ACHING MARTIN SHOWS TRUE GRIT AT BRICKYARD TEST INDIANAPOLIS, July 13, 1999 -- It was only testing, but Mark Martin didn't take a holiday. His wrist, leg and rib injuries suffered two weeks ago in a practice crash at Daytona ...
ACHING MARTIN SHOWS TRUE GRIT AT BRICKYARD TEST
INDIANAPOLIS, July 13, 1999 -- It was only testing, but Mark Martin didn't take a holiday. His wrist, leg and rib injuries suffered two weeks ago in a practice crash at Daytona International Speedway would have put most people in the hospital, according to Jimmy Fennig, chief mechanic on Martin's Valvoline Ford. Instead, Martin has driven in two straight races though he's aching up and down his body. And Tuesday he was at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway testing his Jack Roush-owned machine for the sixth Brickyard 400 on Aug. 7. "He's remarkable," Fennig said. "He's that tough." Martin is in the thick of the NASCAR Winston Cup points race. His gutsy run from 37th to sixth Sunday at New Hampshire kept him in third place in the standings. He lost only 15 points to leader Dale Jarrett, who placed fourth. Jarrett has a commanding 2,839-2,599 advantage over second place Jeff Burton, who won at New Hampshire. Martin is just nine points behind Burton. "We needed that run," Martin said as he rested his injuries between practice runs. "I was very discouraged with the finish that we had at Daytona and extremely discouraged with the way we started at New Hampshire. The result was OK, but the effort was A-plus by this team as a whole, as a group." During "Happy Hour" practice at Daytona, his car suddenly darted straight into the wall. He suffered a broken wrist, knee and rib. Despite these injuries, he climbed gingerly into his car on race night, started third but then faded to 17th in the final standings though he completed all 160 laps. Driving hurt is nothing new for Martin, who won the first IROC at Indy race last July 31 to clinch the championship. Back in 1980 when he was 21, driving in ASA and living in Indiana, he crashed and broke his left foot and ankle in four places as well as fracturing his right ankle. "I was only out 30 days," he said. "Came back and set on the pole in Canada and finished second. Then we came up to Milwaukee and won the race the next week. "I was younger and not as beat up as this. I'm beat up all over right now." Martin said he doesn't make any compensation to drive with injuries. He said the pain has been excruciating. "At Daytona, it was enough to make you cry," he said. "It didn't hurt too bad at New Hampshire. We just do the best that we can. "It hurts today, though. I'd really like to go home and lie down ... but I haven't had a chance to yet." Martin has driven in all five Brickyard 400s, with finishes of 35th, fifth, fourth, sixth and second. He is fifth in money winnings with $748,720. Last year was his best chance to win. He was poised behind Jeff Gordon set for a three-lap shootout following a yellow. But a four-car accident on the restart brought the race back under caution, and all Martin could do was cruise home in second place as Gordon won for the second time in five Brickyard races. Afterward, Martin said he didn't have enough car to pass Gordon, but he probably could have caught him before the finish. But Martin doesn't classify the Brickyard as a special race that he prefers to win. "I particularly would like to win everyone of them, every race I run," he said. "And that's how I feel about them. I know that's a big disappointment to a lot of people to hear me say, but I don't pick one particular race and say that's it and if I don't win that I'm going to die, and I win all of the rest of them I'm not happy. "I'm just not that way. I try my hardest in every race I run. It doesn't matter where it is or what's at stake." Martin says the key to winning the Brickyard is no different than any other non-restrictor plate race - have a fast car through the corners, good straightaway speed and good track position. Still, he considers the Brickyard as one of the bigger races of the season. "It is," he said. "It pays the most money. And that's one way of measuring the importance of things." When questioned about catching Jarrett for that ever-elusive championship, twice he said, "I don't know." Then he added, "It might be easy. I don't know. It might be impossible. I don't know." One thing is certain. He won't be lost it for lack of trying. He has finished in the top six each of the last 10 years, finishing second last year. "This is what I do," he said. "If giving up was something that I did, I wouldn't be here today."
BRICKYARD 400 NOTEBOOK
Sign here, please: NASCAR Winston Cup standout John Andretti will sign autographs at Brickyard Authentics in the Circle Centre mall in Indianapolis from 6:30-7:30 p.m. July 19. *** Event schedule: The sixth annual Brickyard 400 starts at 12:15 p.m. (CDT) Aug. 7. Pole qualifying starts at 1:30 p.m. Aug. 5. Qualifying for starting positions 26-36 begins at 1 p.m. Aug. 6.
The first practice session will take place from 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m. (CDT) Aug. 5. Practice continues from 4-4:45 p.m. Aug. 5 and 9:30-noon Aug. 6. Final practice takes place from 2:15-3:15 p.m. Aug. 6. *** Broadcast schedule: The Brickyard 400 will be broadcast live on ABC and the Indy Racing Radio Network at 1 p.m. (EDT) Aug. 7. ESPN's prerace show starts at noon Aug. 7, while the Indy Racing Radio Network prerace show starts at 12:30 p.m. Aug. 7.
ESPN will televise pole qualifying live from 2:30-4 p.m. (EDT) Aug. 5. ESPN2 will offer live pole qualifying coverage from 4-5 p.m. Aug. 5 and live second-day qualifying from 1-2 p.m. Aug. 6.
The Indy Racing Radio Network will broadcast live pole qualifying coverage from 2-4 p.m. (EDT) Aug. 5. Qualification wrap-up shows will be broadcast from 6-6:30 p.m. Aug. 5-6. The "Brickyard Live" talk show will be broadcast from 9-10 p.m. Aug. 4-5.
ESPN and ESPN2 also will provide thorough coverage of Brickyard 400 practice and race previews Aug. 6. Highlights of "Happy Hour" practice will be shown on ESPN2 from 6-7 p.m., while the "Before They Go Green" preview will be shown on ESPN from 7:30-8:30 p.m. *** Tuesday's Ford testing speeds (Ford testing to continue Wednesday): Car # Driver Lap Time Lap Speed 88 Dale Jarrett 50.236 179.154 99 Jeff Burton 50.488 178.260 6 Mark Martin 50.500 178.218 28 Kenny Irwin Jr. 50.637 177.736 12 Jeremy Mayfield 50.807 177.141 11 Brett Bodine 50.970 176.574 2 Rusty Wallace 50.971 176.571 10 Ricky Rudd 51.119 176.060 77 Robert Pressley 51.193 175.805 16 Kevin Lepage 51.322 175.363 97 Chad Little 51.331 175.333 9 Jerry Nadeau 51.425 175.012 75 Ted Musgrave 51.428 175.002 14 Boris Said 51.528 174.662 66 Darrell Waltrip 51.549 174.591 26 Johnny Benson Jr. 51.642 174.277 32 Mike Wallace 51.690 174.115 23 Jimmy Spencer 51.770 173.846 58 Hut Stricklin 51.889 173.447 98 Rick Mast 52.034 172.964 75 Ted Musgrave 52.225 172.331 94 Bill Elliott 52.380 171.821 21 Elliott Sadler 52.381 171.818 90 Stanton Barrett 52.889 170.168 48 Andy Hillenburg 53.238 169.052 61 Bob Strait 53.870 167.069 80 Gary Bradberry 54.128 166.273 62 Jeff Davis 54.679 164.597