Martin Fastest At Homestead

Chase for the NASCAR Nextel Cup contender Mark Martin set the fastest lap Wednesday during the final day of testing in preparation for Ford Championship Weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway Nov 18-21.

Martin set a fast lap of 176.759 mph (30.55 sec). He was followed by fellow Chase for the NASCAR Nextel Cup contenders Jeff Gordon 175.382 mph (31.79 sec), Jimmie Johnson 174.081 mph (31.02 sec), Dale Earnhardt Jr. 173.633 mph (31.10 sec), and Tony Stewart with an identical fast lap as Earnhardt at 173.633 mph (31.10 sec).

Martin, who currently ranks fifth in the Chase for the NASCAR Nextel Cup, 102 points back of leader and teammate Kurt Busch. Like many of the drivers in the garage area during the two-day test, Martin was impressed with how the track has matured since last year's Ford Championship Weekend.

"The track was really awesome last year and racer friendly right out the box," said Martin. "It acts like it has aged four years in one year. It is one of the best repaved tracks I've ever raced on and I expect it to be even better this year."

When asked about his chances to win the Ford 400 and possibly his first NASCAR Nextel Cup Championship, Martin knows there are certain things that need to fall into place both this weekend at Darlington Raceway and next weekend at the season-finale in Miami.

"You are going to have to be in the top-five here (at Homestead-Miami Speedway) to win the championship," added Martin. "We will be giving it everything we have just like we do every week."

For more information, or to order tickets to Ford Championship Weekend, call (305) 230-RACE or log on

Unofficial times and speeds for selected drivers during NASCAR Nextel Cup Series Testing November 9-10 at Homestead-Miami Speedway:

November 10 (Day Two):
NASCAR Nextel Cup Series:

1. 6- Mark Martin- 30.55 sec, 176.759 mph
2. 24- Jeff Gordon 30.79 sec, 175.382 mph
3. 48- Jimmie Johnson- 31.02 sec, 174.081 mph
4. 8- Dale Earnhardt Jr- 31.10 sec, 173.633 mph
5. 20- Tony Stewart- 31.10 sec, 173.633 mph
6. 38- Elliott Sadler- 31.11 sec, 173.576 mph
7. 15- Michael Waltrip- 31.21 sec, 173.025 mph
8. 9- Kasey Kahne- 31.23 sec, 172.911 mph
9. 21- Ricky Rudd- 31.24 sec, 172.855 mph
10. 06- Travis Kvapil- 31.25 sec, 172.8mph

November 9 (Day One):
NASCAR Nextel Cup Series:

1. 24-Jeff Gordon- 31.00 sec, 174.194 mph
2. 8- Dale Earnhardt Jr- 31.01 sec, 174.137 mph
3. 6- Mark Martin- 31.09 sec, 173.689 mph
4. 48- Jimmie Johnson- 31.26 sec, 172.745 mph
5. 42- Jamie McMurray- 31.31 sec, 172.467 mph
6. 30- Jeff Burton- 31.38 sec, 172.084 mph
7. 21- Ricky Rudd- 31.40 sec, 171.975 mph
8. 18- Bobby Labonte- 31.42 sec, 171.865 mph
9. 20- Tony Stewart- 31.47 sec, 171.592 mph
10. 38- Elliott Sadler- 31.58 sec, 170.994 mph

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