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Martin eyes first Daytona 500 win in 52nd Cup start at the historic speedway

Martin eyes first Daytona 500 win in 52nd Cup start at the historic speedway

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Mark Martin, driver of the No. 5 Chevrolet, will make his 52nd NASCAR Sprint Cup Series start at Daytona International Speedway on Sunday. In his previous 51 starts there, he has earned nine top-five finishes and 17 top-10s.

Martin, who has started the Great American Race 26 times, nearly won his first Daytona 500 in 2007 when he crossed the finish line .020-seconds behind Kevin Harvick. The margin of victory marked the closest recorded at Daytona during the 500-mile event. Daytona International Speedway is one of just four active Sprint Cup tracks where Martin has yet to earn a victory.

Through preseason testing sessions and racing action at Daytona, Martin has had experience at the repaved speedway. Most recently, he finished his Gatorade Duel 150 event eighth, which led his Hendrick Motorsports teammates, all who finished in the top 13. Martin will start 17th in Sunday’s Daytona 500.

As Martin begins his 28th Cup season, he is focused on his goals for 2011.

“I want to contribute,” Martin said. “I want Hendrick Motorsports to be glad that I was here. I really would like to be able to help Lance achieve the results and recognition that he is so capable of. This sport has been my life; it’s been so good to me and I want to see other people succeed. If we succeed with Lance, I’ll get my success as well.”

The Daytona 500 will air Sunday at 1 p.m. ET on FOX.