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NASCAR Winston Cup Exide NASCAR Select Batteries 400 Report: #6, Mark Martin

10 September 1997

 #6 Mark Martin, Valvoline/Cummins Ford Thunderbird 
 NASCAR Winston Cup Series
 Exide NASCAR Select Batteries 400 Advance
 Richmond International Raceway
 September 6, 1997

RICHMOND, VA - Very few drivers could have finished the Exide NASCAR Select 
Batteries 400 under the same circumstances as Mark Martin did. While running 
in the top-10, Martin lost his oil belt and power steering belt on lap 284. 
The Valvoline/Cummins team was able to replace the oil belt to keep Martin 
running, but there wasn't time to fix the power steering. Martin drove the 
last 115 laps on the 0.75-mile oval with no power steering. Wally Dallenbach 
was standing by in the pits ready to replace Martin if the physical strain 
became too much, but Martin used his determination (and upper body strength) 
to finish the race.

"I have never driven that hard in my life," Martin said. "I had to use my 
whole arm just to hold the steering wheel in place. On such a short track, it 
is almost like a constant turn. After the race, I couldn't even lift my arms 
to sign an autograph. If I didn't work out as much as I do, I never could 
have finished that race."

Martin began lifting weights when he joined Roush Racing in 1988. Before 
then, he spent most of his time working on race cars which left him little 
opportunity for regular workouts. Martin begins nearly every day before 6 
a.m. with a 60-90 minute routine in his gym at home. At most race tracks, he 
has been able to find a nearby gym for a quick workout before morning 
practice. Martin feels his dedication to fitness is an advantage he has over 
some of the other drivers. 

"There are all positives and no negatives in exercising," Martin said. "I 
often race two events back-to-back in a single weekend and recover from 
fatigue, as well as injuries, faster than I would if I was not in top shape. 
I know I never would have survived the Richmond race otherwise. My arms are 
still sore, and I probably won't be working them anymore this week."

Martin will be recovered and ready to race this Sunday in the CMT 300 at New 
Hampshire International Speedway. He finished fifth at the 1.058-mile oval in 
July. He has never won at NHIS, but a victory now would help decrease his 
97-point deficit to Jeff Gordon in the Winston Cup point standings. 

By Roush Racing Public Relations