By U.S. Army RacingAugust 6, 2007
LONG POND, Pa. (Army News Service, Aug. 6, 2007) - For the second week in a row and the ninth time this season, Mark Martin took the checkered flag with a top-10 finish. The U.S. Army driver powered his 01 Chevrolet from a 25th starting spot to a ninth-place result in Sunday's Pennsylvania 500 Nextel Cup event at Pocono Raceway.
"This was just another solid effort by our U.S. Army Team," said Mr. Martin, who finished sixth in Indianapolis last week. "We had a pretty good car all day and were able to do a lot of passing. We had about a 15th-place car in practice yesterday and were able to improve on that with another top-10."
The veteran driver wasted little time flexing his muscle once the green flag dropped. He picked up six positions in the first four laps and drove all the way to 11th by the time he pitted for the first time under green on Lap 30 of 200.
"I can't tell you how impressed I am with (crew chief) Ryan Pemberton and the entire Army Team," said Mr. Martin, who finished seventh here in June. "With all they've had to contend with the past two weeks and then to come out and claim back-to-back top-10 finishes says so much about the character of this race team. It's the Army spirit - you battle harder when you face adversity.
"It also says so much about why I wanted to come back and drive this team's race car again next year," Mr. Martin added.
Mr. Martin broke into the top 10 for the first time on Lap 129. He dropped back for a while, but returned on Lap 153 for the remainder of the race.
"There were just a few cars better than us," Mr. Martin said. "I think we could have finished inside the top five if we could have just found a way to get up there. We beat a lot of good drivers and teams today. We've had great stuff on the race track and I'm really enjoying driving the Soldiers' car."
Despite running in 16 of the 21 Cup races to date, Mr. Martin is 16th in driver points and the 01 Dale Earnhardt, Inc. team is 10th in owner points.
In his 16 races this season, Mr. Martin has posted four top-fives, nine top-10s, 13 top-15s and 15 top-20s.
The Pocono race winner was Kurt Busch, who edged Mr. Martin's DEI teammate, Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Mr. Martin will take off next weekend's Nextel Cup road race in Watkins Glen, N.Y. He will return to action the following week at Michigan International Speedway.