Martin, Mr. Saturday Night? at Sweet Home Chicago!!

                           July 2009                            Dale Wilkerson

               With his win last Saturday Night at the Chicagoland Speedway, perhaps we should start calling Mark Martin, Mr. Saturday Night.

                This season, Martin is four out of five in point races held on Saturday. Martin led 195 laps on the way to his series leading fourth victory.

                Martin has wins at Darlington and Phoenix, to go along with his Chicagoland romp last weekend. Add to that a win at the Michigan Speedway, on a Sunday afternoon when Greg Biffle and Jimmy Johnson ran out of gas on the last lap.

                Martin says this is his best year ever, and maybe that is because most people didn’t expect to see him winning races week end and week out. Martin spent the 2007 and 2008 seasons running a part time schedule, and that seems to have only rejuvenated him as a driver.

                If Martin can earn one of the 12 chase spots, I think every race fan will be hoping he can finally nail down that elusive NASCAR Championship.

                The folks with General Motors have made a few announcements over the past few days, as the company has retooled from top to bottom, in hopes of correcting their financial problems.

                Word has also leaked out that the board room folks at General Motors do not want to see their Camaros battling with Ford Mustangs and Dodge Challengers during Nationwide Races.

                With the ‘COT’ program nearing a launch date for the junior series, NASCAR wants to help give this series its own identity again.  Instead of running the same cars, or same named cars as the Sprint Cup Series, NASCAR wants this series to run the muscle cars.

                Chevrolet seems to think this will make the Camaro generic, since the ‘COT’ cars have common templates, and the car will lose its identity. How about another car that is losing it identity all together.

                With the restructuring going on at General Motors, the Pontiac Division has been cut. If the General Motors folks are worried about the Camaro looking too much like a Ford, Dodge or Toyota on the Nationwide series, I bet there are some folks that would be happy to see a Pontiac on track next year.

                The Firebird and Trans Am have always shared the same frame as a Camaro, and with the help from Burt Reynolds, the Trans Am was more popular than the Camaro. Before killing of the Pontiac brand, bring back the Firebird. General Motors wouldn’t do this; a few years ago they brought back the Pontiac GTO just as they announced all Pontiac support would be withdrawn from NASCAR.

                The GTO would have been a great fit on the NASCAR circuit, just like a Firebird would be a nice fit in the Nationwide series next year as the Pony Cars take the track. I can’t help but wonder what Toyota will call a Pony Car, but from the performance of the Gibb’s Nationwide Cars, these may just be called thoroughbreds.

                Joey Logano picked up his third win of the year last Friday night at the Chicagoland Speedway. Counting his first win last year, Logano is averaging a win every eight starts on the Nationwide series. And to think folks wanted to see Coach Gibbs pulled this youngster from the car.

                The Sprint Cup series will take this weekend off before rolling in to the Brickyard next week. Reports are that the tires will hold up this year. Let’s hope those reports are right.