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Martin off to one of his best career starts

HAMPTON, Ga. (March 6, 2010)— When Mark Martin lines up for Sunday’s KOBALT Tools 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway, he will be in one of the best points positions he’s been in during his veteran career three races into a season.

For just the fourth time since 1982—which is when the NASCAR veteran first raced a complete schedule in the elite series—Martin enters the fourth race of the NASCAR Sprint Cup season ranked third in the driver standings. He will start Sunday’s 325-lap event at Atlanta from the fourth.

This Sunday, Martin and the No. 5 team will race a specially-painted blue-and-black Hendrickcars.com/GoDaddy.com paint scheme on their Chevrolet Impala SS. Martin enters the 500.5-mile event with two fourth-place finishes and one pole position under his belt this season. He is one of only three drivers to have two top-five finishes so far; teammate Jimmie Johnson and Kevin Harvick are the other two.

Last year at Atlanta, Martin was ranked 34th in the driver standings and started from the pole. He raced his way into the top 10 before a blown tire on Lap 216 gave the team a 31st-place finish. Martin rebounded in the fall event at Atlanta with a fifth-place finish at the 1.54 mile racetrack.

“Every time I’ve been to Atlanta I’ve had a great race car,” Martin said. “Both races last year, we were real, real good. The tire, of course, bit us in the first race, but we had a car capable of winning. I’m sure we’ll have a good car again this weekend. The guys on this team have given me great race cars in the first three races this year, and I know I’ll have another one this weekend.”

The race is scheduled to begin Sunday at 1 p.m. ET on FOX.

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