Texas II: Mark Martin preview

POINTS BATTLE: Mark Martin and the No. 5 Hendrick Motorsports team currently rank second in the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship battle. Martin, who was the points leader following the first three Chase races, trails teammate Jimmie Johnson...

POINTS BATTLE: Mark Martin and the No. 5 Hendrick Motorsports team currently rank second in the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship battle. Martin, who was the points leader following the first three Chase races, trails teammate Jimmie Johnson by 184 points with three events remaining.

ONCE A COWBOY: Martin wore the famed cowboy hat in Victory Lane at Texas Motor Speedway on April 5, 1998. He started seventh and led 37 laps en route to earning his second of seven NASCAR Sprint Cup Series wins that season.

TRACK STATS: In 17 career Sprint Cup starts at Texas, Martin has earned one victory, five top-five finishes and nine top-10s. He has led a total of 172 laps there. Martin finished sixth in the April Sprint Cup event at the Fort Worth track.

OF THE CHASERS: Martin is tied with three other Chase drivers for the most top-10 finishes -- nine -- at Texas Motor Speedway. Of the 12 drivers in the Chase, he has the third-most top-five finishes with five and holds the fifth best average finish at 13.8.

LOOP STATISTICS: According to NASCAR's loop statistics, Martin has spent 1,902 laps inside the top-15 at Texas Motor Speedway over the last nine races, the fourth-most of any Chase driver. Martin spent 222 of those laps inside the top-15 in the April race at the track this year. He earned the fifth-best driver rating of Chase drivers in that event.

NO. 5 TEAM AT TEXAS: Since 2005, the No. 5 team has earned two top-five finishes and three top-10s at Texas Motor Speedway under the guidance of crew chief Alan Gustafson. Both top-five results came in the fall races in 2006 and 2007.

TRIPLE-5 CHASSIS: Gustafson has chosen Chassis No. 5-555 for Sunday's race at Texas Motor Speedway. This chassis never has been raced nor tested.

HENDRICK AT TEXAS: Hendrick Motorsports, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary this season, has three wins, 17 top-five finishes and 26 top-10s in 17 Cup events (69 starts) at the 1.5-mile racetrack.

MARK MARTIN, DRIVER, NO. 5 CARQUEST/KELLOGG'S CHEVROLET (ON TEXAS MOTOR SPEEDWAY.): "Texas is a great place to race. I have a lot of fans that go there because it's kind of close to my home in Batesville (Ark.). We have a lot of charged up fans there. It's a great track and a great place to race. We're going to go there, try to sit on the pole, lead every lap and win the race."

MARTIN (ON HIS FIRST SEASON BACK TO FULL-TIME RACING.): "I'm not tired of the racing at all. Everyone at Hendrick Motorsports is first class. They've all made this season so much better than I ever imagined it could be. I am tired of the points, though, and I'm not just saying that because of being behind. We were chasing points to get into the Chase, and now that we're here, that's all people are talking about. I'm just ready to have a fresh outlook and get back to it just being about the race itself. I'll be looking forward to Daytona (Fla.) and starting with a clean slate there."

MARTIN (ON SEARCHING FOR HIS FIRST SPRINT CUP CHAMPIONSHIP.): "Look, I'm not disappointed in the things I haven't accomplished. I'm proud of the things that I have. And that's the way I'm going to look back on my career. I have finished second to (Dale) Earnhardt, Tony (Stewart) and Jeff (Gordon), all of them great drivers in this sport. And I'm not embarrassed to finish second to those guys. And I wouldn't be embarrassed to finish second to Jimmie (Johnson). I have the greatest amount of respect for those guys. I love what I'm doing. I love this sport. And I won't sit here and worry about the things that haven't happened to me or for me."

ALAN GUSTAFSON, CREW CHIEF, NO. 5 CARQUEST/KELLOGG'S CHEVROLET (ON THE CHAMPIONSHIP BATTLE.): "We're in a big hole. The deficit is getting bigger and the opportunities we have to make it up are getting smaller. That's not good. Two of the last three weeks have really cost us. It is what it is. We have to fight as hard as we can. There are still some good things to race for even if it's not the championship. We need to find as much motivation as we can to do the best we can."

GUSTAFSON (ON WHAT THE TEAM IS RACING FOR.): "Winning. Winning is the biggest thing. It's a huge deal. There are a lot of good teams and good drivers that haven't won a race. We have to stay hungry. We have a chance to win at Texas, which is a place I've never won at and would love to do. We have a chance to sweep Phoenix. That would be a nice thing to say that we were able to accomplish. And we have a chance to win Homestead (Fla.). A Hendrick Motorsports car has never won there so that would be a great thing to do. You always want to finish the year strong and still put ourselves in the best position we can in the championship. There are a lot of things to race for, but it comes down to perspective. Our perspective is that we were leading the first four weeks into the Chase and now we're not, so there's some disappointment there. If your perspective is that you are coming from the back and gaining momentum, then racing for second would be huge motivation. We have to realize that our perspective is a little different and find the motivation still to compete at our highest level possible."

GUSTAFSON (ON WHERE HE SEES THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE NO. 48 TEAM AND THE NO. 5 TEAM.): "Lowe's Motor Speedway is the difference to me. That's where they won and we finished 17th. That's the biggest thing. At Talladega (Ala.), I don't feel like there's a whole lot of skill involved in that. Things happen however they happen, and for some reason Jimmie (Johnson, No. 48 driver) missed the wreck by two feet, and we were right in the middle of it. I don't think we can reflect on that and say, 'That was a weakness in our team.' Lowe's was our biggest issue. We needed to run better at Lowe's and change the dynamic a little bit."

GUSTAFSON (ON HOW HE WILL VIEW THE 2009 SEASON.): "If we do not win the championship, I'm going to be disappointed. A lot of guys on this team are going to be disappointed. It won't override what we've accomplished. They are separate entities. Where we've succeeded is one thing and where we've failed is another. One isn't more important than the other. When you win a race, it's still a success. But it's like winning a battle or winning a war. We want to win the war. Yes, we've won some battles, but we haven't won the war. I will be disappointed, but I won't be ashamed, and this team has no reason to hang their head. This team fought very hard and it will continue to fight hard to do everything we can possibly do. I want to win a championship and so does everyone on this team. That was our main focus when we came into the year. So, there is some level of disappointment. If we win at Texas and Jimmie finishes second, I'm going to be happy. I'm going to realize that I've got less of a chance to win a championship, but I'm still going to be happy. They're separate things. There's going to still be a strong sense of accomplishment and commitment and a lot of payoff for the hard work, but there will still be some disappointment as well."

-credit: hm

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jimmie Johnson , Mark Martin
Teams Hendrick Motorsports