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MARTIN AT ACS: Mark Martin will make his 18th NASCAR Sprint Cup Series start at Auto Club Speedway on Sunday. In 17 previous attempts, Martin has earned one win (May 3, 1998), five top-five finishes and eight top-10s. He has led 278 laps at the ...

MARTIN AT ACS: Mark Martin will make his 18th NASCAR Sprint Cup Series start at Auto Club Speedway on Sunday. In 17 previous attempts, Martin has earned one win (May 3, 1998), five top-five finishes and eight top-10s. He has led 278 laps at the two-mile racetrack.

MOST RECENTLY AT ACS: In this race one year ago, the No. 5 team suffered engine trouble and finished 40th. In the fall, the team bounced back to finish fourth at Auto Club Speedway during the 2009 Chase for the Sprint Cup championship.

LOOP STATISTICS: Martin ranks sixth in both average running position and average finish in the last 10 Sprint Cup races at Auto Club Speedway. Due to his part-time schedules in 2007 and 2008, Martin competed in just eight of those 10 races.

POLE SITTER: Martin picked up where he left off in 2009, earning the pole position for the Daytona 500 last week. Martin's seven poles last year were a career-best and the most of any Cup competitor last season. He never has earned the top spot at Auto Club Speedway, and it is one of only six tracks where he has yet to lead the field to green. The next pole that Martin earns will be the 50th of his career and will rank him eighth all-time.

FIRSTS FOR GUSTAFSON: Crew chief Alan Gustafson earned his first career pole position at Auto Club Speedway in February 2005. On Sept. 4 of that same year, Gustafson returned to the track and earned his first career Sprint Cup victory.

NO. 5 TEAM AT FONTANA: Under the direction of Gustafson, the No. 5 team has earned one victory, three top-five finishes and five top-10s in 11 starts at Auto Club Speedway. The team has led 220 laps on the two-mile track.

POINT STANDINGS: Martin sits 11th in the standings entering the second race of the Sprint Cup season. He trails 10th place by six points and the leader by 58.

WINNING CHASSIS: Gustafson has chosen Hendrick Motorsports Chassis No. 5-523 for Sunday's race. Martin drove this chassis five times last season, including to Victory Lane at Michigan International Speedway in June.

GROUNDBREAKER: With a Camping World Truck Series win in 2006 at Auto Club Speedway, Martin became the first NASCAR driver to win a Sprint Cup, Nationwide, Camping World and IROC Series race at the same track.

NEW TEAM MEMBER: Lee Deese, lead engineer on the No. 5 team, welcomed his first child, daughter Emily, to his family on Monday, Feb. 15. Both Emily and mother, Heather, are doing well.


MARK MARTIN, DRIVER, NO. 5 GODADDY.COM CHEVROLET (ON GETTING THROUGH THE DAYTONA 500.): "It's no secret that I'm not a fan of restrictor-plate races. We got through that one. And in one piece. And with a decent finish. Twelfth isn't what we look for as a great finish each week, but to start the season like that, we're relieved. I was relieved."

MARTIN (ON RACING AT AUTO CLUB SPEEDWAY.): "This is when we get back to real racing. It doesn't matter which line you're in or who bumped who, or who your drafting partner is. I'm excited about it. I'm ready to get back there with the team and see what we can do."

MARTIN (ON REPAVING DAYTONA INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY.): "I truly hope they don't repave Daytona. The speeds will be incredible, and the wrecks will be even worse. And there will be more of them."

MARTIN (ON THE GREEN-WHITE-CHECKERED FLAG RULE.): "I'm not really a big fan of it, but the fans definitely are. It just gives us more chances to wreck, and you saw that in the end of the Daytona 500. We have to keep the fans happy, though, and I'm sure they enjoyed the end of that race."

ALAN GUSTAFSON, CREW CHIEF, NO. 5 GODADDY.COM CHEVROLET (ON GETTING PAST THE DAYTONA 500.): "That was a long two weeks. A lot of things happened. We wrecked two cars. We got the pole. A lot of ups and downs. The situations and positions we were put in, I feel like, all things considered, we didn't put ourselves in a hole. Obviously we'd like to have run better and finish better. The Daytona 500 is a race you really want to win, but at the same time I don't think we hurt ourselves. We may have overachieved, but when you see a 12th-place finish, you don't feel that way."

GUSTAFSON (ON THE TEAM'S PAST PERFORMANCE AT AUTO CLUB SPEEDWAY.): "This has always been a great track for us. We've had a lot of success there. We should be a threat to win the race. The interesting thing about it is that this is the first race that everybody has worked on over the offseason to make improvements to their intermediate stuff. This is the first bread-and-butter race so to speak. This is where you see where you really stack up. It will be interesting."

GUSTAFSON (ON THE GREEN-WHITE-CHECKERED FLAG RULE.): "From the racers' standpoint, and the crew chiefs' standpoint, and the standpoint of fairness, I don't think it's the correct thing to do. But from the standpoint of the fans and the entertainment value and giving them a return on their investment for a ticket, it is the right thing to do. At the end of the day, that takes precedence over competitive fairness. I understand that and am fine with it. I think it could give guys opportunities to win the race who have not necessarily earned the opportunity. We all knew them (the rules) going in. At the end of the day, I'm glad they did it. They needed to to give those fans the Daytona 500 they deserved."

GUSTAFSON (ON POSSIBLY REPAVING DAYTONA.): "I don't like it. I don't want them to repave it. It's a hard track to get figured out and run well at and to handle all the situations with speed, pulling up, drafting, handling and getting over the bumps. There's so many variables. You have to tie that all together to get the perfect package, which is impossible. You have to make compromises, and it's so much fun. It gives you the opportunity to overachieve or excel, and it gives the drivers the opportunity to shine. If they repave it, the majority of those characteristics will be gone. It will be purely based on speed until the track gets wore out and that's no fun. But, at the same time, we can't afford to have 90-minute track delays. We can't afford that. We can't do that to our fans. I'd like to think there's a happy medium to where we can fix the issue but leave the character of the track, but I don't know if that's feasible. I'm not a track owner, but if it makes sense to pave it to where we don't run into that issue again, then that's what we have to do."

-source: hm

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Mark Martin
Teams Hendrick Motorsports