If you think Mark Martin has been driving in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series forever, you may be right. The 53-year-old Martin will be making his 850th career start in the series on Saturday night at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
What may be more impressive is that Martin is still a consistent threat to win on any given weekend. While other drivers with similar success have been relegated to mid-pack status Martin is still running at the front of the pack. This season he joined Michael Waltrip Racing to drive the No. 55 car on a limited basis.
“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.”
Maybe Martin will be a bit more impressed with his 40 career wins or the 270 finishes inside the top-five. Two of Martin’s last three starts have resulted in finishes of third suggesting he will be a driver worth keeping an eye on this weekend. Michael Waltrip drove the No. 55 Toyota last weekend at Talladega.
In Martin’s 19 starts this season he has finished inside the top-five 4 times, and inside the top-ten 8 times. Martin also scored poles at Phoenix, Richmond, Dover and Michigan.