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Mark Martin
Mark Martin
Martin at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in 2012
Born January 9, 1959 (1959-01-09) (age 58)
Bateville, Arkansas
Awards
Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series statistics
Best pts finish 2nd (1990, 1994, 1998, 2002, 2009)
First race 1981 Northwestern Bank 400
Last race 2013 Ford EcoBoost 400
First win 1989 AC-Delco 500
Last win 2009 Sylvania 300
Wins 40
NASCAR Xfinity Series statistics
Best pts finish 8th (1987)
First race 1982 Kroger 200
Last race 2012 Sam's Town 300
First win 1987 Budweiser 200
Last win 2011 Sam's Town 300
Wins 49
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series statistics
Best pts finish 19th (2006)
First race 1996 Fas Mart Truck Shootout
Last race 2011 VFW 200
First win 1996 Lowe's 250
Last win 2006 Ford 200
Wins 7

Mark Anthony Martin (born January 9, 1959) is an American retired stock car racing driver. Martin has finished second in the Cup standings five times and is considered by fans and competitors as ranking among "The best drivers to never win a championship."[1][2]

CareerEdit

Pre-NASCAREdit

Mark began his racing career as an early teen on the dirt tracks of his home state of Arkansas. With great success he moved on to asphalt racing and joined the American Speed Association (ASA) racing series. During his ASA career Mark raced against the likes of Dick Trickle, Jim Sauter and Bobby Allison. Mark went on to earn rookie of the year, Mark rounded out his ASA career winning twenty two races and four championships (1978, 1979, 1980, and 1986).[3]

Early NASCAR CareerEdit

Martin ran for various owners from 1981 to 1986. In 1981, he qualified for five races for Bud Reeder including pole positions at Nashville Speedway USA and Richmond.[4] He had his first top ten finish with a seventh place finish at Richmond; his first top five finish happened when he finished third at Martinsville Speedway.[4] Martin continued racing for Reeder for all 30 races in 1982.[5] He finished 14th in season points with eight top ten finishes, highlighted by fifth place results at Dover and Riverside International Raceway.[5]

Roush RacingEdit

In 1987, he gave NASCAR racing another shot by running in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, formerly the Busch Series. After a win at Dover International Speedway in Dover, Delaware, he was spotted by car owner Jack Roush. In 1988, Martin began a long relationship with Roush that continued for 19 years, driving the #6 car which was most notably sponsored by Valvoline and Viagra.

Overall, Martin has 40 career NASCAR Cup wins and has finished second in the Sprint Cup Series point standings five times (1990, 1994, 1998, 2002, and 2009). However, after 19 years of racing for Jack Roush, he has never been able to capture the championship, though this is not from a lack of effort. In 1990, a 46-point penalty at Richmond for using an illegal (but non-performance enhancing) carburetor spacer caused him to lose to Dale Earnhardt by 26 points in the final standings.

Martin has also won five IROC titles (1994, 1996, 1997 1998 and 2005) in addition to 13 races, both records for that series.

Martin announced he would cut back from Cup racing after the 2005 season, dubbing the season the "Salute to You" tour as a thank you to his fans. In June 2005, it was announced that Jamie McMurray would replace Martin in the #6 car in 2007. This, however, left Roush without a driver for the #6 car in 2006. Martin later agreed to come back and drive for the 2006 season. Ultimately, it was announced that McMurray would be released from his contract at Chip Ganassi Racing one year early and would take over for Kurt Busch, who was dismissed from the Roush organization prior to the end of the 2005 season. David Ragan was announced as Martin's replacement in the #6 for 2007.

Ginn Racing/DEIEdit

On October 6, 2006, it was announced that Martin would instead split time with current Busch Series driver Regan Smith in the Ginn Racing #01 U.S. Army Chevrolet in 2007. Roush Racing announced that due to team limits imposed by NASCAR, they could not field a team for Martin for all 20 races he wanted to run in 2007, forcing Martin to move on, at least in the Nextel Cup Series. However, Martin drove two races for Roush Fenway Racing in the Busch Series, and also drove in three races for Hendrick Motorsports, sharing the #5 with Kyle Busch.

Martin finished second in the 2007 Daytona 500, only 0.020 seconds behind Kevin Harvick. Martin had led going into the final lap before Harvick stormed from seventh to win on the outside. There has been much controversy over whether or not the caution flag should have came out, which could have affected the outcome of the race. Normally, the caution flag is shown as soon as a car or more make contact with the wall.

2007 was Martin's first season to start with three consecutive top-five finishes. Martin is the only part-time driver in NASCAR history to not win the opening race and lead the points standings. It is also the first time he has had three consecutive top-five finishes since 2002. Martin is also the oldest driver in the modern era to lead the Nextel Cup points for more than one week. Martin led the Nextel Cup points from the second race of the season, the Auto Club 500, through the fourth race of the season, the Kobalt Tools 500. Martin sat out the Food City 500, becoming the first driver since Cale Yarborough to sit out a race as the points leader.

On July 25, 2007, Dale Earnhardt, Inc. announced it had acquired Ginn Racing. Mark Martin would join Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Martin Truex, Jr., and Paul Menard as a driver for DEI starting at the 2007 Allstate 400 at the Brickyard. He would share the #01 car with Regan Smith for the rest of the season.

On September 8, 2007, it was announced that Martin would share the #8 car with Aric Almirola in the 2008 Sprint Cup Series with sponsorship from the U.S. Army.

Martin made his 700th career start at the 2008 Auto Club 500.

On March 1, 2008, Mark Martin won the 2008 Sam's Town 300 driving the #5 Delphi Chevrolet for JR Motorsports. It was Martin's 48th career Nationwide Series victory and JR Motorsports' 1st win.

Martin finished out 2008 with 11 top-10's out of the 21 races he was in.

During the weekend of the 2008 Toyota/Save Mart 350, ESPN reported that Mark Martin was leaving Dale Earnhardt, Inc. following the 2008 season. It was announced that Aric Almirola who shared the #8 car with Mark Martin would drive the car full-time in 2009. [6]

Hendrick MotorsportsEdit

On July 4, 2008, Hendrick Motorsports owner Rick Hendrick and Martin announced that he will replace Casey Mears in the #5 car for the 2009 season, running a full-time schedule for the first time since 2006. Martin signed a two-year contract with Hendrick, with a full-time schedule for the 2009 season and will also have a full schedule in the 2010 season. Martin grabbed his first pole since 2001 at the Kobalt Tools 500 at Atlanta,[7] and followed up with back-to-back poles in the following week at Bristol.

On April 18, 2009, Mark Martin became the fourth driver to win a Cup race in NASCAR after turning 50, in winning the 2009 Subway Fresh Fit 500 from the pole position.[8] The other three were Bobby Allison, Morgan Shepherd (twice), and Harry Gant (8 times, last in 1992).[9] His win snapped a 97-race winless streak going back to 2005. After the victory, he did a Polish Victory Lap as a tribute to his late friend Alan Kulwicki at the place where Kulwicki did his first Polish Victory Lap.[8] At Darlington, it was announced after the Richmond race that Martin would drive full time again in 2010; Martin would go on to win the Southern 500. It was his first multiple-win season since 1999. In the 2009 LifeLock 400, Mark Martin won his third race of the season when Jimmie Johnson and Greg Biffle ran out of fuel in the last two laps. Martin added a series-leading fourth win at the LifeLock.com 400 at Chicagoland in July, holding off a charging Jeff Gordon. Because he and teammate Gordon also finished 1-2 at the LifeLock 400 at Michigan in June, LifeLock will pay a $1 million bonus to a family in Colorado.[10] Despite his series-leading four wins, due to some early season troubles, including two engine failures, a blown tire, and getting caught up in multi-car wrecks at Talladega and Daytona, Martin has struggled to get into the top 12, moving up two spots to 11th place with the win at Chicagoland Speedway.[11] Mark Martin also got his fifth pole of the 2009 season at Bristol Motor Speedway for the Sharpie 500.[12]

After being on the Chase bubble for most of the season, Martin qualified for the 2009 Chase as he was in sixth place in the standings following the Chevy Rock & Roll 400. Because he led the Chase drivers in wins with four, the Chase reseeding process moved him up five places and made him the points leader.

On September 18 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway Hendrick Motorsports announced that GoDaddy.com would sponsor Martin's No. 5 Chevrolet for 20 races in 2010 and 2011, and that Martin had signed to drive full-time for Hendrick Motorsports in the Sprint Cup Series through 2011.

Two days later, he won his fifth race of the year by taking the Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire in the first race of the Chase. The win broke Martin's tie with Kyle Busch for the series wins lead and marked the third time in his career that he had won at least five times in a season (1993 and 1998). Martin extended his lead to 35 points over Jimmie Johnson and Denny Hamlin, who were tied for second in the standings.

At the end of the 2009 AMP Energy 500, Martin's Chevrolet turned after contact with another car and flipped over one and a half times. It was the second time Martin had ever been upside down in his racing career. One righted, Martin managed to drive the Chevy across the finish line.

Entering the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Martin and Johnson were the only drivers still able to win the 2009 Sprint Cup championship. Martin finished 12th in the race, which was not enough to overcome Johnson's lead. Martin again finished second in the standings, for the fifth time in his career.

Personal lifeEdit

Martin currently resides in Port Orange, Florida,[13] with his wife Arlene and five children (four of whom are from his wife Arlene's first marriage). Martin's father, stepmother and half-sister died in a plane crash on August 8, 1998 in Nevada near Great Basin National Park.[14] Martin enjoys listening to rap music.[15] Martin is also an avid pilot and flies his personal jet to and from races. He also currently owns two car dealerships. Mark Martin Chevrolet located in Melbourne, Arkansas and another, Mark Martin Ford-Mercury, in Batesville, Arkansas.[16]

ReferencesEdit

External linksEdit

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