Mark Martin to make 850th career Cup start at Charlotte 500

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CORNELIUS, N.C. — No. 55 Aaron’s Dream Machine Toyota driver Mark Martin makes his 850th NASCAR Sprint Cup Series start Saturday night at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Mark Martin, Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota
Mark Martin, Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota

Photo by: Getty Images

It’s the fifth most starts in NASCAR history, but guess who is the least impressed with the feat?

“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.”

But he has done a lot in all those starts.

In a 30-year career the 53-year-old Martin owns 40 victories, 55 poles and 270 top-five finishes.

Martin deflects any praise to crew members who have worked with him over three decades.

“I have been very fortunate through the years to work with a lot of great people and drive some very fast race cars. Not everyone can say that. I have really been blessed,” he said.

While the 850th start might hold little significance for Martin he does understand and appreciate notice from all the race fans.

“I have been blessed by the fans that have been so supportive through the years. They have probably meant more to me in the down years than when I was flying hot through the years. They seem to rally behind me when the going gets tough.”

Martin’s fans haven’t needed to cheer up their hero in 2012 driving for Michael Waltrip Racing. In just 19 races he owns four top-five finishes and grabbed four poles—the most of any driver.

“I love being part of MWR, working with everyone here,” said Martin. “I have great teammates in Martin Truex Jr. and Clint Bowyer.

“This is really a fantastic organization and we are experiencing a lot of success right now. We are feeling good about what we have accomplished and are ready to accomplish even more.”

Source: Michael Waltrip Racing

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Series NASCAR-CUP
Article type Preview
Tags martin, sprint cup, toyota, waltrip