Racenight: California

The pressure's on Mark Martin, make no mistake about it.

The veteran comes into Sunday night's Sony HD 500 at California Speedway tenth in the point standings and fighting for his life to make the "Chase for the NEXTEL Cup."

So his plans for next season are the furthest thing from Martin's mind.

"Our car is really good," Martin said after leading practice on Saturday. "It shouldn't be any problem if we don't have anymore trouble, but it's real close. We went from fourth to tenth last week and if we don't have any trouble this week, we should be better than tenth when it's over with."

Martin may have stumbled the last few weeks, including last Saturday night's 28th place finish in the Sharpie 500 at Bristol, but he remains focused on the job at hand.

"We've got a "Chase" to make and then we've got a championship to run for, so let's not get too caught up in what comes down the road past that," Martin said about talk of next season. "The things that are in front of us are what really are important."

But despite his downplaying the situation, car owner Jack Roush continues to look ahead and wants Martin in his NEXTEL Cup plans in 2007.

"I think Jack wants to hang on to what we have because we had it for so long and that holding onto it means that we're not getting old," Martin said. "That might be part of it too. I don't know. Jack's a great guy. He's a friend for life and it means a lot for him to be in here fighting to keep me in rather than pushing me out."

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