CORNELIUS, N.C. — No. 55 Aaron’s Dream Machine driver Mark Martin enters Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway looking for the No. 55 team’s first victory of the season. Although it hasn’t visited victory lane, a closer look at the No. 55’s performance in 2012 show it as one of the best teams on the circuit. Drivers Mark Martin, Brian Vickers and Michael Waltrip, under the leadership of Crew Chief Rodney Childers, have outperformed most of the competition and many teams in the Chase for the Sprint Cup.
MARK MARTIN: “We’ve had a great season. We were all new to each other when we got together last year in pre-season testing. I had always known of Rodney, but never knew him. He’s one smart crew chief. I’d put him on par with anyone in the garage. This is as good of a race team as I have worked with and I’ve been very fortunate in driving some really good cars over the years. Brian and Michael have done excellent jobs as well. Brian’s experience for his age is amazing and Michael has always been one of the best in restrictor plate races.
“What you don’t see in those statistics is how well we’ve run at some places. Our best car of the year shows up as a 35th-place finish because of the wreck in Michigan. Michael nearly won Talladega but got wrecked and finished 25th. Plus we’ve ended a lot of races early with mechanical trouble.
“I’m pretty pumped up for the 2013 season. NASCAR is really interested in making the new car something the fans, drivers and everyone likes. We have a lot of work to do, but I think we’ll get there.”
SECOND BEST: Martin’s average qualifying effort of 9.1 in 2012 is the second best of all drivers. Only Kasey Kahne (8.7) owns a better average.
THE MOST: Martin’s four poles are tied with Kasey Kahne and Jimmie Johnson as the most by any driver in 2012.
HOMESTEAD: In 12 Sprint Cup starts Martin owns four top-five finishes and has led 30 laps.
LOOKING FOR SUCCESS: Homestead, Indianapolis, Pocono and Kentucky are the only active tracks on the Sprint Cup schedule where Martin has yet to win.
WINS: Martin owns 40 Sprint Cup, 49 Nationwide and seven Camping World Truck Series victories. He’s led 12,781 laps in Sprint Cup competition. Martin has started 853 Sprint Cup races, 236 Nationwide races and 25 truck events.
MWR IN 2012: MWR’s five Cup Series drivers have scored three wins (Bowyer at Sonoma, Richmond and Charlotte), 23 top-five and 56 top-10 finishes in 2012. MWR drivers have led 1,189 laps. Martin Truex Jr. leads the MWR charge with 423 laps led, Bowyer 388, Martin with 197, Vickers 158, and Waltrip with 21.
No. 55 IN 2013: Martin will drive in 24 races plus the Shootout and All Star race. Vickers will drive in nine and Waltrip in three races.
OTHER SERIES: Martin has won 49 of the 236 Nationwide races and 13 of the 47 International Race of Champions (IROC) events he has entered.