Follow me on

Twitter Feed Facebook Feed RSS Feed Linked In Youtube

Mark Martin just keeps on hitting them right out of park

  Mark Martin (here backed by team owner Rick Hendrick in the white shirt, and crew chief Alan Gustafson right behind him) is one of the hottest drivers in NASCAR, and on a championship run (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)

   By Mike Mulhern

   Just call him T-Rex -- Mark Martin grabbed the pole Saturday afternoon for Sunday's Brickyard Allstate 400, and Juan Pablo Montoya made it an all-Chevy front row for the second biggest race of the NASCAR season, the 16th running of the sport's annual midsummer classic at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. 
   "That lap was far from optimum. The car was capable of more," Martin said after his run at 182.054 mph, which makes him the oldest pole winner ever for a major event at this track.
   "The track takes so long to get around, by the time I got to turn three, I was scared. By the time I got to three, I had barely survived three corners, and that fourth corner I just drew back a little bit.
   "It was sliding a lot more than expected."
   Jeff Gordon, Martin's teammate, wasn't all that pleased with his afternoon, 22nd fastest: "We were off a little bit Friday, so we had to make some pretty big changes. I think we made some improvements, but we are still fighting it a little bit.
   "So we will come from behind.
    "The tires are good enough to where we can maybe play around with some pit strategy. Hopefully we can have a car that can drive up through the field. We certainly have our work cut out for us. But we are up for the challenge."
    Matt Kenseth, who opened the season with wins at Daytona and California before hitting a deep slump, will start deep in the field. It's been a ragged season: "I didn't think we would be running this bad.  But the whole organization right now, I think, is just behind. 
    "It's way more a struggle every week than it should be. It's probably the biggest struggle I've ever had in the 10 years I've here."
    Teammate Carl Edwards might agree, after posting only the 44th fastest lap of the afternoon: "That's bad. 
   "We just have to work harder on our qualifying.  I just couldn't get it into the corner.  The entry of the corner it feels like you're going to wreck. 
    "It's really hard to get a lap, and I missed the line into two because I turned in and felt the rear end come around just a little and chased it, and I could never get it back down on the bottom.
    "We've just got work to do on our qualifying.  This is about the worst we've ever been. But maybe it's what we need right now to remind us that that's important too."
Qualifying for Indy's Brickyard Allstate 400


Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Enter the characters shown in the image.

© 2010-2011 www.mikemulhern.net All rights reserved.
Web site by www.webdesigncarolinas.com