Martin praises crew chief, Montoya

Chase leader Mark Martin was full of praise for his crew chief Alan Gustafson and also for rival Juan Pablo Montoya for racing him clean at Loudon

Martin praises crew chief, Montoya

The Hendrick driver, who continues to lead the play-off standing after taking his fifth victory of the season, had never won at Loudon, one of only five tracks where he had not visited Victory Lane at.

The veteran said Sunday's achievement is largely due to the job of his crew chief Gustafson, who he considers instrumental to his success this year.

"Alan has really pulled off something big to figure out how to win a race with me here at Loudon," said Martin. "That's a big deal. I don't get around this place that well.

"I have a lot of trust in Alan. I let him do his thing, and he's brought so much support, you know, in so many areas, and unloaded so much off of my shoulders.

"He's the smartest - the best combination of really smart engineering, understanding of that, and the guy that pulls the wrenches and gets his hands dirty, practical racer. He's the best combination of all of that.

"I've worked with great engineers and really smart people and great guys that work on race cars and are practical and all of that, but he's the combination, the strongest combination of all of that."

The 50-year-old had to fight hard for victory on the final restart against Montoya. He praised the Colombian for racing him hard but clean in the final sprint, where he expected a strong challenge as he knew the former Formula 1 racer was looking for his first oval win.

"I have a lot of respect for Juan Montoya, and I had respect for him and he had for me before a lot of others on the racetrack, before they had that, before Juan and some of the other competitors," said Martin.

"I still didn't know for sure that he wouldn't slip. I didn't know that for sure, because I know that he's racing for his first oval track win. But I knew he wouldn't slip on purpose, and we're all fighting hard. So I tried to give him enough room but do my race, too.

"And that's still -- with the way this racetrack is, that still isn't enough, because even when you give the guy enough room, he's on this part down here, which really makes the car loose on the restart,

"And it all comes down to how hard he was going to push it and whether or not -- just to explain to you, I gave him the respect from day one on the racetrack, and I got respect a long time ago, not just today."

Martin's 40th career win has allowed him to stretch his lead in the Chase from 10 to 35 points against his Hendrick team-mate Jimmie Johnson.

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