Mark Martin Pocono Preview
CORNELIUS, N.C. — Last week’s race at Indianapolis and this weekend’s race at Pocono are more than just a test of drivers and their race cars. The 2.5-mile tracks with their long straight-aways are also challenges for each team’s spotters— the men high above the track in radio communication with their drivers.
No. 55 Aaron’s Dream Machine spotter Jeremy Brickhouse shared spotting duties with Nick Harvey at Indy, but this weekend he’ll handle the duties alone. He’ll stand atop the grandstand above the start-finish line providing guidance to Mark Martin as he races 400 miles on the tricky triangle. The angles going into turn one combined with the nearly mile distance between the spotters stand and the second turn make Pocono as challenging as any track on the NASCAR Sprint Cup circuit.
“I’m always nervous,” joked Brickhouse, a Chesapeake, Va. native who joined Michael Waltrip Racing with Martin in 2012. He’s spotted for Martin for the last seven seasons. “Spotting is a huge responsibility. Mistakes get a lot of equipment torn up and drivers hurt.”
BRICKHOUSE ON POCONO: “Pocono and Indy are two of the toughest tracks for a spotter. We stand right above the start-finish line at Pocono and when you look down into turn one its pretty tough to see. On the restarts they always start to fan out and they are going away from us. Our job is to help the driver clear another car and that first turn at Pocono has some really tough angles for us.”
POCONO’S TURN TWO OR TUNNEL TURN: “That’s another tough place. The cars carry a lot of speed there. I don't know, but we are about a mile from the tunnel turn. Sometimes you get caught up worrying about getting them through the tunnel turn and they are wrecking down the track. I use binoculars but you always have to take a wide view as well so you can see up ahead to help Mark avoid trouble.”
THE JOB: “Spotting is all about angles, judging the momentum of other cars and just being another set of eyes for the driver. You only say something if you are confident. Guesswork will get your car messed up, your driver hurt or just get you chewed out over the radio.”
MARK MARTIN ON BRICKHOUSE: “Jeremy has been with me since 2007 and it’s been a great ride. He was already a good spotter with a lot of experience when we got together. You have to have a lot of trust in your spotter and I have that with Jeremy. He’ll have his work cut out for him at Pocono this weekend, but we’ve done it before and we will be fine.”
• CHASSIS: Primary– 759 Martin drove this car at Pocono, Fontana and Darlington in 2013
• POCONO STATS: In 53 starts Martin owns seven second-place finishes, 20 top-five finishes and three poles.
• SHORT LIST: Pocono, Homestead, Indianapolis, Daytona and Kentucky are the only active tracks on the Sprint Cup circuit where Martin has not won.
• CAREER STATS: Martin owns 40 Sprint Cup, 49 Nationwide and seven Camping World Truck Series victories. He’s led 12,856 laps in Sprint Cup competition. Martin has started 868 Sprint Cup races, 236 Nationwide races and 25 truck events. The 96 combined wins is sixth on the all-time list. He also owns 13 IROC wins in 47 starts.
• POLES: Martin owns five poles in 36 races with MWR. He is seventh on the all-time pole list with 56 poles including one in 2013 at Phoenix.
• MWR: Martin Truex Jr. won at Sonoma on June 23, Waltrip finished fifth at Daytona on July 6 & Vickers won the New Hampshire race on July 14. Clint Bowyer is second in points trailing Jimmie Johnson by 75 points. If the Chase began today, Bowyer & Truex would qualifying for the driver’s Chase and the No. 55 is battling for a spot in the owners Chase.
• SOCIAL STOP: Make MWR’s “Social Stop” your second screen to follow all the racing and social media action when the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races this weekend. MWR’s “Social Stop” goes live race morning allowing fans to view information from Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube all on one page. Twitter feeds from MWR drivers, media members and NASCAR fans will populate the page. Visitors can also interact with fellow race fans and answer poll questions on the page. Visit www.facebook.com/michaelwaltripracing or click www.MichaelWaltripRacing.com/social
NAME: Mark Martin
HOMETOWN: Batesville, AR
RESIDENCE: Daytona Beach, FL