BUSCH: Darlington: Round 12 preview

* Hendrick, Martin Come Together For First Time In NASCAR Busch Series * South Carolina Native Keller Returns To Series At Darlington NASCAR Icons Join Forces: Martin To Drive For Hendrick At Darlington DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (May 7,...

*       Hendrick, Martin Come Together For First Time In NASCAR Busch Series

* South Carolina Native Keller Returns To Series At Darlington

NASCAR Icons Join Forces: Martin To Drive For Hendrick At Darlington

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (May 7, 2007) -- It's taken 25 years, 47 wins, 30 poles and over 220 starts but Mark Martin (No. 5 Hendrick Autoguard/ Hendrickcars.com Chevrolet) and owner Rick Hendrick (24 years, 22 wins, 35 poles) have finally teamed up in NASCAR Busch Series competition.

Martin, the series' all-time leader in wins and poles -- who was voted No. 1 among the 25 Greatest NASCAR Busch Series Drivers by media and fans last year -- is also the series' best at Darlington Raceway with eight wins and eight poles.

So the partnership -- the first of three events at which the NASCAR icons will work together -- has the potential to be a successful debut.

"That No. 5 means something to me," Martin said. "I remember the No. 5 when it was first getting started --when it was All-Star Racing on the side and Rick was a car dealer getting into NASCAR. It's cool. This is stuff that's history. And the older you get, the more history means to you."

Hendrick's NASCAR Busch Series driver list that contains such names as Dale Earnhardt, Jeff Gordon, Tim Richmond and Kyle Busch, can now include Martin.

"When I look back at the end of the day and we look at the wins we have and the people that have been part of it," Hendrick said, "I think it's going to be really neat to have Mark's name on that list."

Keller Returns To NASCAR Busch Series At His 'Home' Track

South Carolina native Jason Keller (No. 11 Force Protection Chevrolet) is back in the NASCAR Busch Series, fittingly at Darlington Raceway.

Keller, the series' all-time leader in earnings with over $10 million and one of only two drivers with 400 starts, returns to race for CJM Racing and owners Tony and Bryan Mullet for the organization's debut in the NASCAR Busch Series.

The team is under the direction of Greg Pollex, who won the series championship in 2000 with Jeff Green -- Keller finished second in the points that year as Green's teammate.

During their tenure together, Keller and Pollex combined for nine wins, seven Busch Poles, 67 top-five and 112 top-10 finishes.

Keller also will be reunited with crew chief Todd Gordon. The event marks the first of several races the 36-year-old from Greenville, S.C., is scheduled to run for CJM this year.

-credit: nascar

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Series NASCAR XFINITY
Drivers Jeff Gordon , Jason Keller , Jeff Green , Tim Richmond , Kyle Busch , Mark Martin