PHOENIX — With his win in the Subway Fresh Fit 500, Mark Martin became the fourth NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver 50 or older to go to victory lane.The other three were Harry Gant (52), Morgan Shepherd (50) and Bobby Allison (50).
Martin started from the pole and led 157 of 312 laps.
“I hoped it would happen,” said Martin. “But I didn’t expect it to happen. I only hoped. But Rick Hendrick, you know, I sat and watched him make Tim Richmond’s dreams come true from being sick, and this may not be as dramatic, but it’s big to me.
“But you know, the response from the competitors means much more than the trophy, and that was an incredible … really, really incredible, from all of the crew guys to all of the guys, including Jack Roush, who seemed genuinely happy. And Jack and I are at tight as we have ever been and have been through all of this.
“It’s just, like I said, I hoped it would happen, but you know, it’s asking a lot, man.”
Tony Stewart finished a close second.
“It seemed like what we fought, we fought all night and it didn’t really change for us. As it got a little bit cooler it got more grip, but that’s Phoenix,” said Stewart. “I think for us, it’s been refreshing. Just when you’ve never had a start like this to the season, it’s nice to finally have one. It’s amazing to think that with a new team we can go out and have this kind of a start to the year.”
Kurt Busch ran up front for most of the race and finished third.
“I felt like we started the race on the tight side, and then we were having trouble putting the power down off turn four when the sun was out. I ignored how loose the car was on power down because I felt like that would go away with the sun setting, and it did, but we were a bit on the tight side, and so I had to loosen up the race car. When I did that, the crew got me out in front, we led some laps out in the lead and felt comfortable up there.”
Jimmie Johnson, Greg Biffle, Denny Hamlin, Martin Truex, David Reutimann, Sam Hornish and Carl Edwards rounded out the top-10 finishers.
Top 12 Chase contenders after 8 of 36: 1. J. Gordon-1,242, 2. Johnson-1,157, 3. Ku. Busch-1,144, 4. Stewart-1,138, 5. Hamlin-1,088, 6. Bowyer-1,052, 7. Ky. Busch-1,026, 8. Edwards-1,023, 9. Reutimann-992, 10. Kahne-975, 11. Burton-953, 12. Kenseth 946.
Biffle Takes Nationwide Race
Greg Biffle won the Bashas’ Supermarket 200 at Phoenix. It was Biffle’s first win of the season and it gave car owner Jack Roush, his 100th victory.
Kyle Busch took over the points lead from Carl Edwards, who dropped to second.
Top 10 points leaders after 7 of 35: 1. Ky. Busch-1,075, 2. Edwards-1,028, Ragan-949, 4. Leffler-932, 5. Brad Keselowski-898, 6. Logano-893, 7. Gaughan-822, 8. Allgaier-818, 9. Bliss-789, 10. Bliss-789.
Weekend Racing Schedule
The Sprint Cup and Nationwide teams will be at the 2.66-mile Talladega Superspeedway, while the Craftsman Trucks are at Kansas Speedway.
Saturday, April 25
Nationwide Series Aaron’s 312, race 8 of 35; Starting time: 2:30 p.m. (EDT); TV: ESPN2.
Camping World Series O’Reilly Auto Parts 250, race 5 of 25; Starting time: 5:30 p.m. (EDT); TV: Speed Channel.
Sunday, April 26
Sprint Cup Aaron’s 499, race 9 of 36; Starting time: 1 p.m. (EDT); TV: FOX.
Racing Trivia Question: Who will AJ Allmendinger be driving for in 2010?
Last Week’s Question: Who does Clint Bowyer drive for?
Answer: He drives the No. 33 Richard Childress Chevrolet in the Cup Series.