Homestead: Mark Martin preview

POINTS BATTLE: Mark Martin, driver of the No. 5 Kellogg's/CARQUEST Chevrolet, will be the only driver with a shot at points leader Jimmie Johnson once the green flag waves Sunday at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Martin trails his Hendrick Motorsports...

POINTS BATTLE: Mark Martin, driver of the No. 5 Kellogg's/CARQUEST Chevrolet, will be the only driver with a shot at points leader Jimmie Johnson once the green flag waves Sunday at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Martin trails his Hendrick Motorsports teammate by 108 points. Should Martin lead the most laps and win the race, Johnson would have to finish 26th or worse for Martin to win his first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship.

MARTIN AT HOMESTEAD: Homestead-Miami Speedway is one of just four active tracks on the Sprint Cup circuit where Martin has not yet earned a win. In nine Cup starts at the 1.5-mile oval, Martin has posted four top-five finishes, including the runner-up spot in the 2005 Sprint Cup finale. In Martin's last three races at Homestead, he has spent almost 70 percent of the time (558 of a possible 802 laps) inside the top 15.

LAST TIME AT HOMESTEAD: Martin, who ran part-time schedules in 2007 and 2008, did not compete in the final race of the 2008 Sprint Cup season at Homestead. In 2007, he drove his Chevrolet to a ninth-place finish, scoring his fifth top-10 result at the intermediate track.

OF THE CHASERS: Martin has the second-most top-five finishes (four) at Homestead-Miami Speedway and the fourth-best average finish (12th) of all drivers in the Chase.

LOOP STATISTICS: During the past four races at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Martin's average running position of 12.6 is the third-best of the drivers inside the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship. Martin has earned the fourth-best driver rating of 91.6 among all drivers inside the Chase during those same four races.

LAPS LED: Martin has led 805 laps in his first season with Hendrick Motorsports. He has not led this many laps in a single Sprint Cup season since 1998, when he paced 1,730 of them. Martin finished second in the Sprint Cup point standings that year to his now teammate Jeff Gordon.

THE NO. 5 AT HOMESTEAD: Since 2005 and under the leadership of crew chief Alan Gustafson, the Kellogg's/CARQUEST team has earned one top-10 finish in four Homestead starts. The team started 12th and finished eighth in the 2008 Sprint Cup finale.

DOUBLE WINNING CHASSIS: Gustafson has chosen Chassis No. 5-527 for this weekend's event at Homestead- Miami Speedway. This is the same chassis that Martin drove to Victory Lane at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway in May and Chicagoland Speedway in July.

HENDRICK AT HOMESTEAD: Homestead-Miami Speedway is the only racetrack on the current Sprint Cup schedule where Hendrick Motorsports has not won a race. The organization, which will wrap up its 25th anniversary season this weekend, has recorded eight top-five finishes and 16 top-10s in 10 Cup events (39 starts) there.

MARK MARTIN, DRIVER, NO. 5 KELLOGG'S/CARQUEST CHEVROLET (ON THE CHAMPIONSHIP BATTLE.): "Anything can happen, but it really doesn't change anything for me. I'm going to go to Miami on Sunday and race my guts out trying to win that race. And everything else that happens is out of my control. I'm not worried about the championship. I'm not worried about points. I just want to win the race and end this season with a good night for Rick (Hendrick, team owner), Alan (Gustafson, crew chief) and all the guys on this Kellogg's/CARQUEST team."

MARTIN (ON RACING THE FULL 2009 SEASON.): "I'm honestly surprised at how fast this year went by. It seems like just yesterday I was at Daytona (Fla.) getting to know these guys and settling into this car for the first time. Everyone at Hendrick Motorsports -- everyone --has made this season a dream come true for me and my family. It starts from the top, and Rick (Hendrick) has made sure that I enjoyed this season. And I have. I've enjoyed every minute of it. I'll actually look forward to getting back into the car again in Daytona."

MARTIN (ON TEAMMATE JIMMIE JOHNSON.): "Jimmie is the man. There's so much that that guy does that people don't even know about. He's as dedicated as anyone I've ever seen, maybe more so. There's a reason I call him Superman, ya know? Whatever happens Sunday is how it was supposed to. And I will have no shame should I finish second to that guy. If he wins, it's because he outscored us. And that's what a points deal is about. They would have scored the most points, and we wouldn't have. And I will be one of the first guys to say that he deserves it. He has done what it takes and it shows."

ALAN GUSTAFSON, CREW CHIEF OF THE NO. 5 KELLOGG'S/CARQUEST CHEVROLET (ON SUNDAY'S RACE AT HOMESTEAD-MIAMI SPEEDWAY.): "I'm really looking forward to the race this weekend. Homestead is a great racetrack, and I love the area. I just want to get after it. There's been a lot of buildup, and I'm ready to get out on the track and get it started. Winning at Homestead on Sunday would be a big deal for a lot of reasons. Ending your season on a high note is always good and it makes the offseason more bearable. Hendrick Motorsports has never won at Homestead, and anytime this (No.) 5 team can help Mr. (Rick) Hendrick accomplish a goal or set a record, we definitely want to be a part of that. Mark has never won there either. We've checked Chicago and New Hampshire off his non-winning track list earlier this year, so it would be nice to get another one of those for him. And for me, personally, I'm from Florida, and I've never won a Sprint Cup race in that state. I've been trying to for a long time and have been close, but have never quite gotten it done, so that would be really important to me, too."

GUSTAFSON (ON HIS FEELINGS AS THE 2009 SEASON ENDS.): "The sky was and is the limit for this race team. When I found out Mark Martin was going to be driving our race cars, I knew we could accomplish anything. We've had low spots and high spots, which have definitely outweighed the lows. This team has worked hard. We've been well prepared for every race and that helped us to execute the way we wanted to. Mark is just fantastic. He's been a pleasure to work with, more so than I ever imagined. It's been a career year for me and this race team. I've been blessed. I've enjoyed all of it. I'm not going to treat this race as though it's the end of anything, though. We have next year, too, and I honestly can't wait to get that started. It's going to be great."

GUSTAFSON (ON PREPARING FOR THE 2010 SPRINT CUP SEASON.): "We've been looking at the 2010 season for six months or so. You never stop. Rome isn't built in a day. It takes a lot to get to where we're at. A lot of effort and planning and preparation. We've had to have our 2010 plans rolling for a long time now or we wouldn't get them done. We would go to Daytona unprepared. I've been planning hard for two months. Tossing around ideas for over four months. That's nothing new. That doesn't detract from 2009. That's normal business. You just constantly try to prepare."

-credit: hm

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jeff Gordon , Mark Martin
Teams Hendrick Motorsports