Indianapolis: Mark Martin preview

PREVIOUS BRICKYARD: In the 2009 Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Martin started from the pole position and led 14 laps before finishing second to Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jimmie Johnson. Martin posted a race-best second-place ...

PREVIOUS BRICKYARD: In the 2009 Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Martin started from the pole position and led 14 laps before finishing second to Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jimmie Johnson. Martin posted a race-best second-place average running position during the event and scored the best driver rating of 128.9 out of 150.

RUNNER-UP FINISHES: Martin has narrowly missed winning the famed Brickyard 400 twice. In both of those second-place finishes at Indianapolis, Martin followed a Hendrick Motorsports driver across the line. In 2009, he took runner-up honors behind Johnson. In 1998, Martin scored second behind Jeff Gordon. In both of those years, Martin also finished second to those respective drivers in the championship standings.

ONE OF FOUR: Martin is one of just four drivers who have competed in all 16 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Martin leads the other three -- Gordon, Bobby Labonte and Jeff Burton -- with a 13.4 average finish at the 2.5-mile track.

BRICKYARD STATISTICS: In his 16 races at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Martin has posted six top-five finishes and 10 top-10s. He has led 57 laps and has finished all but one of those events at the historic racetrack.

POLE MAN: Martin's next Sprint Cup Series pole will be the 50th of his career and will rank him eighth on the all-time pole sitter's list. He earned his first pole position at Indianapolis Motor Speedway last year.

NO. 5 AT INDY: Under the leadership of crew chief Alan Gustafson, the No. 5 team has earned two top-five finishes and four top-10s in five starts at Indy. The team scored its best-ever finish of second in last year's Brickyard 400.

POINTS: Although Martin dropped to 14th in the Sprint Cup standings following his 15th-place finish at Chicagoland Speedway two weeks ago, he gained two points on the Chase cutoff and now trails 12th-place Clint Bowyer by 37 points.

FIRST EXPERIENCE WITH THE TEAM: It was at Indianapolis Motor Speedway where Martin first sat in Hendrick Motorsports' No. 5 Chevrolet. In October 2008, Martin and the No. 5 Sprint Cup team participated in a Goodyear tire test at the track.

CHASSIS CHOICE: Gustafson has chosen Hendrick Motorsports Chassis No. 5-550 for Sunday's race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. This is the same chassis that Martin drove to a second-place finish in last year's Brickyard 400.

MARK MARTIN, DRIVER, NO. 5 GODADDY.COM CHEVROLET (ON NARROWLY MISSING WINNING AT INDIANAPOLIS MOTOR SPEEDWAY LAST YEAR.): "I don't usually say that I want to win one race over another, but Indy is different. Well, Indy and the Daytona 500. Of course, those two stand apart from the rest. I was just so grateful, last year, to have a chance at the win. To be up there, racing with 'Superman' (teammate Jimmie Johnson) and having a shot at winning the thing. I gave it everything I had, and honestly those last three laps or so, I'm surprised I didn't wreck. I was definitely putting it over the edge. There's nothing more I could have done. It's hard to be that close and not win, but you also have to be happy that you were there fighting for it."

MARTIN (ON RACING AT INDIANAPOLIS MOTOR SPEEDWAY.): "When NASCAR first started coming to Indy, I thought it was a mistake. I knew what it would mean to the sport to have a race there, but I just didn't think it would happen. I didn't think this type of car, a stock car, would be good on that kind of track. I can honestly say now that I was wrong. I love going back to Indy to race. It's been a tremendous addition to the NASCAR schedule, and I think it's great for all of the stock car fans that NASCAR races on that track."

MARTIN (ON HIS EUROPEAN VACATION DURING THE SPRINT CUP OFF WEEKEND.): "I had a great time over there with (son) Matt and (wife) Arlene. The most amazing thing to me was the architecture and history of the area. There are buildings over there still standing from the 13th century. That is incredible. The human race is so incredibly smart. I'm not sure anything we're building today will still be around in 700 or 800 years. The biggest highlight of the trip was our visit to Stonehenge. It's incredible to look at something and know that it has been standing there for 4,000 years. The entire trip was awesome and something I'll never forget."

ALAN GUSTAFSON, CREW CHIEF, NO. 5 GODADDY.COM CHEVROLET (ON FINISHING SECOND IN LAST YEAR'S RACE AT INDIANAPOLIS MOTOR SPEEDWAY.): "We had a great weekend last year at Indy. We won the pole, which was really, really cool, then had a solid second-place car throughout most of the race on Sunday. Juan Pablo Montoya had the best car, hands down. But he made a mistake and got a speeding penalty, which put us in the lead. At that time, we had a sizeable lead on second place with not many laps left. Then, unfortunately, the (No.) 88 blew up. That's what changed the race for us. Jimmie (Johnson) got us on the restart. I think our car was better than the (No.) 48. Mark chased him down, we just couldn't get past him. It's so hard to pass at Indy, and that really bit us. It was a bittersweet day. It's great to know that you're that good, but hard to finish second at Indy."

GUSTAFSON (ON INDIANAPOLIS MOTOR SPEEDWAY.): "Indianapolis is all about tradition. You can't walk into that place and not think about the motor sports history that started there. Growing up, the Indy 500 was a big deal to me. And when NASCAR tested there in the '90s, I remember thinking that that was huge. To have a stock car on the Brickyard. Incredible. Winning at Indy would be incredible. We almost had it last year, and the idea of kissing the bricks, it really does give me chills. That would be an incredibly special moment in my career."

-source: hendrick motorsports

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Juan Pablo Montoya
Teams Hendrick Motorsports