Martin Closes Out DEI Tenure with Stellar Come-From-Behind 14th-Place Finish in Arizona; Savvy Veteran Posts 5th top-15 finish in 24 starts AVONDALE, Ariz. (Nov. 9, 2008) -- Mark Martin closed out his tenure with Dale Earnhardt Inc. in the No. 8...
Martin Closes Out DEI Tenure with Stellar Come-From-Behind 14th-Place Finish in Arizona; Savvy Veteran Posts 5th top-15 finish in 24 starts
AVONDALE, Ariz. (Nov. 9, 2008) -- Mark Martin closed out his tenure with Dale Earnhardt Inc. in the No. 8 U.S. Army Chevrolet by battling back from a lap down to finish 4th in Sunday's Checker O'Reilly Auto Parts 500 at Phoenix International Raceway.
Martin, who had a strong car at the start of the Sprint Cup race,lost his top-10 running position when a pit-road miscue put him a lap down on Lap 99 of 313. He would spend virtually the remainder of the event fighting his way back to the lead lap.
"First of all I want to say just how proud I am to have worked with the guys on this U.S. Army team," said Martin. "We had a really strong car today. We might not have had the car to win it, but we had a top-five car for sure. We didn't get the finish that we wanted, but like they have done all year these guys hung in there and fought hard.I'm very proud to have driven their car this season. It's been a pleasure to work with (crew chief) Tony Gibson and everyone on this No. 8 team."
"This really has been the most fun that I've had in my career," added Martin. "To be able to run a part-time schedule with a championship caliber team has been a great privilege. I just have to thank everyone at Dale Earnhardt Inc. for everything. I also want to thank the U.S. Army for all the support of the past two years. It has been a real honor to represent our brave Soldiers who protect our freedom."
Martin started 10th and made his way to fourth place early in the race.But during a Lap 99 pit stop his day took a turn for the worse. A loose lug nut on the left-front forced him to return to pit road. The unscheduled stop, under green-flag conditions, relegated him to 38th place, almost two laps down.
The savvy veteran patiently worked his way through the field, breaking into the top 20 on Lap 277 and returning to the lead lap on Lap 289.
Once back on the lead lap, Martin wasted little time moving through traffic on the one-mile oval. He was running in 4th position on Lap 300 and held on during a hectic green-white-checkered run to the finish 14th. The result was Martin's 15th top-15 finish in 24 starts this season.
The No. 8 DEI team remains in 14th place in the Sprint Cup owner points.
Aric Almirola will drive the Army Chevy Impala SS in Sunday's (Nov. 16) season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway.