Mark Martin, 50, is set to start his 1,000th race in the NASCAR series on Saturday night at Bristol Motor Speedway. For some it may be hard to believe that 28 years ago Marin piloted a car to a 27th place finish at North Wilkesboro.
In the 28 years since that first Cup start Martin has racked up a total of 94 wins on the NASCAR circuit including 39 Cup Series races, 48 Nationwide Series events; and seven Truck Series.
While his success in the sport’s top three series is remarkable, the number of times he has strapped himself into a NASCAR ride is even more impressive. When Martin takes the green flag in the Sharpie 500 at Bristol it will be his 746th Sprint Cup race. Throw in 231 Nationwide starts and 23 Truck races and Saturday night will mark his 1,000th start.
When he straps himself into his car on Saturday night he will join Richard Petty and Michael Waltrip as the only three drivers to record 1,000 starts in a career. That’s not to say Martin is playing up the number.
“I honestly didn’t know this milestone was coming until I had a few reporters bring it up lately,” Martin said. “Wow. That’s a lot of races. I didn’t realize that I was even close to that many. To me, personally, 1,000 starts is not that big of a deal. How many wins I have in those 1,000 starts would be a stat I would be more interested in. Don’t get me wrong, I think this is great, but I don’t view starting races as a huge accomplishment.”
In 41 career Cup starts at Bristol, Martin has scored 2 wins, 15 top 5’s, 22 top 10’2 and has an average finish of 12.7 which ranks him third all time among drivers with 20 or more starts. Martin has logged a total of 10243.6 miles at the track affectionately known as the bullring.
Martin who has a series leading 4 wins currently sits in 12th in the point standings, 12 points ahead of Brian Vickers.