NASCAR »

Martin expands Chase lead with New Hampshire win

Top seeding in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup must agree with Mark Martin, and on Sunday, he took the first step toward the championship that has eluded him for more than 20 years.

The driver of the #5 Chevrolet held off a ferocious charge by Juan Pablo Montoya on a restart with three laps left in the Sylvania 300 and won the race under caution when NASCAR threw the yellow flag as the lead pack streaked through turn four on the final lap.

With the victory, his first in 26 starts at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Martin increased his lead in the Cup standings to 35 points over three-time defending champion Jimmie Johnson, who ran fourth at the Magic Mile in the first race of the Chase, and Denny Hamlin, who finished second.

Hamlin got past Montoya before the final caution to grab the second spot, and Montoya got credit for third. Kyle Busch ran fifth, followed by Chase drivers Kurt Busch and Ryan Newman. Elliott Sadler, Chaser Greg Biffle and Clint Bowyer completed the top ten.

Martin, 50, gave crew chief Alan Gustafson credit for the victory. Under caution on lap 194 of 300, Gustafson kept Martin on the track with a small group of cars that did not pit. On lap 204, Martin passed Kurt Busch for the lead and held the top spot until he pitted on lap 243, earlier than any other top car.

After a cycle of stops that ended when Bobby Labonte pitted from the lead on lap 272, Martin regained the lead and held it for the remainder of the race, despite a spate of late cautions that necessitated three double-file restarts in the final 20 laps.

"Alan won the race," Martin said, after climbing from his car in victory lane. "Alan's the man. This is a dream come true. We still have the lotto at Talladega (Nov. 1), and (I) think we'll run OK at Martinsville. We finished (seventh) in the spring, but I don't run good there - but this is my hardest place. It's a tough place.

"But it's just these guys (the #5 crew). It's Alan and the guys that back him up and all the guys that surround him. He is the superstar today. I can't believe we won that race. It couldn't be easy. We had to have three caution restarts, and all kinds of chances for me to mess up - and I did, but just, I guess, not enough to lose."

Montoya, who climbed seven spots to fourth in the standings, said he was unprepared for a move that Martin made in the first set of corners on the next-to-last lap. The manoeuvre probably cost Montoya second place.




Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Mark Martin celebrates victory at Chicagoland
Kyle Larson, driver of the #42 ENEOS Chevrolet, is involved in an incident during the NASCAR Nationwide Series Food City 300 at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 22, 2014 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo Credit: Rainier Ehrhardt/Getty Images)
Ryan Blaney, driver of the #22 Discount Tire Ford, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series Food City 300 at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 22, 2014 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Ryan Blaney, driver of the #22 Discount Tire Ford, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series Food City 300 at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 22, 2014 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Ryan Blaney, driver of the #22 Discount Tire Ford, takes the chequered flag to win the NASCAR Nationwide Series Food City 300 at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 22, 2014 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Danica Patrick, driver of the #10 GoDaddy Chevrolet, Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row Chevrolet, Trevor Bayne, driver of the #21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Tire & Auto Center Ford, Justin Allgaier, driver of the #51 Brandt Professional Agriculture Chevrolet, and Michael Annett, driver of the #7 Allstate Peterbilt/Pilot Chevrolet, are involved in an incident during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway on August 17, 2014 in Brooklyn, Michigan.  (Photo Credit: Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet SS, captured the pole position Friday, August 15, 2014 for Sunday`s Pure Michigan NASCAR Sprint Cup 400 race at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Michigan. The was Gordon`s second pole position this season. He set a new track record in the final round of qualifying with a lap of 206.558 mph. Gordon is second in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet SS, celebrates capturing the pole position Friday, August 15, 2014 for Sunday`s Pure Michigan 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Michigan. The was Gordon`s second pole position this season. He set a new track record in the final round of qualifying with a lap of 206.558 mph. Gordon is second in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
AJ Allmendinger, driver of the #47 Scott Products Chevrolet SS, races to win Sunday, August 10, 2014 in the Nascar Sprint Cup race at Watkins Glen International in Watkins Glen, New York. (Photo by Christa L. Thomas/HHP for Chevy Racing)
AJ Allmendinger, driver of the #47 Scott Products Chevrolet SS, celebrates his first Sprint Cup win Sunday, August 10, 2014 in the Cheez-It 355 race at Watkins Glen International in Watkins Glen, New York. (Photo by Christa L. Thomas/HHP for Chevy Racing)
AJ Allmendinger, driver of the #47 Scott Products Chevrolet SS, celebrates his win Sunday, August 10, 2014 in the Nascar Sprint Cup race at Watkins Glen International in Watkins Glen, New York.  (Photo by Alan Marler/HHP for Chevy Racing)
AJ Allmendinger, driver of the #47 Scott Products Chevrolet SS, celebrates his first Sprint Cup win Sunday, August 10, 2014 in the Cheez-It 355 race at Watkins Glen International in Watkins Glen, New York. (Photo by Christa L. Thomas/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Marcos Ambrose, driver of the #09 Stanley Ford, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Nationwide Zippo 200 at Watkins Glen International on August 9, 2014 in Watkins Glen, New York. (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Marcos Ambrose, driver of the #09 Stanley Ford, takes the chequered flag to win the NASCAR Nationwide Zippo 200 at Watkins Glen International on August 9, 2014 in Watkins Glen, New York.  (Photo Credit: Robert Laberge/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Marcos Ambrose, driver of the #09 Stanley Ford, leads a pack of cars during the NASCAR Nationwide Zippo 200 at Watkins Glen International on August 9, 2014 in Watkins Glen, New York. (Photo Credit: Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
The #28 Texas 28 Spirits Stage Dodge, driven by JJ Yeley, is seen after an on-track incident during the NASCAR Nationwide Zippo 200 at Watkins Glen International on August 9, 2014 in Watkins Glen, New York.  (Photo Credit: Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
Brad Keselowski, driver of the #22 Hertz Ford, and Joey Logano, driver of the #12 Snap-On Ford, lead the field to the green flag for the running of the NASCAR Nationwide Zippo 200 at Watkins Glen International on August 9, 2014 in Watkins Glen, New York. (Photo Credit: Robert Laberge/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Jeff Gordon driver of the #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet SS, won the pole position Saturday, August 9, 2014 for Sunday`s Nascar Sprint Cup race at Watkins Glen International in Watkins Glen, New York. Gordon leads the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Photo by Christa L. Thomas/HHP for Chevy Racing)

Start the conversation - Add your comment

Please login or register before adding your comments.

Although the administrators and moderators of this website will attempt to keep all objectionable comments off these pages, it is impossible for us to review all messages. All messages express the views of the poster, and neither Crash Media Group nor Crash.Net will be held responsible for the content of any message. We do not vouch for or warrant the accuracy, completeness or usefulness of any message, and are not responsible for the contents of any message. If you find a message objectionable, please contact us and inform us of the problem or use the [report] function next to the offending post. Any message that does not conform with the policy of this service can be edited or removed with immediate effect.




© 1999 - 2014 Crash Media Group

The total or partial reproduction of text, photographs or illustrations is not permitted in any form.