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Darlington Raceway is Martin's top opponent this weekend

Darlington Raceway is Martin's top opponent this weekend

DARLINGTON, S.C. – Mark Martin expects his biggest rival this weekend will be Darlington Raceway; not necessarily his fellow NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers.

“Darlington is called ‘Too Tough to Tame’ for a reason,” said Lance McGrew, crew chief of the No. 5 Chevrolet. “The drivers are right on the edge out there every lap. If they get into that corner just a little bit deeper, they’re going to hit the wall. It’s so difficult, when you’re out there on the track, to remember to race the racetrack and not the guy next to you. You’ll get in trouble every lap if you forget that at all.”

“All the drivers like it because it’s a track that really puts the race into the driver’s hands,” Martin said.  “It’s intense for sure. I’m a driver who likes to slide my car all around the racetrack, but that’s impossible at Darlington. If you slide at all, you’re going to end up in the wall for sure.”

In 2009, the No. 5 Chevrolet driver successfully overcame the challenges of the 1.366-mile track. After starting 12th, the No. 5 team battled back from a loose lug nut during a pit stop on Lap 162 and led the final 46 laps to Victory Lane. His first win at the historic racetrack happened in 1993, when he led 178 laps.

Along with his two career victories, Martin has earned 17 top-five finishes and 26 top-10s in 44 Sprint Cup starts at the short track. Martin is heading to the 367-lap Cup event ranked 13th in the driver points standings.

Saturday night’s race will air at 7:30 p.m. ET on FOX.