"We had a pretty awesome car in that race," he said. "I told the guys to take the four springs from that car and put them on a shelf and save them for this race. I know the springs are still there because I checked on them myself a few weeks ago. I just wanted to make sure they hadn't rusted or hadn't been attacked by varmints or something."
On the points race, Martin said: "We race every race for points. We went to the Daytona 500 thinking about the points. Points and wins are the same thing. Everything you do on a racetrack, you are thinking points. If you have a 10th-place car, you do everything you can to finish third. If you have a third-place car, you want to finish first. If you have a 40th-place car, you try your best to finish 20th.
"To me there is no difference in approaching a race this time of the year or the very first of the year. You're going to do whatever it takes to get the best finish you can get."
Greg Hancock of Newport Beach and defending champion Billy Hamill of Monrovia finished first and second in the World Speedway championship series, which concluded last Saturday in Denmark. Hancock scored 118 points to 110 for his Team Exide teammate. Tomasz Gollob of Poland was third with 92. Both Hancock and Hamill are scheduled to ride in the U.S. Speedway finals Oct. 4 at Costa Mesa Speedway. . . .
Motorcycle racer Jason Pridmore of Ventura has clinched the 750cc SuperSport series road racing championship, with one race remaining Oct. 5 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Jason's father, Reg, is a three-time Superbike champion, making them the first father-son combination to win AMA national road racing titles. . . .
Veteran stock car driver Bob Lyon of Aqua Dulce set a NASCAR Featherlite Southwest Tour record last week in Tucson when he drove in his 107th consecutive race. Lyon had shared the record with two-time series champion Ron Hornaday Jr., who is now racing in the Craftsman Truck series. Lyons' streak began Aug. 3, 1991. . . .
J.J. Yeley, who left the Sprint Car Racing Assn. in midseason to race in the Midwest, where he won the Tony Hulman Classic and the Jim Hurtubise Memorial races, will return to Perris Auto Speedway this weekend for the Oval Nationals, an open competition for non-winged sprint cars. Defending champion Jimmy Sills will also be back to face the SCRA regulars, headed by Rip Williams and Ron Shuman. Racing starts at 7 tonight and Saturday night.
Jan Opperman, if not the greatest certainly the most colorful sprint car driver in history, died in his sleep Sept. 4 at his parents' home in Fountain, Fla.
Opperman, 58, had been in a wheelchair since 1981 after suffering head injuries in a sprint car accident at Jennerstown, Pa.
He toured the country as a long-haired hippie preacher-racer in the 1970s, taking on all comers as a forerunner of the World of Outlaws. He also drove in the Indianapolis 500 in 1974 and 1976, and finished sixth in the 1976 California 500 at Ontario.
Food for Thought
Food for the Marlboro 500 at the California Speedway this weekend.
* HOT DOGS: 88,000
* HAMBURGERS: 32,000
* ORDERS OF NACHOS: 60,000
* CHICKEN SANDWICHES: 12,000
* N.Y. STEAK SANDWICHES: 4,000
* SLICES OF PIZZA: 24,000
* CUPS OF BEER: 265,000
* BOTTLES OF WATER: 48,000
* GLASSES OF SODA: 240,000