By David FerroniNovember 21, 2007
HOMESTEAD, Fla. (Army News Service, Nov. 21, 2007) -- Mark Martin ended the 2007 NASCAR Nextel Cup season Sunday with a solid ninth-place finish at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Martin started the 400-mile event sixth and ran the majority of the race inside the top 10.
The result was the 11th top-10 and 19th top-20 performance of the season for Mark Martin, who participated in 24 of 36 point races driving the No. 01 U.S. Army Chevrolet. He also had five top fives, including a close second-place finish in the season-opening Daytona 500.
"This was just a great effort by (crew chief) Ryan Pemberton and the U.S. Army team," said Mr. Martin following his fifth top 10 in nine starts at Homestead-Miami Speedway. "I'm very proud to close out the season with a top 10. These guys have been through a lot this season. We wore the Army uniform with pride, and like our Soldiers, we never quit. I am really excited about racing with these guys next season."
Mr. Martin was running 11th late in the Homestead race when Ryan Pemberton opted to short pit on Lap 244 of 267. The move paid off with Martin running in ninth position once the field cycled through with pit stops. The savvy veteran was able to hold on to post a top-10 finish.
"I truly feel that we are going to keep getting better and better," added Mr. Martin, who will share the 2008 Army ride with Aric Almirola. "I'm pumped about moving into our first full year with Dale Earnhardt Inc. next year. I think there are plenty of good things ahead for this team. I'm sorry we didn't get a win for our Soldiers, but we'll come back stronger next season."
Mr. Martin finished 27th in the driver points, despite missing 12 events. And in the final owner points, the 01 Dale Earnhardt Inc. team was 17th.
The race winner was Matt Kenseth. Rounding out the top five in order were: Kurt Busch, Denny Hamlin, Jeff Gordon and Carl Edwards.
The 2008 Sprint Cup campaign kicks off with the Budweiser Shootout at Daytona Feb. 10. The first points race will be the Daytona 500, Feb. 18. The U.S. Army Chevrolet will carry the No. 8 next season.