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Double-duty at Las Vegas gives Martin 1,052 combined NASCAR starts

Double-duty at Las Vegas gives Martin 1,052 combined NASCAR starts

LAS VEGAS  – Mark Martin will be pulling double duty this weekend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, competing in both NASCAR events -- the Nationwide Series event on Saturday and the Sprint Cup KOBALT Tools 400 on Sunday. In doing so, Martin will own the second-most combined starts in NASCAR history -- 1,052 total.

“This will be a busy weekend for me for sure,” Martin said. “It’s been a while since I’ve run both races, and I’ll have to quickly get used to running between garages and the debriefs. It’ll be busy, but it’s also double the chance at getting a win. If I can score two-out-of-two, now that’s a good weekend.”

Martin will be racing the No. 32 Chevrolet for Turner Motorsports in Saturday’s Nationwide event, which will be held at 3 p.m. ET on ABC at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Crew chief Lance McGrew believes the extra seat time will benefit his driver for Sunday’s Sprint Cup race, which will be held at 3 p.m. Pre-race coverage begins at 2:30 p.m. ET on FOX.

“The new Nationwide cars are actually pretty similar to the Cup cars now,” McGrew said. “With that in mind, I think there’s definitely an advantage to running both races. Mark will get the opportunity to lean how the track has changed and explore different lines on the track during Saturday’s race.”

Martin will couple his preparation with experience when he climbs into the No. 5 Chevrolet for Sunday’s race. Martin was the first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver to visit Victory Lane at the 1.5-mile racetrack on March 1, 1998, and most recently he partnered with McGrew for a Nationwide victory there in 2008.

Along with Martin’s 1998 victory, he has posted five top-five finishes and nine top-10s in his previous 13 Cup starts. At last year’s Las Vegas race, Martin started eighth and, with the help of a late two-tire pit stop, raced into the top five and secured a fourth-place finish.

Martin currently is ranked sixth in the driver standings, and is hoping this weekend’s Cup race won’t be as eventful as the first two his team has encountered this season. During the first Cup races at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway and Phoenix International Raceway, the No. 5 team rebounded from incidents during the race to finish 10th and 13th, respectively.

“If we ever get a race where our nose stays on, we’ll definitely see how good this team is,” Martin said, with a laugh. “These guys have really impressed me. We made a lot of changes to the car during the practice sessions at Phoenix, and they worked hard. I worked them hard. And we got better and better. For the second straight week then, they had to completely rebuild a section of our car on pit road. They’re good. And they’re quick. I’m anxious to keep this season going and see what we’ve got for everyone out there."