LONG POND, Pa. – Pocono Raceway is one of only four tracks where Mark Martin has yet to visit Victory Lane. For Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup event, Martin is hoping lessons learned from the past will give him a chance to conquer the 2.5-mile track.
“Well, it looks like Mother Nature may be our biggest competitor right now” said the driver of the No. 5 Farmers Insurance/GoDaddy.com Chevrolet. “We’ve struggled a bit at Pocono in both races last year. The tires would be so, so good at the start of the run, but as soon as they wore out we were just too loose. We showed improvement in the second race, and I think we learned a lot. Hopefully we’ll unload off the truck pretty good and not be fighting the handling too bad early on.”
Last August, Martin qualified 10th at Pocono and employed a late-race, right-side tire only pit call to remain inside the top 10 and score a seventh-place finish for the No. 5 team. In 48 Cup starts there, the veteran driver has scored 19 top-five finishes, 33 top-10s, three pole positions and taken runner-up honors at Pocono six times. Martin most recently earned a runner-up finish at the triangular track in August 2004.
For Sunday’s race at Pocono, Farmers Insurance will return to the hood of the No. 5 Chevrolet for the second straight weekend and the third race this year. Farmers announced this week that it has signed a three-year partnership agreement to be a majority sponsor on the No. 5 Chevrolet starting in 2012.
“This is the third week we’ve had them on the car this year, and I can attest to the fact that this is a smart, business savvy company that gets NASCAR and really gets the fans,” Martin said. “They’re not going to be just a name thrown on a car. They’re going to get involved and really entrench themselves in the sport. I’m really happy that the (No.) 5 team will be set for next year.”
Tune in Sunday at 1 p.m. ET on TNT to watch Martin and his Hendrick Motorsports teammates compete in the 500-mile event.