At 9:31 a.m., Mark Martin made it official. When he took the track as at the start of a Goodyear Tire Test, it officially started racing in 2010 at AMS.
Although the first of two NASCAR weekends at AMS isn't until March 5-7, stock cars rumbled around the track Jan. 12, the first of two days of tire testing aimed at helping Goodyear come up wit h the right tire compound for races at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
Martin is one of four drivers testing - the others are Sam Hornish Jr., Martin Truex Jr. and Carl Edwards.
The test comes at a good time for drivers such as Martin and Edwards, who appeared in high spirits just before the day's activity began - emotions not much unlike the faces of youngsters on Christmas morning.
Thanks to temperatures in the mid-30s, all drivers benefited from stronger grip than they will likely see in March and therefore turned faster laps.
It may be just a testing session. But cars on the race track in January mean one thing - the season is not too far away!