Daytona II: Mark Martin preview

ONE OF FOUR: Daytona International Speedway is one of just four active tracks where Martin has yet to earn a points-paying NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victory, joining Pocono Raceway, Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Homestead-Miami Speedway. Martin...

ONE OF FOUR: Daytona International Speedway is one of just four active tracks where Martin has yet to earn a points-paying NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victory, joining Pocono Raceway, Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Homestead-Miami Speedway. Martin made his only trip to Daytona's Victory Lane in the exhibition Budweiser Shootout on Feb. 7, 1999. The NASCAR veteran started 13th and went on to lead 16 laps in the 25-lap affair.

HOMETOWN CREW CHIEF: Martin now lives in Daytona Beach, but his crew chief, Alan Gustafson, also considers the area home. Gustafson grew up in Ormond Beach, just seven miles north of Daytona International Speedway. After graduating from nearby Seabreeze High School, he enrolled at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, which is located less than one mile east of the track. Gustafson's one Daytona victory came in the July 2007 NASCAR Nationwide Series event.

POINTS: Martin is 11th in the Sprint Cup standings after finishing 21st last weekend at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. He is just 79 points back of 10th-place Greg Biffle.

CHASSIS CHOICE: Gustafson has chosen Hendrick Motorsports Chassis No. 5-560 for Saturday night's race at Daytona. It is the same chassis that Martin drove to a 12th-place finish in the 2010 Daytona 500 and most recently to a fifth-place finish at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway in April.

GUSTAFSON HONORED: Gustafson will be the guest of honor Wednesday evening at the Stewart-Marchman-Act Foundation Dinner at the Daytona 500 Club in the infield of Daytona International Speedway. Martin will introduce his crew chief and friend before Gustafson speaks. The dinner will be followed by a silent auction to raise money for the Stewart-Marchman-Act Foundation. For more information, visit www.s-mf.org.

MARK MARTIN, DRIVER, NO. 5 CARQUEST AUTO PARTS/GODADDY.COM CHEVROLET (ON LOOKING FOR HIS 50TH POLE POSITION.): "I know. We've been waiting all year for that one, right? After earning the most poles last season, and then starting this season with the Daytona 500 pole, it looked like that one would happen pretty quickly. But, really, this year we've been concentrating on our finishes rather than our starts. And they both play hand-in-hand. Track position is really important, even more important now than it's ever been before. We haven't given up on qualifying by any means, don't get me wrong. But race trim and getting our car good for race day is the most important thing for us right now. That pole is coming, though. Who knows, maybe we'll get No. 50 this week."

MARTIN (ON WINNING AT DAYTONA.): "I honestly don't even think about having not won yet when I go to Daytona, or any of the tracks I've never won at. Instead of looking at the negative side of it, I look at it more on the other hand. I'm grateful for the tracks I have managed to win at in my career. Rather than expecting to win, like I'm owed that, I feel more fortunate to have the success I have had. Things that I've earned, you know? Hopefully I will win at Daytona one day, but I don't focus on the fact that I haven't won there when we're there."

MARTIN (ON REPAVING DAYTONA.): "I think it will be interesting, to say the least. Anytime a track gets new pavement, it's really, really fast. I think it will likely lend itself to big packs and more wrecks like Talladega does. I don't know, for sure, if that will happen with Daytona. We'll have to see when we test there in January."

ALAN GUSTAFSON, CREW CHIEF, NO. 5 CARQUEST AUTO PARTS/GODADDY.COM CHEVROLET (ON THE OPPORTUNITY TO GAIN POINTS AT DAYTONA.): "It's a high risk-reward racetrack . The risk of an accident is larger there than at other tracks, but if you can avoid that and get a good finish, the reward could be quite a bit higher, especially if your competitors get caught up in a wreck. There can be a big points swing there. Of course, you don't want to bank on that. You just have to be smart and try to take care of your business. You just try to exploit your opportunities."

GUSTAFSON (ON HOW THE TEAM PREPARES FOR THE HEAT AND HUMIDITY OF DAYTONA.): "Currently our pit crew is going through heat training, which is a really good way for them to acclimate their bodies to the heat. It's one of those deals where you know you're going to have to face it; you know you're not going to be comfortable either way. It's just a matter of getting your body used to it. We could go all summer and train indoors and then go to the racetrack, and it's just a huge shock to your body. Mentally it's a distraction more so than physically. Mentally you have to get prepared for it. You're out there in the heat, you're sweating and you don't give it any thought, whereas if you're not prepared for it, you're just thinking about how hot it is. If you're worried about how hot it is, then you're not going to perform."

GUSTAFSON (ON BEING HONORED BY THE STEWART-MARCHMAN-ACT FOUNDATION.): "It's very flattering they chose me. I don't know that I would have chosen me. But it's cool, and I want to make the most of it. The way I look at it is if I can do what I love to do -- racing -- and I can take what I do and use it as a tool or a vehicle to assist somebody else so their life can be better, then that's awesome. I don't think you can ask for anything more. And to have Mark introduce me is neat. I've got a great relationship with Mark, and for him to be one of the people there, that's going to be a big draw for the foundation. It's not every day you get to have someone as accomplished as him do that for you."

-source: hendrick motorsposts

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Greg Biffle , Mark Martin
Teams Hendrick Motorsports