Las Vegas: Mark Martin race report

Martin Maintains Points Lead with Third Consecutive Top-Five Finish LAS VEGAS (March 11, 2007) -- Mark Martin claimed his third straight top-five finish with a fifth-place result in Sunday's Nextel Cup race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The...

Martin Maintains Points Lead with Third Consecutive Top-Five Finish

LAS VEGAS (March 11, 2007) -- Mark Martin claimed his third straight top-five finish with a fifth-place result in Sunday's Nextel Cup race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The finish continued Martin's best career start in 20-plus years of Cup racing.

The U.S. Army driver, who is in his first season with Ginn Racing, maintained his lead in the driver point standings. He holds a six-point margin over second place Jeff Gordon. Jeff Burton is third, 42 points behind Martin.

"A dream, just a dream," said Martin when asked to explain his hot start to the 2007 season. "I was just telling Ryan Pemberton that he is one of the best I have ever worked with -- what a strong crew chief."

"The U.S. Army Chevy was fantastic," continued Martin. "We were looking like a third place car but then on the (final) restart the car picked up a real bad push. It was a great run -- I am so proud of this team. I am having the time of my life driving this car. It's going to be hard to get out of it."

Martin started the race 14th and dropped back to 19th early as he worked to feel out the track's newly repaved surface. However, with a fast racecar and sound pit strategy, Martin drove to the front and was in second place by Lap 24 of 267. He would virtually run in the top 10 for the remainder of the race.

"We had a better car than fifth," explained Martin. "I couldn't run with those first two -- (Jeff) Gordon and (Jimmie) Johnson. I'm thrilled to get a top five when we weren't at our best at the end. It's really a privilege to work with these guys and represent our brave soldiers. I am just loving life."

Martin was also pleased with how the race unfolded considering the concerns about the track.

"It wasn't as as bad as I expected," said Martin. "I expected it to be one of the most painful days on the racetrack that we've had. The drivers did a fabulous job and they were very careful around each other."

When asked by a reporter if he ever imagined the season would be going this well, Martin replied, "When we made the announcement in Talladega in October I saw a lot of headlines like 'Why Mark, Why' ? I believed this was the place for me and I am really happy I made the move. This is a fantastic organization. It isn't as good as it's going to get. We're going to keep working. I think they want me to hang around for a long time and I like that because I love racing and I love the fans and I'm having the time of my life."

Martin was also asked the obvious question if he still plans to not drive in Bristol in two weeks.

"No change yet," replied Martin, who has now run in 620 consecutive Cup races. "We made this deal, they made the deal and Bobby Ginn told me a deal was a deal.

Martin will continue in the 01 car next Sunday (March 18) when the circuit will be at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

-credit: gr

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jeff Burton , Jeff Gordon , Mark Martin