The question of a weight advantage has never been raised in Martin's case. It became an issue when Patrick won the pole for the Daytona 500.
The truth is, however, that Daytona is a track where a lighter car/driver combination is of negligible benefit.
"Talent being equal, I'll take the less weight every day," said Andy Petree, former Cup crew chief and car owner and current ESPN analyst. "It's always an advantage. Now, how much? How much can you say and measure is difficult.
"I think at Daytona, you couldn't measure it, (because) it would be so small. It would make very, very little difference, especially qualifying."
The bottom line is that lighter weight hastens acceleration, but during qualifying and racing at restrictor-plate superspeedways, acceleration isn't the issue.
"Qualifying here is about terminal velocity," Petree said. "It's not about acceleration, because the car really doesn't accelerate while you're qualifying. It accelerates up to speed, and really what limits the speed is aerodynamics over horsepower.
"That's really what it is. The weight comes into play when you're accelerating, like at a Charlotte or Martinsville. Her car might get up to speed a little quicker, but once it gets there, it's not going to be any faster. I don't see that being an advantage (in the Daytona 500)."
Because the driver sits on the left side of the car, Petree believes the weight difference might have a measurable effect at a road course, which features right-hand as well as left-hand corners.
The weight that's added to the car to compensate for a lighter driver can also help lower the center of gravity, another potential benefit.
But driver Matt Kenseth doesn't think the weight advantage is a significant issue.