Print and Go Back ESPN.com: NextelCup [Print without images]

Sunday, March 18, 2007
Martin looking forward to Sunday away from track

By Angelique S. Chengelis and David Newton
ESPN.com

HAMPTON, Ga. -- Mark Martin knows there are some who won't believe he is taking next week off until the race weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway arrives.

But Martin, who finished 10th on Sunday at Atlanta Motor Speedway, and remains atop the points standings, said he remains committed to his plan to run a limited schedule. He made his 621st consecutive start on Sunday.

"They'll have a hard time finding me next week," Martin said. "I'm about done with it. I may not be as cooperative as I have been. I'm busy. I have some stuff to do. This thing has ate every minute of my time."

Martin makes it sound like a break couldn't come at a better time. He fought his Ginn Racing all day at Atlanta and was never really in contention despite his fourth top-10 finish in a row to open the season.

"This one was more of a chore for me," he said. "It wasn't the most fun race I've ever driven. I sure love working with this team. These guys are giving their heart and soul, and they're finally getting the recognition they deserve.

"We've worked really hard since January. A lot of hard testing, a lot of testing, more than normal. We've just been going really hard. We've put a lot into this -- my team has, and I have, too. It's been a hard-working stretch, and I'm looking forward to taking a break, and maybe the heat will cool off by the time we get back to Texas. "

Still, Martin doesn't wan to make it sound like he's whining.

"It's the best," he said. "I'm not complaining. I don't want it to sound that way, but I'm ready for a break. We've worked really hard, and I'm proud of it. They're finally getting the recognition they deserve. They've had a lot of setbacks, and they stuck it out.

-- Angelique S. Chengelis

Late addition
Robby Gordon didn't get the new logo on the hood of his car until about an hour before the race.

Instead of Motorola, it had the Motorola "M" with the words "Digital Audio Player" written below.

That was the compromise officials agreed on after forcing Gordon to take the Motorola logo off the hood as his primary sponsor because it was in conflict with the contract that series sponsor Sprint Nextel set up with NASCAR in 2004.

-- David Newton

RCR on AT&T
Richard Childress believes AT&T has a chance to win the lawsuit it filed in the U.S. District Court in Atlanta to have its logo replace the Cingular logo on Jeff Burton's No. 31 Chevrolet.

AT&T merged with Cingular earlier this year, and the company is in the process of changing the name to AT&T.

For the same reason Gordon had to take Motorola off his hood Friday, Childress is in danger of losing a major financial partner if a resolution can't be reached.

"It's going to be between NASCAR [and AT&T] to work that out," Childress said. "AT&T has been in the sport a long time. No ownership has changed at all. That's their theory on it. It's not like X came in and bought Y and they're going to call it Z.

"No ownership has changed in the company, it's just changing the brand. Same customers."

-- D.N.

Angelique S. Chengelis and David Newton cover NASCAR for ESPN.com.