HEIGHT: 5'6 WEIGHT: 125
HOMETOWN: Batesville, AR
RESIDENCE: Daytona Beach, FL
RANK: 24 POINTS: 716
No. 55 Aaron’s Dream Machine driver Mark Martin is 54 years old and in his 31st NASCAR Sprint Cup season. But, don’t think for a second he’s slowing down.
Experience seems to have made him faster.
The Michael Waltrip Racing driver won four poles –the most of any driver - and led 197 laps in 2012 in just 24 points races. He’s kept that pace in 2013 winning the Phoenix pole and finishing third in the Daytona 500.
Just as important, Martin played a huge role in the emergence of MWR as one of the sport’s premier teams during the last two seasons. Martin’s teammate Clint Bowyer finished second and Martin Truex Jr. 11th in 2012 earning the organization its first berths in NASCAR’s Chase for the Sprint Cup. It’s eyeing similar results this season.
“No matter what happens the thing you will always get from me is effort,” said Martin describing his approach to racing and serving as a mentor at MWR. “It’s easy for me to do that at Michael Waltrip Racing. The cars are fast, the teammates are great about working together to make our cars faster and when you walk in the building everyone has a smile on their face.”
Martin drives the No. 55 Aaron’s Dream Machine in 24 points races and two non-points races 2013. Brian Vickers drives in nine races and two-time Daytona 500 champion Waltrip races the No. 55 in three events.
Under the guidance of crew chief Rodney Childers, the No. 55 team finished 15th in owner points in 2012. It looks like it might finish even higher in 2013 and continue to add a few more lines to Martin’s already impressive resume.
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.
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