By Toby Christie (Originally appeared on RubbingsRacing.com)
Bad news for Mark Martin, he was a shadow of his former self on road courses with a 23rdplace showing at Watkins Glen. The finish has moved Martin backwards in the points to 11th place. The team says they just couldn’t get a handle on the setup all day long, but I believe Mark’s day was terrible because he hasn’t ran a road course race since the 2006 season.
Regardless of why there is now no margin for error, any slip up and Mark will be teetering out of the chase.
The Good news for the #5 team led by Alan Gustafson is that they’ve thrived in this position all season long. Just when it looks like they are down and out they pull out an incredible race to save themselves. Their record speaks for itself… they have six races of 30th or worse, but they have come back every time when they desperately needed to. As a result Mark Martin leads the Sprint Cup Series with four wins in 2009.
I see this week going much the same way.
Last time we came to Michigan Mark Martin came in 13th in the points, and needing a huge race. Martin indeed had an incredible race, he looked strong all day, but just didn‘t have enough for Jimmie Johnson and Greg Biffle. This wouldn’t stop him though as he managed his fuel a lot smarter than the two drivers ahead of him. Mark went on to win in a dramatic last lap finish.
The win propelled Mark back up to 8th in points…
But that was then and this is now, and Mark needs a great run now more than ever. I expect a great week for Mark Martin because this resilient team just wont go away.