By David FerroniOctober 15, 2007
CONCORD, N.C. (Army News Service, Oct. 15, 2007) -- Mark Martin called it a "tough night" after posting a 16th-place finish in Saturday's Nextel Cup race at Lowe's Motor Speedway.
The U.S. Army driver was in position for a possible top-10 result when the race went into overtime with a green-white-checkered finish. Mr. Martin was running in 13th place for the final restart and it appeared that his 01 Chevrolet had the speed to pick up a few more spots on the 1.5-mile oval.
"I had a good run on the No. 84 and it looked like we were going to get a good finish," explained Mr. Martin. "But he (AJ Allmendinger) was able to close the door on me pretty quickly and I picked up some damage to the fender. After that we just had to take it home the best we could."
The Army driver started the race 12th and hovered in and around the top 15 for the majority of the race. He did run as high as third after a two-tire stop on Lap 159 of 337.
"Basically we had about a 15th-place car," said Mr. Martin. "But no one can say we didn't battle right to the end. Our U.S. Army pit crew hung in there and did another tremendous job. The Army spirit of never giving up is very strong on this team."
The 01 Dale Earnhardt Inc. team is ranked 14th in owner points. Mr. Martin, who has missed 10 of the 31 Cup races due to a part-time schedule, is 25th in driver points.
The race winner was Jeff Gordon. Rounding out the top five in order were Clint Bowyer, Kyle Busch, Jeff Burton and Carl Edwards.
NASCAR announced Friday that The U.S. Army Chevrolet, owned by Dale Earnhardt Inc., will carry the No. 8 during the 2008 NASCAR Sprint Cup season. Veteran Mark Martin and rookie Aric Almirola will co-drive the No. 8 Chevrolet with Ryan Pemberton handling the crew chief duties.
"We are thrilled to be associated with the United States Army and representing our men and women in uniform," said Max Siegel, president of global operations for Dale Earnhardt Inc. "The No. 8 has a long tradition in the Earnhardt family and it is only fitting that it will be showcased on the Soldiers' car that will be driven by Mark Martin, one of the most revered drivers in NASCAR history, and a young talent in Aric Almirola."
"As a proud partner of Dale Earnhardt Inc., the U.S. Army is honored to have the soldiers' car carry the No. 8, which has a rich tradition and a remarkable Earnhardt family legacy," said Michael J. Sullivan, U.S. Army deputy director of marketing and advertising. "We are excited about continuing the Army spirit in NASCAR and having Mark Martin and Aric Almirola driving the No. 8 Chevrolet."