Martin Caps Strong Weekend with Top-10 Finish in Wild Race at Daytona DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (July 5, 2008) -- Mark Martin capped off a strong weekend at Daytona International Speedway with a 10th-place finish in Saturday night's Coke Zero 400. The...
Martin Caps Strong Weekend with Top-10 Finish in Wild Race at Daytona
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (July 5, 2008) -- Mark Martin capped off a strong weekend at Daytona International Speedway with a 10th-place finish in Saturday night's Coke Zero 400. The U.S. Army driver started on the outside of the front row after posting his best qualifying lap at Daytona since 1990. Martin's No. 8 Army Chevrolet was fast during the race, running the majority of the 400-mile event inside the top five.
A barrage of cautions littered the final 20 laps of the race, hurting Martin's chances for a top-five finish. But the Dale Earnhardt Inc. veteran was able to avoid several accidents and post a solid top-10 finish.
"That was a really strong effort by this No. 8 U.S. Army Racing Team," said Martin. "These guys gave me a great car tonight and I'm really sorry that I wasn't able to give them a better finish than this. We just got hung out there that one time and then there were so many accidents that we were never able to get back to the front where the car was more than capable of running.
"There at the end, it was just caution after caution and we were pretty lucky to be able to avoid all of them. I would have liked to have given this team, the soldiers and everyone at DEI a little better result. This was easily a top-five car tonight."
Martin fell back to 15th early in the race after getting trapped leaving his pit box. However, one of the best restrictor-plate drivers in NASCAR history, Martin patiently worked his way though the draft, powering his No. 8 Chevy all the way back to second position by Lap 55 of 160.
He had his No. 8 Impala SS running as high as fifth with only four laps remaining, but lost ground just before the 10th caution on Lap 156.
With the majority of the cars on older tires and with the race having seen six cautions in the final 30 laps, Martin was able to patiently avoid several multi-car accidents and move to what was his 17th career top-10 finish at Daytona International Speedway.
Martin and the No. 8 U.S. Army/Dale Earnhardt Inc. team will return to action Saturday night (July 12) at Chicagoland Speedway. Martin has never won at Chicagoland, but boasts three top-10 finishes in seven career starts.