POINTS: Martin advanced to 12th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup standings with a 19th-place finish last Sunday at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International. Martin leads 13th-place Clint Bowyer by 10 points with four races remaining in the regular season. The ...
POINTS: Martin advanced to 12th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup standings with a 19th-place finish last Sunday at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International. Martin leads 13th-place Clint Bowyer by 10 points with four races remaining in the regular season. The postseason -- or the Chase for the Sprint Cup -- begins Sept. 19 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
POLE MAN: Martin's next NASCAR Sprint Cup Series pole will be the 50th of his career and will place him eighth on the all-time pole winner's list. With all of his success at Michigan, Martin never has earned the pole position there, but did start from the top spot in 1990 when qualifying was rained out.
THE NO. 5 TEAM: Under the direction of crew chief Alan Gustafson, the No. 5 GoDaddy.com team has competed in nine races at Michigan International Speedway, earning a win at the racetrack last June. Including the victory, the team has earned one top-five finish and three top-10s at MIS with Gustafson at the helm.
CHASSIS CHOICE: Gustafson has chosen Chassis No. 5-550 for Sunday's race at Michigan. This is the same chassis that Martin drove to a seventh-place finish at Pocono Raceway two weeks ago. In July, Martin raced this car to an 11th-place finish at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
MARK MARTIN, DRIVER, NO. 5 GODADDY.COM CHEVROLET (ON REJOINING THE TOP 12 IN POINTS.): "We knew this was going to be a fight for us. And it's definitely not over. We gained points in Pocono, and we gained again in Watkins Glen. We have got to keep doing that. This team is improving every week; we just have to keep that going in Michigan this weekend. It's a good feeling to be back in there, but it's not at all a relief. We have four races to go. Anything can happen. We can't slip up. We can't have a bad day. We've got to keep moving forward."
MARTIN (ON HIS CHANCES OF GAINING MORE POINTS THIS WEEKEND AT MICHIGAN.): "I think, if you look back at how we improved at Indianapolis and how we improved at Pocono, that we have to look at Michigan as another track where we can build momentum and gain some points. We're taking the same car this weekend that we took to both of those tracks. It's my favorite car in the whole Hendrick stable. So that gives me a little confidence, too. Anything can happen though, and we need to be prepared for those anythings."
ALAN GUSTAFSON, CREW CHIEF, NO. 5 GODADDY.COM CHEVROLET (ON REJOINING THE TOP 12 IN POINTS.): "Watkins Glen wasn't a pretty day by any means for us. Like our engineer said after the race, 'It wasn't what we wanted, but it was what we needed.' We saw the (No.) 33 was having a bad day, and we knew we had to take advantage of that. Mark had to keep the car clean and get as many positions and points as he could. We did what we had to do. We've been saying all along, we're not going to make this up in one giant leap. This is about making small steps to eventually make the big gain. We're getting there. We just have to keep working toward that goal. We have four races left to get there."
GUSTAFSON (ON TAKING RISKS AT MICHIGAN AND THE FOLLOWING THREE RACES.): "We are not in a position to take risks right now. Michigan is a fuel-mileage track. I'm sure there will be teams that push the limits and take those risks, but they will be teams that don't have a lot to lose. We don't have that luxury. It's going to be all about risk versus reward. We have to keep that final goal in the forefront of our minds at all times. Will we want to take that risk for the win? Sure. But would it be worth it if we ran out and finished 30th? No. We can't do that."
-source: hendrick motorsports