HEIGHT: 5’6 WEIGHT: 125
HOMETOWN: BATESVILLE, AR
RESIDENCE: DAYTONA BEACH, FL
RANK: 26 POINTS: 406
Mark Martin began his 30th season in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in 2012, but it marked his first season driving the No. 55 Aaron’s Dream Machine Toyota for Michael Waltrip Racing.
Under the guidance of crew chief Rodney Childers, Martin and the No. 55 team look like they’ve been working together for years. The combination has already produced several poles and a near victory at Pocono.
It’s just a taste of what is to come.
The future hall of famer will race in 25 Sprint Cup events each of the next two seasons. In 2012, he shares the Aaron’s Dream Machine with two-time Daytona 500 champion Michael Waltrip and Brian Vickers.
Their Toyota carries the number. 55 honoring Charlie Loudermilk’s founding of Aaron’s in 1955. Martin will drive the primarily white and blue paint scheme whose colors will reverse when Waltrip races. RK Motors serves as the sponsor in Vickers’ six races.
Martin expects to not only continue his high level of performance on the track, but to play a key role off the track. Martin Truex Jr. and Clint Bowyer are both prime contenders for berths in the 2012 Chase for the Sprint Cup and Martin hopes to be a resource for both young drivers.
The reason is simple: no matter what he drives, Martin wins.
The Arkansas native owns 40 Sprint Cup and 49 Nationwide victories (second on all-time list) and is a seven-time winner in the Camping World Truck Series. He won 13 races and five championships in 12 years of IROC competition and owns four American Speed Association titles. Only Waltrip and Martin, with nearly 1,600 combined Sprint Cup starts, have won races in four different decades in the Sprint Cup, Nationwide or Camping World Truck Series.
Racing hasn’t always been easy for Martin who began his career at the age of 15 winning on the short tracks in Arkansas. Success in the American Speed Association propelled him to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in 1981. But on-track success wasn’t enough to keep Martin in NASCAR. Lack of funding forced a return to ASA racing where he won his fourth championship in 1986.
Martin returned to NASCAR in 1987 before joining forces with Jack Roush in 1988 beginning a 19-year relationship that saw Martin win 35 Sprint Cup races and finish second in the points four times. His success wasn’t limited to the Sprint Cup garage. Martin dominated the Nationwide Series leading to the media to name him the greatest Nationwide driver of all time in 2006.
Martin reduced his schedule in 2007 and 2008 competing in 24 Sprint Cup races each season with the team now known as Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing. He returned to full-time racing with Hendrick Motorsports in 2009 winning five races and finishing second in the standings, for the fifth time in his career. The 2010 and 2011 were solid seasons once again for Martin who finished 13th and 22nd in the points.