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NASCAR Winston Cup Pennsylvania 500 Report -- #6, Mark Martin

22 July 1997

 #6 Mark Martin, Valvoline Ford Thunderbird              
 NASCAR Winston Cup Series
 Pennsylvania 500 Race Report
 Pocono Raceway
                   MARK MARTIN PENNSYLVANIA 500 RECAP 

LONG POND, PA - Sunday's Pennsylvania 500 was a long race for Mark
Martin and the Valvoline/Cummins crew. Martin endured one problem
after another, but with a little luck and a good car, he ended up with
a top-five finish.

After running well in practice Friday morning, Martin qualified ninth
for the 200-lap race with a speed of 167.451 mph. "It was a real good
lap," Martin said. "We had boon working on our qualifying. The car
felt good and got around the track good, but the time was a little

Martin's troubles started early in the race when he radioed the crew
that he felt a vibration and thought a right side wheel was loose. The
team decided to pit for right side tires on lap 12, knowing they could
change two tires under green without losing a lap. When Martin came
in, the team realized it was a loose left rear wheel. By the time they
changed right side tires and tightened the left rear, Martin lost a
lap to the leaders.

Pitting out of sequence with the leaders, Martin would gain his lap
back after they pitted and the team was praying for a yellow flag
before Martin had to pit. Martin finally got a break with a caution on
lap 119 while he was on the lead lap in 14th place. The crew changed
four tires on lap 121 and Martin was back in the lead lap. He was able
to gain 10 positions from an accident on the restart on lap 127,
leaving him in 10th. The final two-tire pit stop on lap 167 (after
collecting five valuable points for leading lap 166) put Martin out
ninth. He spent the rest of the race fighting for position and
finished fifth, behind Roush teammates Jeff Burton and Ted Musgrave.

"If someone would have  told me on  lap 12 that I  was going to finish
fifth, I  would have  thought they  were crazy,  Martin said after the
race. "I  had a   really good car,  but  we   made some  mistakes.  We
recovered  really well from those  mistakes,  but I could  have been a
contender to win if  I had not gone a  lap  down. It was  another good
points day for us."

The fifth place finish (and Terry Labonte's 35th place finish) moved
Martin up to second in Winston Cup points, trailing Jeff Gordon by 64
points. The Winston Cup series takes a weekend off before heading to
Indianapolis for the Brickyard 400. Martin will compete this Sunday
morning at Michigan Speedway in the final race of the IROC
series. Martin leads the IROC points and has a good shot to win his
third title.

By Roush Racing Public Relations