Hendrick Motorsports drivers topped the two Saturday practice sessions for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at Auto Club Speedway. JIMMIE JOHNSON/No.48 Chevrolet led the first 45-minute session, while MARK MARTIN/No.5 Chevrolet was fastest in the final 65-minute session.

Johnson was followed by Martin; DENNY HAMLIN/No.11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota; and Roush Fenway Ford drivers,  CARL EDWARDS/No.99  and GREG BIFFLE/No.16.

CLINT BOWYER/No.33 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet followed Martin in Happy Hour, ahead of Johnson; pole sitter for Sunday’s race, JAMIE McMURRAY/No.1 Earnhardt Ganassi Racing Chevrolet and JEFF GORDON/No.24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet.

The weather was changeable. It was alternately sunny and overcast. Threatening clouds ringed the track, and sun glasses weren’t needed. The temperatures ranged in the mid-fifties F, but felt colder. The flags were briskly blowing in the breeze.

Martin is the oldest driver in the field this weekend at 51. “I think RON HORNADAY (51), and JOHN FORCE (60) definitely have given hope to a lot of race car drivers that aren’t ready to give it up yet. It presents its own set of challenges. There’s a physically fit side of it, but there are other challenges that are much tougher like having sponsors behind you who want to make longer term deals with younger up and coming drivers. There are a lot more challenges than just wheeling the car and sometimes that pressure is what gets you.”

Mark Martin's car     Photo by Lynne Huntting
Mark Martin's car Photo by Lynne Huntting

Martin shares a sponsor with sometime Nationwide Series driver, DANICA PATRICK/No.7 Chevrolet – GoDaddy.com, known for it’s near-risque, to-be-continued TV commercials. In his Friday hauler chat, Martin’s last question was what had he been asked to do in a commercial for his sponsor, and what did his wife, ARLENE, tell he him couldn’t do. “I haven’t been told that I can’t take my shirt off.”

Indy Car racer ORIOL SERVIA of Spain was under the radar in the pits Saturday afternoon, looking quite anonymous. The veteran road race has been unsuccessful in his winter-long search for sponsorship dollars so he can run this year with Indy Racing League. Although he’s never driven a stock car, Servia said he’d like to try NASCAR. “They slide a lot.”

Large crowds generate lots of garbage. At Auto Club Speedway all trash including food waste  is recycled by Burrtec, no  matter which waste bin is used.

Last Modified on February 20, 2010
This entry was posted in NASCAR
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