Mark Martin understands DEI legacy

HISTORICAL SIGNIFICANCE DOES NOT ESCAPE NEW DRIVER OF NO. 8 CAR MOORESVILLE, N.C. (Feb. 6, 2008) -- It might not have been his favorite subject in school, but nobody understands the importance of history more than veteran NASCAR driver Mark ...

HISTORICAL SIGNIFICANCE DOES NOT ESCAPE NEW DRIVER OF NO. 8 CAR

MOORESVILLE, N.C. (Feb. 6, 2008) -- It might not have been his favorite subject in school, but nobody understands the importance of history more than veteran NASCAR driver Mark Martin.

"I'm old enough to recognize what history really means," said Martin. "I don't think you can really understand that when you're a kid. So for me, it's incredibly special.

"It goes all the way back to 1981 when I started racing with Dale Earnhardt," continued Martin. "I raced against that No. 8 Busch car that Dale and Teresa owned back in the mid-'80s and we had some spirited battles. It's hard for me to believe that we had all that through the eighties and nineties; and now for me to work here at Dale Earnhardt Inc. and to be a part of this is incredibly important to me, because I do understand that history."

Martin, who will take over the No. 8 Chevrolet at Dale Earnhardt Inc. this season, can recall many races with the iconic Earnhardt. The battles between the two have been described as legendary, with the two fighting for numerous championships. Earnhardt edged Martin by just 26 points in 1990 and Martin finished second to Earnhardt again in 1994.

"We were fierce competitors at the racetrack," said Martin. "We had completely different styles, but we had a mutual respect for each other, and I'm very proud of that to this day."

In the 12-year span from 1989 to 2000, the two drivers finished inside the top 10 in points on 11 occasions. They finished in the top three at the same time during four seasons, including the one-two finishes in 1990 and 1994.

Martin went head-to-head with Earnhardt 459 times in his career. During that time the two combined for 81 wins, 364 top fives and 558 top-10 finishes. During that period, Earnhardt had an 11.4 average finish, while Martin fell just behind with 12.4.

Eight years later, Martin is set to take over the flagship No. 8 of Dale Earnhardt Inc.

"I'm very proud to be able to drive the No. 8 car at Dale Earnhardt Inc.," added Martin. "And I'm very proud to carry the U.S. Army on board as well.

"(Crew chief) Tony Gibson and these guys had some incredible runs with this car last season and we hope to build on that. These guys really bring a lot to the table and it will be our goal to go out and compete for wins this season."

In addition, Martin is excited about the direction of his new team as a whole.

"Everything is full speed ahead," added Martin. "The attitude is fantastic. I can't tell you what it's like to go to the race track and be around such enthusiastic people. Working with Martin (Truex) - who is an incredible talent - and with Paul Menard - who has yet to show everyone what he really can do - is amazing. Everybody knows how I feel about Regan (Smith) and Aric (Almirola). So it's just a terrific opportunity for me to work with some of the best up-and-coming talent in NASCAR.

"I think there is tremendous potential at Dale Earnhardt Inc.," said Martin. "Everyone is working together like never before at DEI. "We have four great teams that are truly one the same page, competing for one common goal."

-credit: dei

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Paul Menard , Mark Martin