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Martin tries a different outlook

Mark Martin puts his dislike of Talladega to one side as he looks to keep NASCAR Sprint Cup title hopes alive
Mark Martin was talking to millions of race fans a couple of weeks ago during an interview at Lowe's Motor Speedway, but quite clearly, he was also talking to himself.

His message: He will not let his dislike of racing at Talladega Superspeedway come between him and the Sprint Cup championship he so badly wants.

“I refuse to be concerned about Talladega,” Martin said that day. “I refuse.”

This Sunday, Martin's resolute words and attitude will be put to the test because the drivers in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup will do their thing in the Amp Energy 500 at nasty, unpredictable and potentially dangerous Talladega.

Oh, boy, and happy Halloween.

Some drivers find going flat-footed all the way around the 2.66-mile oval exhilarating.

Others simply suck it up when the series takes to the church-roof-steep banking at NASCAR's biggest track.

And some think there is something unnatural — and wrong — about putting a 3,400-pound stock car on superspeedway with 33-degree banking that produces speeds well in excess of 200 mph.

Martin has not been shy about proclaiming himself to be part of Group Three over the years.

In fact, he felt so strongly about not wanting to race at Talladega that he didn't. In 2007, Martin semi-retired from Sprint Cup. He left his longtime home at Roush Racing and took a job with MB2 because the folks there would allow him to compete on a part-time basis.

Martin was able to pick and choose the races he wanted to drive in, and among the first things he did was dump the races at Talladega.

For two entire seasons, Martin did yard work at home when the Cup cars were beating each other's fenders off at Talladega.

He returned to Talladega for the first time since 2006 in the spring. He had to. He had committed to run for a championship for new team owner Rick Hendrick, and that meant driving in 36 races in 2009 and that meant driving at Talladega.

This weekend, Martin will be back at the place, and how twisted is it that he will need to show well there — perhaps win — if he is to remain a serious threat to win this year's Chase?

Martin is second in points, 118 behind teammate Jimmie Johnson, who is going for his fourth straight championship. And unless Martin wins Sunday on his least favorite track, and/or Johnson has big trouble, Martin could leave Talladega all but eliminated from contention. Twisted.

Hence his attitude in recent weeks.




Related Pictures

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Mark Martin - Hendrick Motorsports
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Pro Services Chevrolet, and Clint Bowyer, driver of the #15 5-hour Energy Toyota, lead a pack of cars during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series IRWIN Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 22, 2015 in Bristol, Tennessee.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)
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Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Ground Toyota, and Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 Skittles Toyota, lead the field past the green flag to start the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series IRWIN Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 22, 2015 in Bristol, Tennessee.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, leads a pack of cars during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series IRWIN Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 22, 2015 in Bristol, Tennessee.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, takes the chequered flag to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series IRWIN Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 22, 2015 in Bristol, Tennessee.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, celebrates with the chequered flag after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series IRWIN Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 22, 2015 in Bristol, Tennessee.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series IRWIN Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 22, 2015 in Bristol, Tennessee.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series IRWIN Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 22, 2015 in Bristol, Tennessee.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series IRWIN Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 22, 2015 in Bristol, Tennessee.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series IRWIN Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 22, 2015 in Bristol, Tennessee.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS, finishes in ninth place Saturday night, August 22, 2015 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS, finishes in second place Saturday night, August 22, 2015 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe’s Pro Services Chevrolet SS, finishes in fourth place Saturday night, August 22, 2015 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS, finishes in second place Saturday night, August 22, 2015 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
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Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS, qualifies for eleventh position Friday, August 21, 2015 for Saturday night`s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee. Busch is eighth in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe’s Pro Services Chevrolet SS, qualifies for tenth position Friday, August 21, 2015 for Saturday night`s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee. Johnson is sixth in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/HHP for Chevy Racing)

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