Polesitter Mark Martin dominated the first quarter of Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Pure Michigan 400 – until an altercation between Juan Pablo Montoya and Bobby Labonte collected him on Lap 64.
Before Kasey Kahne could slow, he plowed into the rear of Martin’s leading No. 55 Toyota and Martin went flying down pit road and slammed driver-side first into the end of a wall in front of the No. 5 team’s pit stall. The impact from the corner came just inches from the driver’s compartment.
"That was a pretty freak angle that I got at that,” Martin said. “I’m not sure what you could do. It could have been really bad if I would have got in that hole a little deeper where it caught me in the door instead of in the crush area back there. It’s hard to keep up with what exactly is going to be happening there. I was hoping that I was going to miss the pit wall completely and not tear the car up, but then I saw that the angle I was going that I was going to hit the end of pit wall.
“I never thought about getting on the other side of pit wall. I think that would have been hard at the angle that I was coming, but that certainly would not have been good."
Martin led a race-high 54 laps before he finished 35th.
On a lighter note, Martin will continue his role with Michael Waltrip Racing in 2013. Martin, who turns 54 in January, will drive 22 races for MWR next year.