To hear Mark Martin talk at Texas, the driver of the #5 Chevrolet is realistic - and resigned to finishing no better than second in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.

Martin's hope for a first championship took a serious blow in a wild wreck last Sunday at Talladega. On the final green-flag lap of the Amp Energy 500, Martin's Chevy turned upside-down after being blindsided in a 13-car collision.

Though Martin said he would have preferred to go down racing, he was generous in his praise of teammate Jimmie Johnson, who leads Martin by 184 points with three races left in the Chase.

"Obviously, the performance of the #48 has been phenomenal, and we've given it a good fight, but we haven't quite matched their performance - although we gave him a pretty good run until Martinsville and Charlotte," Martin said. "That's all we can do.

"I want to go down racing and not like that (at Talladega). But you know what, we raced. We raced all day. We raced like we just couldn't be in a wreck. I was in one I didn't even see. I never even knew I was going to be in that wreck until I was turning over. So, what the hay?"

by Reid Spencer/Sporting News

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