Army Driver Moves to 12th in Nextel Cup Points
June 5, 2007
DOVER, Del. (Army News Service, June 5, 2007) - Mark Martin and the No. 01 U.S. Army Team showed its best Car of Tomorrow effort of the season with a seventh-place finish in Monday's rain-delayed Nextel Cup race at Dover International Speedway.
The result lifted Mr. Martin to 12th in the point standings and back in the "Chase" cut-off mark, despite having run three fewer races than the majority of the field. The 01 Ginn Racing team remained sixth in owner points.
The result also gave Mr. Martin his sixth top-10 and ninth top-15 finish in the 10 Cup races he has competed in 2007. His worst finish was 17th at Richmond.
"That was by far our best COT effort," said Mr. Martin. "We are still a whisker off, but we've made a lot of strides in a short time. Ryan (Pemberton, crew chief) and these guys have done a great job. It's just an honor to drive this Army Chevy for our Soldiers."
"I actually had fun today for the first time in a COT," added Mr. Martin. "We didn't have a car to win, but we had a good car and I had a lot of fun driving it."
Mr. Martin was running in sixth position when the day's seventh and final caution was called on lap 356. Pemberton opted to bring Martin in for four tires. Half of the top 10 stayed out, while Martin and the other half pitted. Mr. Martin returned in ninth when green-flag racing resumed with 39 laps to go.
Martin was able to fight back to seventh with four laps remaining.
"That was a tough call," said Mr. Pemberton. "It might have worked better to stay out, but at the time it seemed like the right thing. Mark did a great job as always and it was a great effort by the U.S. Army team."
Mr. Martin started the 400-mile event 21st after getting loose in Friday's qualifying session. With the car setup dialed in for the long run, Mr. Martin patiently bided his time early, moving in and out of the top 20.
By the time NASCAR called its second competition caution of the race on Lap 66 of 400, Mr. Martin had moved his Army Chevy into 17th position. Quick work in the pits by the U.S. Army crew put Mr. Martin inside the top 15 for the first time.
Mr. Martin moved inside the top 10 on Lap 124, where he would run for the remainder of the event at the Monster Mile.
Mr. Martin and the No. 01 U.S. Army team will return to action Sunday at Pocono Raceway. Mr. Martin has never won at Pocono, but has finished second on six occasions and has 19 top-fives.