Dover: Mark Martin preview

FOUR-TIME WINNER: Martin's four Sprint Cup wins at Dover International Speedway tie it with Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway for his second-most at any racetrack and trail Michigan International Speedway, where he owns five victories. Martin picked...

FOUR-TIME WINNER: Martin's four Sprint Cup wins at Dover International Speedway tie it with Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway for his second-most at any racetrack and trail Michigan International Speedway, where he owns five victories. Martin picked up his first three wins at the Dover concrete oval from 1997-1999. He started from the pole position in the first two -- September 1997 and September 1998 -- and led the most laps in each event on his way to Victory Lane. In September 1999, Martin led a race-high 161 laps to earn his third victory. In his most recent win, Martin led 19 laps in June 2004 before taking the checkered flag.

DOVER DOMINATION: Martin's 22 top-five finishes at Dover are a personal career best at any track for the 51-year-old veteran. His 30 Dover top-10s rank second only to Pocono Raceway, where he has 32. During his 47 starts at Dover, Martin has led a career-best 1,720 laps.

MONSTER MARTIN: Martin's 22 top-five finishes and 30 top-10s at Dover lead all active Sprint Cup drivers. His 25 lead-lap finishes are the most all-time at the Monster Mile.

MOST RECENTLY AT DOVER: Martin posted top-10 finishes in both Sprint Cup races at Dover in 2009. He finished 10th last June and then drove the No. 5 Chevrolet to a runner-up finish in the second race of the 2009 Chase for the Sprint Cup in September.

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. He has earned four career poles at Dover, which ties it with Richmond (Va.) International Raceway as the second-most of any active track for Martin. He has earned nine pole positions at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway.

POINT STANDINGS: Martin and the No. 5 GoDaddy.com team remain 10th in the Sprint Cup championship standings, 37 points behind ninth place and 265 behind the leader after finishing 16th last weekend at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway.

THE NO. 5 AT DOVER: Under the direction of crew chief Alan Gustafson, the No. 5 GoDaddy.com team has competed in 10 Sprint Cup races at Dover International Speedway, earning five top-five finishes. In 2005, Gustafson's first year as crew chief, the team scored back-to-back runner-up finishes at Dover and led 90 laps in the spring event. Gustafson again led the team to a runner-up finish last September.

DOVER CHASSIS: Gustafson has chosen Chassis No. 5-600 for Sunday's race at Dover. This is a brand new chassis that never has been raced or tested.

MARK MARTIN, DRIVER, NO. 5 GODADDY.COM CHEVROLET (ON DOVER.): "I love this place. I get excited when I know we're coming to Dover. This is just one of those places that, man, it's just so much fun to drive on. It's one of those tracks that just instantly clicked with me. I loved it from the first time I saw it. And it helps that I've always run well here, too. It's just a really cool racetrack. This is definitely one every NASCAR fan should go see live."

MARTIN (ON THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN RACING ON CONCRETE AND ASPHALT.): "Well, let me first say that they're incredibly different. Concrete is much more consistent. We don't worry as much about the change in weather when we're racing at Dover, because it really doesn't affect the track at all, which is great. But when you lose grip on a concrete surface, you feel like you just got cut loose from a rope. It's amazing. It's like losing half of your grip, rather than about 20 or 30 percent that you lose on asphalt. That's probably another reason they call this track the 'Monster.' As a driver, you have to man-handle the car so much more on concrete. I would normally say that I like asphalt better, but I absolutely love Dover. Even with it being concrete, it doesn't take anything away from how great this place is."

MARTIN (ON LAST YEAR AT DOVER.): "Oh, man. When we went to Dover in June, our practices were just awful. I remember Alan and I being on SPEED channel that Friday night and it was like we were both almost embarrassed to be on there. We were that bad. But, like this No. 5 team always does, they made some changes before the race and we got a not great but solid top-10 finish out of it. When we went back in the fall, we were ready. Our car was a rocketship all through Saturday's practice sessions. When we got into the race, though, we were just a tick, and I mean a tick, off on the start of runs. We were great still in the long run, but just slightly off at the start. That's what put us in second, rather than winning the race."

ALAN GUSTAFSON, CREW CHIEF, NO. 5 GODADDY.COM CHEVROLET (ON SETTING UP A CAR FOR CONCRETE VERSUS ASPHALT.): "The concrete surface is usually more bumpy of a surface than asphalt is due to the expansion joints where the concrete blocks meet up. The concrete also seems to be more consistent throughout the weekend, because it doesn't change as much with rubber build-up and temperature. The way we set up the car is not based on the track surface, but on the track configuration. So the concrete surface plays no real role in setup."

GUSTAFSON (ON HOW PIT ROAD PLAYS A ROLE AT DOVER.): "Pit road is all about the ability to gain track position. That's the key, and Dover is no different. The pit road is much better since they have redone it last year, but still can be very treacherous. The difficulty still lies in getting onto pit road, kind of like Darlington, because of the way the driver has to enter into Turn 3 really early. The banking is steep, and the quick transition onto the flat surface -- it's hard to get out of people's way. But again, Dover's pit road is a lot better than it used to be."

-source: hm

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Mark Martin