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Martin, No. 5 team prepares to test in Las Vegas

LAS VEGAS (Dec. 2, 2008) – Mark Martin officially will begin his tenure in the Kellogg’s/CARQUEST Chevrolet when he tests with the No. 5 team at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Dec. 10-11. The test, which is closed to the media and fans, will be hosted by Goodyear and focus on tire wear and selection for the March 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup event.

The test will be Martin’s third time behind the wheel of the Kellogg’s/CARQUEST Chevy. Martin participated in one four-hour test session at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in September and also in a two-day Goodyear tire test at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in October.

“Those two days in Vegas are going to be, quite possibly, the two most important days of our 2009 season,” crew chief Alan Gustafson said. “With NASCAR’s latest ‘no testing’ rule, we are very fortunate to have been invited by Goodyear to this test. This gives us two extra days on an intermediate track that only two other teams are getting. We need to maximize that time all we can.”

Recent NASCAR rule changes prohibit teams from testing on NASCAR-sanctioned tracks, but this test was unaffected as it is scheduled by Goodyear.  NASCAR teams are allowed to test at any track on the schedule up until the Jan. 1, 2009 cutoff date.

Gustafson claims that, while the new rule may greatly affect some racing teams, the advantage this team has is its driver.

“Mark’s so good in the car, he’s had so much experience and seen so many things, that he’s kind of like having a 130-pound data acquisition setup in our car,” Gustafson recently told the Associated Press.

“He’s going to be a big help to the (No.) 5 team, and he’ll be a big help to all of Hendrick Motorsports.”

Martin, Gustafson and the No. 5 team will kick-off the 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway in February.

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