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Mark Martin Back In Victory Lane

| , RacinToday.com Saturday, April 18 2009

Mark Martin wins Phoenix.

Mark Martin wins Phoenix.


When Mark Martin accepted Rick Hendrick’s invitation to run a full season in one of his cars, Martin said he would do it because he figured it would give him a final shot at winning the Sprint Cup championship which has eluded him his entire career.

Saturday night at Phoenix International Raceway, it appeared that Martin had it figured correctly.

Martin ran away with the victory in the Subway Fresh Fit 500, easily holding off Tony Stewart after a restart with six laps to go.

The victory was the first for Martin since 2005 when he won at Kansas Speedway. That was 97 races before.

Martin, who turned 50 in January, won for the 36th time in his career. He promptly thanked Hendrick.

“He makes dreams come true,” Martin said of Hendrick.

And then he thanked the person who gave him permission to extend his career at least one more season.

“Arlene,” Martin said, referring to his wife, “thanks for letting me do it.”

Stewart finished second and Kurt Busch was third.

Jimmie Johnson, going for his fourth straight championship, was fourth and Greg Biffle was fifth.

Jeff Gordon finished 25th and kept his points lead. But, that lead was trimmed to 85 points over second-place Johnson.

Martin, meanwhile, jumped from 18th to 13th in points.

Martin not only won the race, but he dominated it. He led 157 laps which was more laps than he led all of last season.

The victory was a popular won among Martin’s peers. Stewart, seldom happy with anything but a victory, said, “It’s good to see he can still kick butt.”

Stewart’s teammate, Ryan Newman, had the lead coming out of the final caution with six to go. But he had gotten that lead by not pitting. That is, Newman was doomed.

Martin easily shot past Newman in turn two and that was that.


Unofficial results of Saturday night’s Subway Fresh Fit 500 at Phoenix International Raceway:

1. Mark Martin, No. 5 Chevrolet

2. Tony Stewart, No. 14 Chevrolet

3. Kurt Busch, No. 2 Dodge

4. Jimmie Johnson, No. 48 Chevrolet

5. Greg Biffle, No. 16 Ford

6. Denny Hamlin, No. 11 Toyota

7. Martin Truex, No. 1 Chevrolet

8. David Reutimann, No. 00 Toyota

9. Sam Hornish Jr., No. 77 Dodge

10. Carl Edwards, No. 99 Ford

11. Jamie McMurray, No. 36 Ford

12. Reed Sorenson, No. 43 Dodge

13. Kasey Kahne, No. 9 Dodge

14. Marcos Ambrose, No. 47 Toyota

15. Jeff Burton, No. 31 Chevrolet

16. Ryan Newman, No. 39 Chevrolet

17. Kyle Busch, No. 18 Toyota

18. David Stremme, No. 12 Dodge

19. Brian Vickers, No. 83 Toyota

20. Casey Mears, No. 07 Chevrolet

21. Joey Logano, No. 20 Toyota

22. David Ragan, No. 6 Ford

23. Paul Menard, No. 98 Ford

24. Juan Pablo Montoya, No. 42 Chevrolet

25. Jeff Gordon, No. 24 Chevrolet

26. Clint Bowyer, No. 33 Chevrolet

27. Matt Kenseth, No. 17 Ford

28. Regan Smith, No. 78 Chevrolet

29. Bobby Labonte, No. 96 Ford

30. Kevin Harvick, No. 29 Chevrolet

31. Dale Earnhardt Jr., No. 88 Chevrolet

32. Elliott Sadler, No. 19 Dodge

33. David Gilliland, No. 171 Chevrolet

34. Scott Speed, No. 82 Toyota

35. A.J. Allmendinger, No. 44 Dodge

36. Scott Riggs, No. 36 Toyota

37. Michael Waltrip, No. 55 Toyota

38. John Andretti, No. 34 Chevrolet

39. Robby Gordon, No. 7 Toyota

40. Sterling Marlin, No. 09 Dodge

41. Joe Nemechek, No. 187 Toyota

42. Dave Blaney, No. 66 Toyota

43. Tony Raines, No. 73 Dodge




| , RacinToday.com Saturday, April 18 2009
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