MARTIN TO MAKE MILESTONE 600TH CONSECUTIVE CUP START THIS WEEKEND Martin holds current longest active steak in NASCAR Nextel Cup, fifth all-time longest streak CONCORD, N.C. (July 10, 2006) - Mark Martin will make his 600th consecutive Cup...
MARTIN TO MAKE MILESTONE 600TH CONSECUTIVE CUP START THIS WEEKEND
Martin holds current longest active steak in NASCAR Nextel Cup, fifth all-time longest streak
CONCORD, N.C. (July 10, 2006) - Mark Martin will make his 600th consecutive Cup start this weekend when the green flag drops on Sunday at New Hampshire International Speedway. The run is currently the longest running streak in NASCAR and the fifth longest of all-time. Ironically, Martin made his 500th consecutive start in 2003 at New Hampshire in September.
Martin's streak dates back to Feb. 14, 1988 when he first teamed with Jack Roush in the Daytona 500. Martin finished 41st that day; humble beginnings for what would become one of the most successful partnerships in NASCAR history. Nineteen years, 35 wins, 41 poles and 366 top-10 finishes later, Martin is scheduled to make his 600th consecutive start this Sunday.
Martin ran his first Cup race in 1981, running a total of five races, while winning two poles and earning a pair of top-10 finishes. The following year he ran a full season. Martin was unable to find adequate sponsorship and ran only a handful of Cup races from 1983-87, before hooking up with Roush in 1988.
"The first thing that comes to mind is that I've been around for a long time," laughed Martin. "But really, I've been fortunate in a lot of ways. I've never had a sick day. I've never had big enough tragedy to keep out of the seat and I've been able to go to work and do my job for a long time.
"It says a lot for those around me over the years that have also worked really hard to make that be able to happen. It says a great deal about Jack Roush, who basically gave me a second chance and a great opportunity to pursue my dreams and fortunately for us, we've been doing that ever since."
During that span Martin and Roush have finished inside the top-10 of the final point standings 15 times, including four runner-up finishes and 12 top-five finishes.
"My relationship with Jack is what stands out the most," added Martin. "How it has grown and changed over that period. Jack and I have been doing this for a long time and we've been through it all. We've been through some agonizing disappointments and we've experienced the highest of highs. We have been though it all together and we have a lot to show for it.
"As for the streak itself, I really don't read that much into streaks and stuff like that, it just doesn't mean that much, other than the fact that I've been in good health, had good cars and was always able to make the race. Still, it is good knowing that I never had to call in sick. We've had hard times, and we've had times of great sadness, but we've been fortunate to make them all and I am thankful for that.
"I'm actually very thankful for everything that I have been fortunate to accomplish," added Martin. "I'm thankful to everyone around me over the years that worked so hard for it and I'm thankful to all of the fans out there who have stood by me for all of these years. Heck, I wish I was 25 and had that many ahead of me, but I'm still very thankful for everything that I have been able to do in my career. It really is a dream come true."
THE STREAK <pre> Race # Date Track Start Finish President 1st Feb 14, 1988 Daytona 38 41 Ronald Reagan 56th Oct. 22, 1989 Rockingham(1st win) 7 1 George Bush 100th June 16, 1991 Pocono 1 3 George Bush 200th Sept. 18, 1994 Dover 4 19 Bill Clinton 300th Nov. 16, 1997 Atlanta 9 3 Bill Clinton 400th Nov. 12, 2000 Homestead 11 3 George W. Bush 500th Sept. 14, 2003 New Hampshire 33 28 George W. Busch 600th July 16, 2006 New Hampshire George W. Busch