Mark Martin Overcomes Early Struggles in Kansas
October 1, 2007
KANSAS CITY, Kan. (Army News Service, Oct. 1, 2007) - In a bizarre day at Kansas Speedway, Mark Martin and the U.S. Army team posted a 12th-place finish.
Sunday's Nextel Cup race, which was scheduled for 267 laps and 400 miles turned out to be 210 laps and 315 miles. The culprit for the shortened event was a couple of mid-afternoon Kansas storms that halted the race for nearly three hours. NASCAR eventually called the LifeLock 400 for darkness shortly after 7 p.m. CT.
"It was a strange day, but we hung in there," said Army crew chief Ryan Pemberton. "Mark drove a strong race and the pit crew was once again on top of its game."
After spending Friday and Saturday searching for speed and battling handling issues with the 01 Chevrolet, Mr. Martin and the Army team dug deep and came through with another solid finish.
"These guys are just incredible," said M. Martin, who started 40th. "We were all over the place in qualifying and practice but they just wouldn't give up on the car. Once the race started I was able to do things with the Army Chevy that I had not been able to do all weekend. It really was a great team effort and our guys battled like our Soldiers - they refused to give up."
Driving the Dale Earnhardt Inc-owned Chevrolet, Mr. Martin wasted little time moving through the field. He picked up 10 positions by Lap 12. The 01 team then made a huge leap to 20th place a few laps later after a quick two-tire stop under caution.
Mr. Martin continued to run strong and was positioned in the top 15 for the majority of the race, including a high of seventh.
"We were awful on Friday and had a terrible lap in qualifying," noted Mr. Martin. "And just when things looked really bad, these guys dug in and gave it all they had. It's unbelievable what they were able to do with this race car this weekend. It's a testament to the type of team we have here."
The 01 team, which finished fourth last week in Dover, remains 14th in the Nextel Cup owner standings.
The next race for the 01 team will be Oct. 7 at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway, where Aric Almirola is slated to drive the Army Chevy.