CORNELIUS, N.C. — No race track on the NASCAR Sprint Cup circuit has been kinder to No. 55 Aaron’s Dream Machine driver Mark Martin than Michigan International Speedway where he’ll race Sunday for Michael Waltrip Racing.

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

Photo by: Action Sports Photography

The 54-year-old Batesville, Ark. native has made 55 of his 869 starts on the two-mile, D-shaped oval in Brooklyn, Mich. He’s visited victory lane five times—the most for Martin at any track on the Sprint Cup circuit. He’s also earned two Nationwide Series victories and has led 965 laps.

He’s frequently asked why Michigan is one of the tracks he always wants to add to his racing schedule.

“I love Michigan. It’s like a big short track. The track lends itself to the guys who focus on the handling of their race cars. That’s always been my specialty. We’ve run well there over the years and last year we had a really good car.”

Martin led 54 laps in the June 2012 race before a wreck ruined his chances for victory. In June 2013 he climbed as high as third before an untimely caution followed by mechanical problems left him with a 26th-place finish.

“The cars are different this year. We ran well in June, but a caution got us. We got back up to 11th but our day ended early. It just needed to hold together 16 more laps. We weren’t the fastest that day but we were faster than a lot of other cars.”

Martin said this weekend’s goal is the same as it has always been.

“We want to run well and win the race. That’s why everyone is here. (Crew Chief) Rodney (Childers) and the No. 55 guys have given me good cars all year. They’ve worked hard of late to get better and I think you'll see that work show this weekend.”

Martin finished third in the Daytona 500 in February. He owns four top-10s in 15 races in 2013 sharing the driving duties in the No. 55 with Brian Vickers and Michael Waltrip. He’s led 75 laps this season.

Michael Waltrip Racing