Valvoline Racing News (2000-03-13)

NASCAR: Martin Already Thinking Points There was a time when NASCAR people started thinking about points around Labor Day at Darlington's tradition-filled Southern 500. No more. With the Winston Cup championship now so prestigious --...

NASCAR: Martin Already Thinking Points

There was a time when NASCAR people started thinking about points around Labor Day at Darlington's tradition-filled Southern 500. No more. With the Winston Cup championship now so prestigious -- and lucrative -- Mark Martin says those calculations begin at the Daytona 500. "That (thinking about points) drives you crazy," admits Martin, now second in the standings after a third-place finish last Sunday at Atlanta in the Valvoline Ford Taurus. "It's become so important, in so many ways, that it has taken a lot of the fun out of the races." As an example, Martin cites last year's race at Texas, where he led until a deflated tire caused an accident. "I didn't sleep Sunday night after Texas. I flew home, took a shower, went to bed and laid there. We were trying to be conservative. I have enough experience that when I saw Jeff Gordon have one (accident) and Mike Skinner have one, it shouldn't have happened to me. I couldn't sleep, and you know why? It's just one race . . . but those darned points. That's an example of how important the points are now. "Now, it's just not OK when you're running along and somebody, a lapped car, tags you and takes you out. It makes you want to fight. This cost you 100 points and it could make the difference between winning and losing."

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jeff Gordon , Mike Skinner , Mark Martin