Mark Martin will retire at the end of this season with one million extra dollars in his bank account. Martin held off the hard charging Ford of Elliott Sadler to win the Nextel All-Star Challenge at Lowe's Motor Speedway. "I told them if they...
Mark Martin will retire at the end of this season with one million extra dollars in his bank account. Martin held off the hard charging Ford of Elliott Sadler to win the Nextel All-Star Challenge at Lowe's Motor Speedway.
"I told them if they give me a ride I will come back next year," said Martin. "After winning this thing, I'll tell ya' I just want to thank Viagra. We've been together seven years and have an awesome relationship. I want to thank them for doing this retro 1993 paint scheme.
"It was up there tonight like it was always supposed to be.I want to thank everybody that supports us.it's just a terrific opportunity to drive for Pat Tryson and all these guys. I just love them."
Martin won the first segment but was sent to sixth on the restart in segment two after the field was inverted. Martin wasn't a factor for the second segment win (which went to Newman) but after a first lap crash in the third segment; Martin was able to bump past Sadler on the restart for the lead.
Once out front Martin easily steered the No. 6 Roush Ford to victory lane, making him the oldest winner ever of the event at 46. It is Martin's second career win in the All-Star race.
"This one's for the fans, salute to you," said Martin to the crowd in victory lane.
Elliott Sadler had to settle for second.
"Two tires was the right decision," said Sadler. "I had a great car tonight; my guys gave me a car good enough to win. It's just tough, it's hard to swallow. I had a great time racing Mark Martin, he's an awesome champion and an awesome race car driver.just spun the tires too much on the restart.
"When he got out front I just couldn't run him back down."
The Hendrick stable of drivers complete the top five with Brian Vickers in third followed by Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson.
"We were back there working on our race car all night," said Johnson. "We made some good adjustments. I am pretty happy to come back for the 600 we learned a lot tonight. I have to give props to Mark Martin tonight, I hope I grow up and can be like him someday."
Segment One (40 laps, mandatory green flag pit stop)
Brian Vickers won the Nextel Open earning a spot in the All-Star event and the fans voted in Martin Truex, Jr. to complete the field for the annual event.
Ryan Newman started on the pole but after a round of mandatory green flag pit stops, Elliott Sadler took a commanding two-second lead over the field. A yellow for debris with ten laps to go bunched the field for the restart which allowed Mark Martin to grab the lead from Sadler.
Just as Martin took the lead with four laps remaining a melee broke out mid- pack collecting nine cars. Joe Nemechek got loose and Tony Stewart, Kevin Harvick, Martin Truex, Jr., Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Kasey Kahne, Michael Waltrip, Carl Edwards and Terry Labonte.
"I am still hot," said Nemechek. "Kevin Harvick thinks he owns the world and he ain't squat. It wasn't my fault, somebody tried to make it three wide coming off the corner.he thinks he owns the racetrack but he ain't squat."
The race was red-flagged for 15 minutes for NASCAR to clean up the race track.
When the field restarted Martin easily completed the last green flag lap to win $75,000 as the winner of segment one. Sadler and Greg Biffle finished second and third.
Six cars were selected to be inverted sending Brian Vickers to the pole alongside Newman for segment two.
Segment Two (30 laps)
After a ten minute intermission, Vickers' brought the field to the green flag but Newman rocketed past the No. 25 Chevy for the lead on the first lap. Newman stayed out front the entire thirty laps easily winning the second segment.
Segment Three (20 laps)
A caution between segments two and three allowed cars to pit if they chose and the entire field of thirteen cars came down for service. A two-tire change on the No. 38 Ford of Sadler grabbed him the lead of the event followed by the No. 24 of Jeff Gordon who also took just two-tires.
Sadler led when the field went to green but race conditions didn't last long. Newman spun on the first lap of segment three collecting teammate Rusty Wallace, who had nowhere to go as Newman slid into the turn two wall.
"It was just racing," said Wallace. "I thought we had a good car all day.Gordon started backing up and locking the field up. We were all dicing around trying to get by him and then Newman went into turn one and just lost it. When he spun, he went up the racetrack and I was on the outside trying to clear him and I just couldn't do it."
In segment three caution laps do not count, so there were 19 laps to go when the field restarted with Sadler leading followed by Martin. Martin bumped Sadler on the restart allowing the No. 6 Ford to grab the lead.
Sadler's wobble allowed the No. 48 of Jimmie Johnson to also get by but only for a few laps. Once the No. 38 Ford evened out, Sadler easily blew past Johnson to regain second. Yates horsepower vs. Yates horsepower was the story in the closing laps of the race as Martin and Sadler battled for the million dollar purse.
In the end, Sadler didn't have the steam to catch the No. 6 Ford.