• Dale Earnhardt Jr., driving the number 88 National Guard Chevy, and Mark Martin, in the number eight Army car, battle for position on the front stretch of Texas Motor Speedway Sunday.  Martin's Army team fought hard all day and finished in eighth place, including picking up two spots on the final lap.  Earnhardt started the race on the pole and led the 43-car field for 31 laps, but fell back due to handling issues, crossing the finish line a lap down in twelfth-place.

    Army Car Battles National Guard Car

    Dale Earnhardt Jr., driving the number 88 National Guard Chevy, and Mark Martin, in the number eight Army car, battle for position on the front stretch of Texas Motor Speedway Sunday. Martin's Army team fought hard all day and finished in eighth...

  • Mark Martin powers the number eight Army Chevrolet into turn one at Texas Motor Speedway enroute to the team's eight-place finish in Sunday's Samsung 500 NASCAR race.

    Martin Powers Army Chevy

    Mark Martin powers the number eight Army Chevrolet into turn one at Texas Motor Speedway enroute to the team's eight-place finish in Sunday's Samsung 500 NASCAR race.

FORT WORTH, Texas (Army News Service, April 7, 2008) - Mark Martin picked up two spots on the final lap of Sunday's Samsung 500 to post his best finish of the 2008 season, an eighth-place run at Texas Motor Speedway.

Martin, who was inducted earlier in the week into the TMS Hall of Fame, backed up the honor by posting his eighth career top-10 result at the 1.5-mile track.

"This was just an awesome job by the U.S. Army Team," said Martin, who started the race from the 31st position. "We kept working with the car all day and it was pretty good there by the end of the race."

"I'm very proud of (crew chief) Tony Gibson and this entire DEI team," added Martin. "I think we had a run that our Soldiers can be proud of today. Hopefully we can build on this, and pick up where we left off next week in Phoenix."

Martin battled hard and worked his way to seventh place, when the race's sixth and final caution was issued on Lap 329 of 339. With only 10 cars on the lead lap, the caution set up several different strategic options for the race leaders. Martin and Gibson opted for four tires, while the first five cars stayed on the track for the green-white-checkered overtime finish.

Martin restarted his No. 8 U.S. Army Chevrolet Impala SS in ninth position, and fell back to 10th as the race took the white flag signifying one lap remaining. However, Martin dug in and was able to pick up two positions during the final lap.

"There really was a lot going on at the end," explained Martin. "It's always hard to know what to do in those situations, but Tony made a good decision and we were able to get an eighth-place finish out of the deal. I'm very excited about this run today."

Martin wasted little time racing through the field once the green flag waved to start the race. He had a loose-handling car early, but was able to move the car inside the top 20 on Lap 32 and inside the top 15 by Lap 81.

Martin moved inside the top 10 for the first time on lap 230, where he would run virtually the remainder of the race.

The finish is Martin's second top-10 in five starts in 2008 and it's the second top-eight finish for the No. 8 Army team in the last three races (co-driver Aric Almirola finished eight two weeks ago at Bristol).

The Texas result moved the No. 8 Dale Earnhardt Inc. team into 19th place in the Sprint Cup owner points.

Martin and the team will return to action Saturday at Phoenix International Raceway, where Martin has one win, eight top-fives and 14 top-10s in 22 starts.

Page last updated Mon April 7th, 2008 at 16:31