Army Driver Continues Impressive Start, Finishes Third in Texas
April 16, 2007
FORT WORTH, Texas (Army News Service, April 15, 2007) - The Mark Martin 2007 story got even more interesting following his impressive third-place finish in Sunday's Samsung 500 Nextel Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway.
After taking the previous two races off as part of his limited schedule for Ginn Racing, Mr. Martin came back with another solid performance.
The Army driver, who has now competed in five Cup races this season, posted his fifth straight top-10 result and fourth top-five. Despite missing the two races in Bristol, Tenn., and Martinsville, Va., Martin is 11th in driver points, within the top-12 of the Chase cutoff.
In Nextel Cup owner points, the 01 team jumped from sixth to fourth.
"This team is just awesome - they are the best I've ever worked with," Mr. Martin said moments after climbing out of his No. 01 Army Chevrolet. "I want to be careful about bragging too much, but I have hit the lotto. To be able to drive these cars for this team is a dream come true. And to be able to step away when I want to, I just could not imagine having that kind of privilege. I just really, really love working with Ryan (Pemberton, crew chief) and the team. They are so excited and that makes it so much fun to go to work."
Mr. Martin started the race sixth based on owner points after Friday's qualifying session was canceled due to severe weather. The team struggled early with the car's handling in traffic and Martin dropped back to as far as 15th.
"About halfway through the race we got the car adjusted to our likening," said Mr. Martin. "The closer we got to the front, the Army Chevy performed much better. The pit crew was outstanding again - they pounded out fast stops and got us to the front."
The 01 team made its final adjustment on its fourth pit stop of the race (Lap 117 of 334), moving the track bar up and adjusting the air pressure. Mr. Martin returned to the field in 14th position and started his march to the front.
"Man, I would have loved to have won for our Doldiers who are out there defending our country all over the world," said Mr. Martin. "It's an honor to drive the soldiers' car."
The race winner (Jeff Burton) and runner-up (Matt Kenseth) are former teammates of Mr. Martin. "I really wish I could've been up there with my buddies scraping for the win," added Mr. Martin. "But I am satisfied with third."
The Army Team will return to action next weekend in Phoenix, Ariz., where Mr. Martin will make his race debut in the Car of Tomorrow. The Phoenix race is scheduled for Saturday evening.