Texas: Mark Martin preview

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

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

POLE SITTER: Martin's next Sprint Cup Series pole position will be the 50th of his career and will place him eighth on the all-time pole winner's list. Texas Motor Speedway is one of only six active tracks where Martin has not started from the top spot.

MARTIN AT TEXAS: Along with his 1998 victory at Texas, Martin has earned six top-five finishes and 10 top-10s in 18 career starts. He's led a total of 172 laps at the Lone Star track and has a 13.2 average finish.

LOOP STATS: In the last 10 races at Texas Motor Speedway, Martin has spent almost 67 percent of the time (2,228 laps of 3,350 total) inside the top 15. That ranks the NASCAR veteran fifth among all Cup competitors during that same time span.

LAST YEAR AT TEXAS: Martin and the No. 5 team posted back-to-back top-10 finishes at Texas last year. In April, Martin overcame a 23rd-place starting position to finish sixth. Later that year, Martin started seventh and finished fourth.

NO. 5 TEAM AT TEXAS: Since 2005, the No. 5 team has earned three top-five finishes and four top-10s at Texas under the guidance of crew chief Alan Gustafson.

POINT STANDINGS: With a top-five finish at Phoenix International Raceway last week, the No. 5 team advanced four positions to 13th in the Sprint Cup standings. Martin is just 11 points behind 12th place.

WINNING CHASSIS: Gustafson has chosen Chassis No. 5-527 for Sunday's race at Texas Motor Speedway. This is the same chassis that Martin drove to Victory Lane at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway last May and at Chicagoland Speedway last July.

HENDRICK AT TEXAS: In 18 races (73 starts) at Texas Motor Speedway, Hendrick Motorsports has recorded three wins, 18 top-five finishes and 27 top-10s and led 982 laps.

MARK MARTIN, DRIVER, NO. 5 HENDRICKCARS.COM/GODADDY.COM CHEVROLET (ON TEXAS MOTOR SPEEDWAY.): "This track means a lot to me. It's fairly close to Batesville (Ark.), my hometown, so a lot of my fans seem to come out for the Texas races. It helps, too, that I love intermediate racetracks. Hendrick Motorsports is really good on intermediate tracks, too. All of that together makes Texas a pretty special place for me. I'm really looking forward to getting back there."

MARTIN (ON BRINGING BACK CHASSIS NO. 5-527.): "It is a confidence boost knowing we're bringing back a car that has been so successful. When we raced this car at Chicago, it was lightening fast. Incredible. Nearly every time we've raced this particular car it's been good right off the truck. I'm hoping for the same thing this weekend -- lead practice, get the pole and win the race. I'd be so happy to do that for Alan (Gustafson, crew chief) and all the guys on this (No.) 5 team."

MARTIN (ON RUNNING THE HENDRICKCARS.COM SCHEME AGAIN.): "Well, we didn't really give them the result that we wanted to in their last race at Atlanta. We were going to get a good top-10 but got wrapped up in that big crash in the final laps. This time, we're going to finish the deal for them and give them a good finish. The boss man (Rick Hendrick) over there is pretty important to us, too! (LAUGHS). We gotta keep him happy!"

MARTIN (ON THE SPOILER AFFECTING THE RACING SO FAR.): "I haven't felt a change from the wing to the spoiler at all. This weekend, in Texas, is probably where we'll feel it the most so far. But, in all honesty, it's just like everything else. Tire changes affect us. The weather affects us. The track's surface affects us. Same thing with the spoiler. It's a change, but it's just another thing we adjust to."

ALAN GUSTAFSON, CREW CHIEF, NO. 5 HENDRICKCARS.COM/GODADDY.COM CHEVROLET (ON THE EFFECT OF THE SPOILER AT TEXAS MOTOR SPEEDWAY.): "You really can't judge much about the spoiler from a half-mile and a mile track. I do think Texas will be more indicative of what the spoiler is going to do to the cars and how it will affect racing. We'll know a lot more after practice on Friday."

GUSTAFSON (ON INTERMEDIATE TRACK RACING.): "I'm anxious to get back on an intermediate track. I feel that that is where we've put the most focus and emphasis from last season to this season. We really let go of some points last year at Charlotte (N.C.) in the fall, and that is where I really think we were hurt the most. During the Charlotte test, we focused a lot on speed and getting the best handle out of the race car. Hopefully that shows when we unload off the truck Friday."

-source: hm

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