Martin, Smith Enjoy Successful First Day at Daytona Pre-Season Thunder
The Rookie and the Veteran - Regan Smith (left) and Mark Martin, co-drivers of the No. 01 U.S. Army Chevrolet.

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Army News Service, Jan. 16, 2007) - Ginn Racing's Mark Martin and Regan Smith kicked off the first day of this week's Preseason Thunder test session Monday at Daytona International Speedway, with Smith posting the fourth fastest time in the No. 39 Ginn Racing Chevrolet and Martin posting the 15th fastest time in the U.S. Army Chevrolet.

"It was a good first day," said Martin, who took his first laps in the Army Chevy. "It's always good to get that first day out of the way with a new team and new surroundings. I'm not really used to a lot of change, so I think it was a good day to get acclimated to what we are doing.

"Ryan Pemberton (crew chief) and the guys are an excellent team to work with. We were able to pick up speed as the day went on and we got better from where we started. We're still not where we want to be, but we'll come back tomorrow and work harder."

Smith's speed on the famed 2.5-mile tri-oval was 184.581 miles per hour while Martin's top speed was 183.981. The fastest speed of the day -185.090 - was posted by David Gilliland.

"I'm still as excited as ever with what we have going on this year," added Martin. "The opportunity that the Army and Ginn Racing have put together for me is just awesome and we are going to continue to work to get the most out of the cars."

Smith, who spent the majority of the day near the top of the speed charts, was also happy with his team's progress.

"We were able to find some things that worked really well for us today," said Smith, who in addition to attempting to qualify for the Daytona 500 in the No. 39 car, will split duty with Martin during the 2007 season in the Army Chevrolet.

"The guys did a great job with the cars today and we were able to find a good amount of speed on the track," continued Smith. "Hopefully we'll be able to expand on that as the week goes on and find what we need to make sure we qualify for the Daytona 500 in a few weeks."

Martin will take to the Daytona track for the Budweiser Shootout Feb. 10, before taking part in the famed Daytona 500 the following week (Feb. 18). Smith will be back at Daytona in February in hopes of qualifying for his first-ever Daytona 500. Conversely, Martin will run in his 23rd Daytona 500.

The Ginn Racing teams will return to the track Tuesday for the second of three scheduled test days.

Page last updated Thu May 3rd, 2012 at 12:48