“Bionic” Martin leads Chase “points-reset” standings

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Miami resident Juan Pablo Montoya last weekend was on the verge of history in his bid to become the only driver to win both the Indy 500 and the Brickyard 400. The rejuvenated Mark Martin, meanwhile, sought to make history of his own as the oldest driver to win a race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

While neither driver took home the hardware at Indy, both are among a star-studded field of contenders for the Sprint Cup Championship, to be crowned Nov. 22 at Homestead-Miami Speedway (click here for tickets). And in typical fashion, Martin saw the bright side of the potential win that slipped away.

“I got beat, I didn't get her done; drove my heart out, gave it everything I had but got beat by Superman,” said Martin of race winner Jimmie Johnson. “It's better than 42nd, man."

With his runner-up finish at Indy, Martin climbed two spots to ninth in the Sprint Cup standings to move closer to locking up a berth in the Chase, which culminates Nov. 22 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. It’s interesting to note that Homestead-Miami is one of just a handful of tracks where Martin has yet to win a race in his storied career.

Martin started from the pole position at Indy—becoming the oldest to do so in a major auto race at Indianapolis—before relinquishing the lead to Montoya at Lap 5 and then taking it back late in the race after the No. 42 was penalized for speeding on pit road. Martin was then overtaken with 24 laps remaining by Hendrick Motorsports teammate Johnson, who reciprocated to NASCAR’s elder statesman in the nickname game.
 
"I don't know what to call him," the three-time reigning Sprint Cup Champion said. “‘Bionic Man’ or something.”

And while the No. 5 car relinquished the lead to Johnson due to NASCAR’s reintroduction of double-file restarts, Martin remains a fan of the recently implemented procedure.

"I think the restarts did their job again today," Martin said after the race. "You can say what you want….I'd love to have won the race, but I'm very grateful to have had a chance at it.”

Martin and his Cup colleagues head this weekend to Pocono, which has similar characteristics to Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Martin is winless at Pocono but has racked up 31 Top 10 finishes—and 19 Top 5s—in 45 NASCAR Sprint Cup races there. So if his drive at Indy was any indication, Martin should be a factor at Pocono and for the rest of the season that culminates with Ford Championship Weekend (Nov. 20-22) at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Great seats are available for the Nov. 20-22 Ford Championship Weekend, featuring the series-crowning Championship finales of all three of NASCAR’s top circuits: the Camping World Truck Series (Friday), Nationwide Series (Nov. 21) and Sprint Cup Series (Sunday). For Friday night’s Truck Championship, all kids 12 and under will be admitted FREE; on Saturday for the Nationwide Championship, all kids 12 and under are just $15; and for Sunday’s Sprint Cup Championship, adult tickets start at just $55. Click here to view great seats available for each race.

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