Martin started fourth but immediately began plummeting back through the field. The track was a bit cooler than expected, but I don’t think that explains why the 5 was suddenly so off the pace after his stellar pre-race performances–something must’ve been wrong with the car. One of Fox TV’s pit reporters said Martin radio’d in that the car was so tight it was “plowing,” but that’s all the info I heard (if anybody knows more, I’d love to hear it). Anyway, he landed somewhere back in the 30s before a yellow came out and he got some pit time.
And then he began marching back up through the field. Not as fast as he fell, but he was making nice progress. Until a rear tire went down on the front stretch, that is. He’d climbed back up into the teens when the tire went down, causing him to perform a nerve-wracking slide through the infield. That incident put him back in the 30s again. He went back to work and climbed back into the mid teens again before he wrecked and finished 33rd.
So, although the end result stunk, it seems clear Martin did indeed have a strong car once he got the initial kink worked out.
OK, time for an off week, and then off to Bristol!