Hendrick Motorsports

5 24 48 88


Martin ready for road course return

SONOMA, Calif. (June 19, 2009) – It’s been three years since Mark Martin competed at Infineon Raceway, but the NASCAR veteran hasn’t forgotten the twists and turns involved in the 1.99-mile road course.

“I’ve had great runs out there and really good road course cars, and it’s a place that I have a lot of memories,” said Martin, driver of the No. 5 CARQUEST/Kellogg’s Chevrolet. “I haven’t been on a road course in three years, so this is going to be fun.”

Race coverage begins at 3:30 p.m. ET on TNT this Sunday, and the green flag is scheduled to drop at 5 p.m. Martin anticipates that NASCAR’s new rule on double-file restarts will add even more drama to the 110-lap event.

“If the fans like spins and unexpected twists and turns in these things, I think they’re in for it,” Martin said. “We generally only line up like that once a race, and that’s the start of the race when the intensity level is much lower, and it’s still a challenge to get up the hill side-by-side. So, trying to do it with increased intensity as the race wears on is going to make for increased difficulty for all of us to get through there cleanly.”

Martin, who ran a partial schedule in 2007 and 2008, last competed at the course in 2006. In 18 Cup starts at Infineon, Martin has one win, seven top-five finishes and 13 top-10s. He went to Victory Lane in 1997 after starting from the pole position. While he will draw upon that experience, he doesn’t expect his hiatus to play a part.

“It’s a very demanding course and a demanding race, and my not being out there isn’t really an issue,” Martin said. “I bring up my three-year absence because it’s a fact, but at the end of the day, it all comes down to the car and talent and not so much practice.

“Today it’s just a given that you have to perform. All the drivers and teams have to take it very, very seriously because you can’t afford to have an off day anywhere on the circuit.”