and that really inspires me to put their car in Victory Lane," added Martin. "Driving the soldiers' car is an awesome responsibility. I want to make every soldier proud of their 01 U.S. Army Chevrolet."

Based on past performances at the 1.5-mile Texas oval, there's a good chance that Martin will continue to have success in the 01 machine. He won at Texas in April of 1999 and was runner-up in the 2005 fall race.

Martin will also make his second Busch start of the season this weekend. He boasts three wins and one pole in seven Busch starts at Texas. One of the three Busch wins was at the 1997 inaugural event.

-credit: gr

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About this article
Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers Ricky Carmichael , Mark Martin