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Martin's missed opportunity at Daytona 'a tough pill to swallow'

Mark Martin came within 3 feet of winning his first Daytona 500 in February. Will the heartache continue this weekend at his home track? Martin hopes not, writes Terry Blount.

Updated: July 6, 2007, 6:21 PM ET
By Terry Blount | ESPN.com

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Mark Martin, the real winner of the 2007 Daytona 500 in the eyes of some NASCAR fans, returns to his home track this weekend.

He hopes in Saturday night's Pepsi 400 is slightly different.

Martin was a controversial runner-up here in February, a microcosm of the theme that has defined his career. Kevin Harvick edged Martin by a nose five months ago in one of the wildest Daytona 500 finishes in history.

"I think I had a 15th-place ...

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