Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Mark Martin 2012 Brickyard 400 Preview: Expect a Start up Front

Expect Martin to have great Brickyard 400, maybe even get first win (Getty) 
CORNELIUS, N.C. – No. 55 Aaron’s Dream Machine Toyotadriver Mark Martin is the best qualifier in the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup season—and he’s raced in just 12 of the season’s 19 races. The Michael Waltrip Racing driver owns three poles and an average start of 7.8—the most poles and best average of any driver. Not only does a pole give the No. 55 the top starting spot when the green flag drops, it also gives crew chief Rodney Childers the first pick of the 43 pit stalls for race day. A pit stall with an adjacent opening for easy access could shave a second or two off each pit stop. In 2012 a second saved on pit lane means several positions on the track.

1 Mark Martin 7.8
2 Kasey Kahne 7.9
3 Greg Biffle 8.5
4 Ryan Newman 8.9
5 Kevin Harvick 10.8
*Drivers with more than 5 starts

1 Mark Martin 3
2 Kasey Kahne 2
3 Marcos Ambrose 2
4 Greg Biffle 2
5 10 drivers tied 1

MARK MARTIN: “(Crew Chief) Rodney Childers and his guys have given me the fastest cars this year and it’s a lot easier to win a pole with the fastest car. (Laughs) Seriously, qualifying has always been important. As racers any time you have a chance to compete you want to win whether it’s qualifying, practice or the race. A good starting spot enables you to gain certain advantages on race day. You get to pick the pit you want, you start up front where there is a less likelihood of trouble, and it’s a confidence builder for both the driver and team. Plus, in this day and age with all the media focused on NASCAR, that pole gives a sponsor like Aaron’s or any sponsor a lot of attention. The race is always the priority. We’ve been good in qualifying this year, but we’ve run just as well in the races. We’ve had some mechanical issues late in three races that keep the score sheet from showing how good we’ve been. But qualifying is the first step to making the race a success.”

MICHAEL WALTRIP ON MARK MARTIN: “You realize there are people who come along every now and then who are just special. Mark Martin is one of them. To win a pole at Dover you have to be about half spun out, but then you also have to have the throttle wide open while you are half spun out. It seems like something happens right in the middle of the turn that Mark does better than anyone else. He just runs through the middle so fast. He told me at Dover that he got in the gas and he had the throttle three-quarters of the way down withthe back hanging out. He said he just held it three-quarters of the way down, the back stayed out there the whole time and he finally got it wide open and won the pole. What I just said sounds easy to do. Anyone can do that, right? But that was at 160 mph! There aren’t many drivers who can do that.”

· CHASSIS: 726 – finished 12th at Fontana and 20th at Darlington with Martin behind the wheel. Backup – 732 finished 34th at Charlotte.
· INDIANAPOLIS: In 18 starts Martin owns six top-five finishes – only Jeff Gordon’s 10 is better. Martin has not finished outside the top eight in the last seven races and not outside the top 11 in the last nine races.
· POLES: Martin owns three poles and five top 10s in just 12 races in 2012. He won his third pole of the 2012 season and 54th of his career at Dover on June 2. Only seven drivers have won more Sprint Cup poles in their careers. Martin also owns 30 Nationwide and three Camping World Truck Series poles.
· BRICKYARD 400: Only Mark Martin, Jeff Gordon, Bobby Labonte, and Jeff Burton have raced in all 18 Brickyard 400 races at Indianapolis.
· CAREER: Martin owns 842 Sprint Cup starts, 236 Nationwide starts and 25 starts in the truck series.
· MWR CO-OWNER ROB KAUFFMAN: Kauffman and co-driver Rui Aguas will race the AF Waltrip Racing Ferrari in Friday’s Rolex Sports car race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. SPEED-TV will air the three-hour race live at 4 p.m. ET.
· RETURN: Mark Martin last raced on June 17 at Michigan. Michael Waltrip drove the No. 55 in the Kentucky and Daytona races and Brian Vickers drove it at New Hampshire.
· AARON’S: It’s Christmas in July at Aaron’s. So Aaron’s wants you to have a $25 Aaron’s gift card. Get yours today at Aarons.com.
· 2012 MWR: MWR’s three fulltime Sprint Cup teams are within the top 12 in owner points. Martin Truex’s No. 56 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota is eighth in driver and owner points, Clint Bowyer’s No. 15 5-hour ENERGY Toyota is ninth in driver and owner points and the No. 55 Aaron’s Dream Machine is 12th in owner points.
· MWR IN 2012: MWR’s five Cup Series drivers have scored a combined record of one win (Bowyer at Sonoma), 12 top-five and 27 top-10 finishes through the first 19 starts of the season. Four of the five drivers have recorded two or more top-five finishes – Truex Jr. has four, Bowyer has three and Mark Martin and Brian Vickers each have two. All five drivers, including Michael Waltrip, have recorded a top-10.
· LEADING THE WAY: MWR’s Toyotas have led 623 laps in the first 19 Sprint Cup Series races of 2012.Martin Truex Jr. leads the MWR charge with 320 laps, followed by Brian Vickers with 125, Martin with 79, Bowyer with 78 and Waltrip with 21.
· TESTING AT MICHIGAN: All three MWR teams are scheduled to participate in the Goodyear Tire Test at Michigan International Speedway on Monday, July 30. Clint Bowyer in the No. 15 Toyota, Martin Truex Jr. in the No. 56 and Mark Martin in the No. 55.

· No. 55 2012 Driver Schedule
Aug. 5 Pocono – Martin
Aug. 12 Watkins Glen- Vickers
Aug. 19 Michigan – Martin
Aug. 25 Bristol – Vickers
Sept. 2 Atlanta – Martin
Sept. 8 Richmond – Martin
Sept. 16 Chicago – Martin
Sept. 23 NHMS – Vickers
Sept. 30 Dover – Martin
Oct. 7 Talladega – Waltrip
Oct. 13 Charlotte – Martin
Oct. 21 Kansas – Martin
Oct. 28 Martinsville- Vickers
Nov. 4 Texas – Martin
Nov. 11 Phoenix – Martin
Nov. 18 Homestead – Martin

- Michael Waltrip Racing

ODDS: Mark Martin is listed at 15-to-1 to win according to the LVH Super Book in Las Vegas.

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