Countdown to the Shootout: Mark Martin

Countdown to the Budweiser Shootout: Mark Martin Martin's farewell tour to begin with record 17th straight Shootout start (Friday, Jan. 28, 2005) -- The last Budweiser Shootout Mark Martin was not a part of wasn't even called the Budweiser ...

Countdown to the Budweiser Shootout: Mark Martin

Martin's farewell tour to begin with record 17th straight Shootout start

(Friday, Jan. 28, 2005) -- The last Budweiser Shootout Mark Martin was not a part of wasn't even called the Budweiser Shootout. It was the Busch Clash, and the year was 1988. Rain Man had yet to be released, Wrigley Field still had no lights, and the 29-year old Martin was left out of the season-opening star-filled race for the sixth straight year since making his debut in 1982.

That would never happen again. Martin won the Bud Pole Award at Dover in September of 1988 -- his first year with Roush Racing -- and hence gained eligibility for the next season's Shootout. He has yet to miss one since -- a record 16 consecutive Budweiser Shootouts. He'll make his 17th straight start on Feb. 12, and, most likely, it will be his last.

The 2005 Budweiser Shootout at Daytona will kick off what Martin has labeled his "Salute To You" Tour, a year-long gesture of appreciation while he competes for the Nextel Cup title for the final time. Likewise, Rusty Wallace will begin his farewell tour, "Rusty's Last Call", by competing in his 19th Budweiser Shootout. Martin's 17 starts and Wallace's 18 are bested only by Bill Elliott's 19. Coincidentally, he too will be racing on Feb. 12th.

"I've always thought the Bud Shootout was a great way to start the season off," Martin said. "It's one of those rare races where second place means nothing, and you just have to go out there and put everything on the line to win the thing."

Martin did just that in 1999, storming from 13th to beat Ken Schrader by .215 seconds to earn his only Shootout victory. In 17 starts he has six top-fives and $497,877 in prize earnings. Wallace has one win, four top-fives and $506,377 in earnings in 18 starts. His victory in 1998 was special, as he beat his younger brother, Kenny Wallace, to earn the Shootout's first six-figure prize of $100,000. Martin's victory the ensuing year was worth $106,000.

Perhaps equally as remarkable as 16 consecutive starts is that Martin has made all of them with the same team -- the No. 6 Roush Racing team. Martin signed with Jack Roush in 1988 and recorded 10 top-10s in his first season. Martin's first Shootout in 1982 was his only one not in a Roush Racing Ford, as he drove a car funded out of his own pocket. He finished eighth out of 13 drivers that day in the No. 02 Buick.

"This will be our 17th consecutive Shootout, and I ran my first one way back in 1982," Martin said. "We were able to win it in '99, and that was a lot of fun. Last year we had a really good car and were able to run up front with the leaders (finishing fourth). Hopefully we'll be able to be competitive again. I can think of nothing that would get our "Salute To You" tour off to a better start than racing for the win in the Budweiser Shootout. I'd also like to thank all the people involved with the Budweiser Shootout over the years for the great job they have done in putting on a great race for both the fans and the drivers."

The 27th running of the Budweiser Shootout is scheduled for Sat., Feb. 12 at 8 p.m. ET. 3 Doors Down will perform before and after the race, kicking off their 2005 world tour. Race tickets are available by calling 1-800-Pit-Shop or by logging on to www.1800Pitshop.com. For more information on the Budweiser Shootout, including photos, logos, statistics and past news releases from the Countdown Series, please log on to fingerprintonline.com.

-budweiser-

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Bill Elliott , Rusty Wallace , Ken Schrader , Kenny Wallace , Jack Roush , Mark Martin