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Martin ready to race Impala at Bristol

BRISTOL, Tenn. (March 20, 2009) – Although he has yet to race an Impala SS around Bristol Motor Speedway, Mark Martin knows a thing or two when it comes to competing at the short track.

The veteran driver earned his first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victory there on Aug. 28, 1993, after he started from the pole position and led 67 laps. His second win happened on Aug. 22, 1998—he started fourth and led 190 laps that day.

In 40 Cup starts at Bristol, the No. 5 CARQUEST/Kellogg’s Chevrolet driver has accumulated seven pole positions—the most at any venue for the NASCAR veteran—as well as 15 top-five finishes and 21 top-10s.

This weekend will mark Martin’s first time on the track since August 2006, which means he has yet to race there in an Impala SS since the track’s reconfiguration in 2007. However, Martin got a taste of the speedway in 2007, when he tested a Car of Tomorrow, and he isn’t worried about this weekend.

“I have tested there, and I raced the truck on the new configuration once,” Martin said. “I don’t mean to be overly confident, but it’s just a racetrack. I’m not concerned at all about neither having raced a COT there or not having a ton of experience. It’s just a racetrack. I don’t think it will be any problem for us.”

Martin draws even more encouragement from his team, which visited Victory Lane under the leadership of crew chief Alan Gustafson on March 25, 2007. The win was historic, as the No. 5 team earned first victory in NASCAR’s Car of Tomorrow as well as the 600th for Chevrolet and the 200th NASCAR victory for Hendrick Motorsports.

“Alan’s won there with the COT,” Martin said. “He has a really good understanding of what we need for setup stuff, and he’s been on the money everywhere else.  It’s just another track to us. I’m certainly not concerned.”