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Martin, McGrew ready for season kickoff at Daytona

Martin, McGrew ready for season kickoff at Daytona

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Feb. 8, 2011) – Mark Martin, driver of the No. 5 Chevrolet, returns to the wheel on Feb. 12 for the Budweiser Shootout to begin his third and final year of NASCAR Sprint Cup competition with Hendrick Motorsports.

Martin will be making his 23rd appearance in the Shootout, the most of any full-time Sprint Cup driver. He made his first start in the exhibition race in 1982 when he finished eighth in the 13-car field, and he won the event in 1999. Last year, Martin finished 20th at Daytona International Speedway after being involved in a last-lap, multi-car accident.

The Shootout also will mark the first time Martin and crew chief Lance McGrew will partner on the No. 5 team. But this isn’t the first time they’ve worked together. McGrew and Martin previously found success together in 2008, when they recorded a NASCAR Nationwide Series victory at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. McGrew and Martin have tested together three times throughout the offseason, and Martin is excited about working with the No. 5 team again.

“This is a great race team,” Martin said. “They were whipping out awesome pit stops last year. Lance and I have a great track record -- we worked together once and won. Lance is fun. We have an immense depth of talent within this team. I’m real impressed with the guys and their knowledge. We want to have fun, race hard and enjoy this opportunity that we all have.”

McGrew has chosen Hendrick Motorsports Chassis No. 5-575 for the Shootout. Most recently, Dale Earnhardt Jr. drove this chassis to a fourth-place finish at Daytona last July. Now as the crew chief for Martin’s No. 5 team, McGrew will adjust this car to his new driver’s needs.

“Lance builds a Hendrick Motorsports car, and then tries to figure out how to tailor it for me set-up wise,” said Martin. “There was a time when the cars really had to be built differently for each driver. That’s just not the case anymore. Lance has all the notes from the last two years. I’m sure we’ll use that as clues to where we want to start.”