So excited for last year’s race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Mark Martin predicted victory six weeks before the event.
His ability to forecast the future ultimately fell flat, as Martin finished 11th in a race that was ruined by a Goodyear debacle and dictated by the cautions NASCAR had to call every 10-12 laps to prevent dangerous tire failures.
Martin has a chance at redemption in today’s
“I’m not even thinking about it,’’ Martin said after posting a lap at 182.054 miles per hour in yesterday’s qualifying.
“I prefer not to think about what possible result could be tomorrow,’’ he said. “I can tell you I think it’s going to be a dogfight for this race. I really do. I’d like to be in the fray. That’s about as far as I’ll go thinking about it.’’
Martin blew away Juan Pablo Montoya, winner of the 2000 Indianapolis 500, for the pole. Running a retro Target paint scheme that duplicates his Indy 500 car, Montoya qualified second with a lap at 180.803.
Montoya has always been good at Indy - he also raced on the track in Formula One - and many competitors have predicted he’ll contend for his first win of the season today. But he’s also clinging to a spot in the Chase for the Championship, and Montoya has raced cautiously all season in an effort to earn one of the 12 berths.
“I think here, the way the track is, I think overtaking is really hard,’’ he said. “So we’ll see. We’ll do what we can, pick our winning and losing. If we have a good stop, clean track ahead of us, we’ll go. If we’re in traffic, be smart about it, take our time.’’
Dale Earnhardt Jr. battled back from a brutal stomach virus to qualify third - his best effort since Lance McGrew took over as crew chief seven races ago.
In a Nationwide Series race, Carl Edwards came from the back of the pack to win at O’Reilly Raceway Park in Clermont, Ind.
Edwards started 42d out of 43 drivers because he spent the day at the Brickyard 400 qualifying. He got into the race because of owner points. He moved up 15 spots by the end of the fourth lap, and took the lead for good in Lap 179.
Kyle Busch finished second. The series points leader won the event in 2004 and 2008.
Formula One - Ferrari driver Felipe Massa underwent surgery on life-threatening skull injuries from a high-speed crash during Hungarian Grand Prix qualifying in Budapest. He was in stable condition in the intensive care unit of a military hospital.
The accident happened when a loose part from another car hit Massa in the helmet, causing him to veer into a tire-lined barrier at about 120 m.p.h. The front of his car was shredded, with both tires gone and the front nose open.
The 28-year-old Brazilian also sustained a concussion but was conscious when airlifted to AEK hospital, his team said.