CORNELIUS, N.C. — No. 55 Aaron’s Dream Machine Toyota driver Mark Martin makes his 850th NASCAR Sprint Cup Series start Saturday night at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
It’s the fifth most starts in NASCAR history, but guess who is the least impressed with the feat?
“That’s just a number,” said Martin. “It doesn’t mean anything to me.”
Martin said he prefers to focus more on performance than frequency.
“The number of starts doesn’t impress me. It’s what you did in those starts that can be impressive or not. The fact that I have started a lot of races doesn’t stack up very high on the impression meter for me.”
But he has done a lot in all those starts.
In a 30-year career the 53-year-old Martin owns 40 victories, 55 poles and 270 top-five finishes.
Martin deflects any praise to crew members who have worked with him over three decades.
“I have been very fortunate through the years to work with a lot of great people and drive some very fast race cars. Not everyone can say that. I have really been blessed,” he said.
While the 850th start might hold little significance for Martin he does understand and appreciate notice from all the race fans.
“I have been blessed by the fans that have been so supportive through the years. They have probably meant more to me in the down years than when I was flying hot through the years. They seem to rally behind me when the going gets tough.”
Martin’s fans haven’t needed to cheer up their hero in 2012 driving for Michael Waltrip Racing. In just 19 races he owns four top-five finishes and grabbed four poles—the most of any driver.
“I love being part of MWR, working with everyone here,” said Martin. “I have great teammates in Martin Truex Jr. and Clint Bowyer.
“This is really a fantastic organization and we are experiencing a lot of success right now. We are feeling good about what we have accomplished and are ready to accomplish even more.”
- APPEARANCE: Martin will appear at the Aaron’s display at 4:15 p.m. Saturday.
- THE BEST: Martin’s average qualifying effort of 9.7 in 2012 is the third best of all drivers. Only Kasey Kahne (9.0) and Greg Biffle (9.5) own a better average.
- THE MOST: Martin’s four poles are the most of any driver. Denny Hamlin owns three and several drivers own two.
- HISTORY: Martin won his fourth pole of the 2012 season and 55th of his career at Michigan on Aug. 17. He is tied with Bill Elliott for seventh in all-time poles. Martin also owns 30 Nationwide and three Camping World Truck Series poles.
- CHARLOTTE: In 55 Sprint Cup starts at Charlotte, Martin owns four victories and 18 top-5 finishes. He’s led 1,183 laps. He’s won two poles at Charlotte.
- WINS: Martin owns 40 Sprint Cup, 49 Nationwide and seven Camping World Truck Series victories. He’s led 12,717 laps in Sprint Cup competition. Martin has started 849 Sprint Cup races, 236 Nationwide races and 25 truck events.
- MWR IN 2012: MWR’s five Sprint Cup Series drivers have scored a combined record of two wins (Bowyer at Sonoma and Richmond), 20 top-five and 47 top-10 finishes in 2012. MWR’s Toyotas have led 908 laps.
- 100 TOP 10s: MWR owns 99 top-10 finishes since it began racing.
No. 55 2012 Driver Schedule:
Oct. 21 Kansas – Martin
Oct. 28 Martinsville- Vickers
Nov. 4 Texas – Martin
Nov. 11 Phoenix – Martin
Nov. 18 Homestead – Martin