|Big Milestone for Martin on Sunday|
“I hate to say this isn’t a big deal, because it is. But, to me, the bigger deal is what you accomplished in those starts, not just the starts themselves. I’ve had a really good 799 starts. We’ve had a lot of wins, a lot of success and a lot of fun. I’ve made friends out here that will be friends forever, and I can’t imagine anything else I would have rather been doing than racing all of those days. Beyond the stat itself or the records or whatever, it’s the experiences of it all that are the most important to me.”
MARK MARTIN TIMELINE OF NOTABLE STARTS ON HIS WAY TO 800:
1 – On April 5, 1981, Martin made his first series start at North Wilkesboro Speedway, finishing 27th. Martin made five starts in 1981, scoring two top 10s and two poles.
6 – In his first Daytona 500, on Feb. 14, 1982, he finished 30th.
58 – On Feb. 14, 1988 in the Daytona 500, Martin made his first start with owner Jack Roush. Together, they started 617 races, winning 35 of them.
100 – On June 25, 1989, at Michigan International Speedway, Martin made milestone start No. 100. He finished 12th.
113 – On Oct. 22, 1989, at North Carolina Speedway (Rockingham), Martin led 101 laps en route to his first career win.
200 – On Oct. 25, 1992, at Rockingham, Martin made milestone start No. 200. He finished 30th.
223 – Martin reached double digits in wins with a victory at Bristol Motor Speedway on Aug. 28, 1993. The win was the third of four consecutive victories for Martin, the longest win streak of his career.
300 – On March 31, 1996, at Bristol, Martin made milestone start No. 300. He finished third.
326 – Finished seventh in the Daytona 500 on Feb. 16, 1997, his 16th-consecutive top-10 finish, dating back to the previous season. That is tied for the 16th-longest streak in series history.
383 – In a victory at Dover International Speedway on Sept. 20, 1998, Martin led 379 laps, the most of his career.
400 – On May 2, 1999, at Auto Club Speedway, Martin made milestone start No. 400. He finished 38th.
500 – Reached career milestone start No. 500 on March 24, 2002 at Bristol. He finished 11th.
506 – Won NASCAR’s longest race, the Coca-Cola 600 (then named the Coca-Cola Racing Family 600) at Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 26, 2002.
600 – On Nov. 7, 2004, at Phoenix International Raceway, Martin made milestone start No. 600. He finished 15th.
700 – On Feb. 25, 2008, at Auto Club Speedway, Martin made milestone start No. 700. He finished 16th.
723 – On Feb. 15, 2009 at the Daytona 500, made his first start for Hendrick Motorsports, finishing 16th.
730 – At the age of 50 years, three months and nine days, Martin won at Phoenix on April 18, 2009, to join Harry Gant, Morgan Shepherd and Bobby Allison as the fourth over-50 driver to win a NASCAR Sprint Cup race.
733 – Won one of NASCAR’s crown jewels: the Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway on May 9, 2009.
Milestones For Biffle, McMurray: Greg Biffle and Jamie McMurray will also celebrate milestone starts this weekend. Both drivers will make start No. 300 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sunday at Martinsville.
Over his first 299 starts, Biffle has 16 wins, 66 top fives and 114 top 10s. McMurray has six wins, 39 top fives and 92 top 10s.
GREG BIFFLE ON MAKING HIS 300TH CUP START AT MARTINSVILLE THIS WEEKEND: “I guess these sort of milestones just sneak up on you but I’m excited to make my 300th start this weekend. It’s kind of ironic because Martinsville is historically one of my worst tracks but maybe we’ll have a good finish there on Sunday and make this 300th start a memorable one.”
JAMIE McMURRAY CHASSIS CHOICE: No. 1 WIDIA Chevrolet: Kevin “Bono” Manion will bring chassis #1007. McMurray ran this chassis in both the 2010 spring and fall races at Martinsville and Richmond.
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA CHASSIS CHOICE: No. 42 Target Chevrolet: Crew chief Brian Pattie and the Target Team will bring chassis #1110 this weekend. This is a brand new chassis.
|Logano finished 2nd and 6th in 2010|
LOGANO CHASSIS CHOICE: The No. 20 Home Depot Team is taking chassis #303 to the paperclip this weekend for the 500-lap race. This is a new short-track chassis for the team. The back-up chassis is #275 that Logano most recently drove to a sixth-place finish at Martinsville in October.
BRAD KESELOWSKI ON RACING AT MARTINSVILLE: “Martinsville will always be a track that is hard on brakes. Yes, the braking systems have come a long way over the last 10 years or so. But if you give us more brakes or better brakes, we are going to use more brakes to the point that we will damage the sidewall of the tire. Overheating the brakes is something that is easy to do because you are going so hard every lap as passing is difficult at Martinsville. Managing your brakes is part of being a successful short-track racer. Last year we were able to keep the brakes on the car and have two good finishes. We need to progress and build on those finishes in 2011.”
KESELOWSKI CHASSIS CHOICE: This Week’s Charger…The No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger team will use chassis PRS-740 during Sunday’s Goody’s Fast Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway. This is a new chassis to the No. 2 team.
BOBBY LABONTE ON MARTINSVILLE: “Martinsville Speedway is another track that I love and it is going to be a great track for us to go to. It’s always nice to go back to a track where you have won before. If we can stay out of harm’s way, we’ll have a shot at it. Martinsville has been a track where I have excelled and I’m confident our short track program is going to be strong. JTG Daugherty Racing ran well there last year. Actually, I tested for them before they went to Martinsville when Marcos (Ambrose) qualified second. I drove a car similar to what they had and I was like, ‘Man, this thing is awesome.’ I’m really looking forward to this race.”
MARTIN TRUEX JR ON HIS TEAM HEADING TO MARTINSVILLE: “We’re scratching our heads a little bit trying to figure out what we are missing. The last two weeks we have started off extremely strong and then faded in the second half of the race. What we faced at Bristol is very similar to what we experienced at Fontana. I was able to run fast by moving the line up and finding clean track. Once the clean track is up against the wall and there isn’t a clean surface left, that’s when we seem to struggle. We experienced this issue last year as well. It’s just magnified now with how strong we come out of the box. I expect we’ll get another chance to figure this issue out in Martinsville because it’s concrete like Bristol. We’ll continue to work hard to come up with a solution. It’s something that’s hard to test for so it’s up to us to find the right adjustment during the race that will get grip in the car when the track is rubbered up and slick. Once we figure it out, and I hope it’s at Martinsville, the NAPA team is going to be in really, really good shape.”
|Newman using a new chassis this week at Martinsville|
RYAN NEWMAN CHASSIS CHOICE: After last year’s fall race, Newman & Company retired No. 39-492, which had been the team’s “Martinsville Special” for four races during the 2009 and 2010 seasons. In four starts at Martinsville with that chassis, Newman earned one pole and posted one top-five and two top-10 finishes. This weekend, the No. 39 team will debut a new chassis –No. 39-645 – that it hopes will be just as strong at the .526-mile paperclip-shaped oval. No. 39-645 is a brand new short-track car for the No. 39 team.
KURT BUSCH ON MARTINSVILLE: “We’re coming back into Martinsville with a lot of confidence and a really positive attitude about racing there this weekend. I’ll be the first to admit that the Martinsville races have always been so challenging to me and that goes all the way back through my career. But ever since Steve Addington came aboard as our crew chief at the beginning of last season, things have really begun to turn for the better.
BUSCH CHASSIS CHOICE: Kurt Busch and his Steve Addington-led Penske Racing “Double-Deuce” team will be racing their “PRS-741” Shell-Pennzoil Dodge Charger this weekend at Martinsville Speedway. This is a brand new chassis that the team tested with last Tuesday (March 22) at Gresham Motorsports Park, the half-mile asphalt oval located near Jefferson, Ga. “We should be good to go with this new car,” offered crew chief Addington. “We used the Gresham test as a good shakedown for the car, so when we unload there at Martinsville on Friday we should be able to really get after it. The format is a little different this time around, with practice on Friday and qualifying on Saturday. We’ll utilize most of the time on getting our race trim dialed in. As always, Sunday’s race will be all about exercising patience and having your car in one piece for the final 100 laps.”
LINKS TO OTHER DRIVER NOTES & QUOTES FROM THE WEEK:
TONY STEWART NOTES & QUOTES
KYLE BUSCH LOOKING FOR FIRST MARTINSVILLE WIN
RCR MARTINSVILLE PREVIEW
ROUSH-FENWAY RACING MARTINSVILLE NOTES & QUOTES
JIMMIE JOHNSON NOTES & QUOTES
JEFF GORDON NOTES & QUOTES
DENNY HAMLIN LOOKING FOR 4TH STRAIGHT MARTINSVILLE WIN