Martin Set For Summer

Mark Martin and the No. 6 team will start out next week testing at Lowe's Motor Speedway in preparation for May's back-to-back duo of event at the 1.5-mile speedway. Martin will be making his 15th run in the Nextel Cup All-Star challenge on May 22, before starting his 21st Coca-Cola 600 on May 30.

Martin won the All-Star event in 1998 and most recently the 600 in 2002. The team will be looking to repeat those feats this season and hope to get off to a head start with Monday's test, just as they did in 2002.

"That team really went after that win," said Martin. "After we made the No Bull 5 in Vegas, they said they were going to win that race. They built us a new car and called me and asked me how I felt about testing at Charlotte. We did all of that and when we won that race I really felt like they gave that to me and it was really special. Matt and Arlene were there and they hadn't been there when I had won before that in Martinsville, so it was just a special night for the team, my family and myself.

"That really set the tone for us that season. We used that momentum to keep getting better and better and we ended up coming just short of a championship."

Martin's 11th-place finish at California moved him up to 13th in the Nextel Cup point standings, 113 points outside of the coveted top-10. With NASCAR's new point system it will be pivotal to get back inside the top 10 and the next six point races will be crucial for the No. 6 Viagra Racing Team.

The high note is the next six tracks are all strong spots for the veteran Martin, who has finished inside the top 10 in 60 percent of his almost 200 combined races at Richmond, Lowe's, Dover, Pocono, Michigan and Sonoma. Furthermore, almost 50 percent of Martin’s 206 top-five finishes in Cup racing have come at those six tracks.

"This is a good race team," said crew chief Pat Tryson. "We've had some really good cars and the team has done an excellent job, especially in the last three races. The finish didn't show it, but we had an excellent car at Martinsville. We were right in the thick of things at Talladega and the car was solid last week, although it wavered a bit during the race.

"We just have to keep getting better each week and we’ve done that. We'll keep working at it and eventually it will pay off. Everyone understands what they have to do, and it's just time to go out and do it. We have all the confidence in the world in Mark behind the wheel and we know he’ll get the job done. It's just up to us to put him in a position to take us there. We want to run up front and we plan on winning races this year, it's just a matter of finding those last few pieces of the puzzle that are going to put us there."

"I love this team," said Martin. "They never give up. The stops are fast and the cars keep getting better and better. Pat and Wally (Brown) have done an excellent job with the cars and the team and we seem more solid every week. All we need is for the right things to come together and I know that we can put a strong run together this summer and get back in that top 10. All we have to do is get there after 26 races and it’ll be a whole new race then."

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