CORNELIUS, N.C. — Keep your eye on Mark Martin this weekend at Michigan International Speedway. Both he and the racetrack should be very fast.
MIS became NASCAR’s fastest racetrack in June with a pole speed of 203.241 mph. After experiencing some blistering, Goodyear selected a new tire combination for the two-mile racetrack – a combination of the original tires from the April test and a slightly softer version of the harder tire used during the June race. About 25 NASCAR Sprint Cup cars returned to MIS on July 30 to test the tire combination and Martin’s No. 55 Aaron’s Dream Machine Toyota was at the top of the chart.
MARTIN ON MICHIGAN: “I thought we ran really well there in June. We had some bad luck at the end of the race that cost us a seventh-place finish. I was hoping we would be good when we went back for the tire test and it seemed like we ran just as good this time. We are all excited about going back. It’s funny, but you never know what is going to happen. Sometimes you go somewhere and you are good but you aren’t when you go back. I’m as confident as I can be this weekend. Goodyear made a few changes from the last race. The left side is different but it’s a very subtle change. I think you’ll see some pretty high speeds but I think you’ll see some good racing as well.”
MWR SUCCESS: “I am really lucky to be driving such great equipment now. Toyota has done a great job. That’s one of the reasons why MWR’s cars are so fast now. Toyota has done a great job on our engines and our horsepower is way up there. These things are coming down the straightaways like you wouldn’t believe. I feel real fortunate. My crew chief Rodney Childers is sharp. I had no idea until I got a chance to work with him. This is as good of race team as I had in 2009.”
- MICHIGAN: In 53 Sprint Cup starts at Michigan, Martin owns five victories (the most of any track), five poles, 18 top-five and 31 top-10 finishes. He’s led 911 laps.
- WINS: Martin owns 40 Sprint Cup, 49 Nationwide and seven truck series victories. He’s led 12,663 laps in Sprint Cup competition. Martin has started 844 Sprint Cup races, 236 Nationwide starts and 25 truck events.
- POLES: Martin won three poles and posted five top 10s in just 14 races in 2012. He won his third pole of the 2012 season and 54th of his career at Dover on June 2. Only seven drivers have won more Sprint Cup poles in their careers. Martin also owns 30 Nationwide and three Camping World Truck Series poles.
Date Friday Aug. 17
Practice 12:30 p.m. SPEED
Qualifying 4:00 p.m. SPEED
Date Saturday Aug. 18
Practice 11:00 a.m. SPEED
Date Sunday Aug. 19
Race 1:00 p.m. ESPN