CORNELIUS, N.C. — No. 55 Aaron’s Dream Machine Toyota driver Mark Martin admits he isn’t big on reading NASCAR’s record book.
But he’s certainly rewriting it.
The Michael Waltrip Racing driver won his 56th career pole Friday in Phoenix moving past Bill Elliott and into sole possession of seventh place in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series all-time poles.
Martin remains the second oldest driver to win a pole. He was 54 years, 1 month and 4 days old last Friday at Phoenix. Gant won a pole at Bristol in 1994 when he was 54 years 7 months and 15 days old. Gant is still the oldest Sprint Cup winner visiting victory lane at Michigan in 1992 when he was 52.
Martin will look to take over that record this weekend when the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series visits Las Vegas Motor Speedway where he won the inaugural race in 1998 and posted six top-5 finishes in 15 starts at the 1.5-mile track.
MARTIN ON HARRY GANT: “Whether I was to break that record or not, I look at Harry Gant and don’t feel I measure. That’s just me. Records don’t mean much. I have the respect (for Gant) — I was there with him and had the pleasure of racing with him and beat by him on a regular occasion. I’ll always look at him as someone who accomplished more than I did. He was the guy I couldn’t beat at the time. He’s an incredible guy.”
WINNING 5 POLES IN 26 MWR RACES: “Rodney Childers (crew chief) and all the guys that work on the Aaron’s Dream Machine do such a nice job. The cars are just really nice and our power from Toyota has been great. Qualifying is tough these days and we are very proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish.”
LAS VEGAS: “We’ve had some success in Las Vegas winning the very first race in 1998. Sure, we can do that again. We led 75 laps Sunday so we know we’re capable of running well. We’ll just need to put the whole race together. But we can do that. These guys give me good cars each weekend. We’ll see what we can learn Thursday during the test and hopefully have something for them on Sunday. With this new Gen-6 car, the window of opportunity is open for all these teams to find something and have a big advantage over the rest of the field for several weeks.”
• PRIMARY/BACKUP CHASSIS: 715/720
• STAYING IN VEGAS: Nearly all of MWR’s road crews flew from Phoenix to Las Vegas on Monday afternoon in preparation for Thursday’s test and race weekend.
• LAS VEGAS: In 15 Sprint Cup starts at Las Vegas, Martin owns one victory (1998) and six top-five finishes. He’s led 259 laps.
• SIRIUS: Michael Waltrip will co-host a special live edition Thursday of “Dialed In with Claire B. Lang” on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio channel 90 from 5-6 p.m. from the Pub in Las Vegas’s Monte Carlo Hotel.
• WINS: Martin owns 40 Sprint Cup, 49 Nationwide and seven Camping World Truck Series victories. He’s led 12,856 laps in Sprint Cup competition. Martin has started 856 Sprint Cup races, 236 Nationwide races and 25 truck events. He also owns 13 IROC wins in 47 starts.
• INSIDER PROGRAM: Michael Waltrip Racing launched its Insider Program in 2013 that offers all race fans sponsor discounts, specials on merchandise, exclusive pictures and video content plus fan giveaways throughout the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup season. Fans can access the MWR Insider Program through the CardStar application available on most smartphones. MWR will work on behalf of the fans to expand the offerings beyond just its current sponsor line-up, aggregating industry-wide deals and discounts. Fans can text MWR to 42828 to get the card for free. Offers include free headset with rental of a FanVision unit ($19.99 value) and 25% off Toyota Racing merchandise at ToyotaRacing.com.
• TWITTER: All three MWR Sprint Cup teams will carry the team’s Twitter handle @mwrteam on the roof decal.
• No. 55 DRIVERS: Martin will drive the No. 55 in 24 races, Brian Vickers in nine races and Michael Waltrip in three races.
NAME: Mark Martin
HOMETOWN: Batesville, AR
RESIDENCE: Daytona Beach, FL