Ernie Irvan To Make 300th Career Winston Cup Start At Martinsville Speedway CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Three hundred is the magic number for "M&M's"Â® Racing Team driver Ernie Irvan. When Irvan left California to pursue a career in Winston Cup racing he...
Ernie Irvan To Make 300th Career Winston Cup Start At Martinsville Speedway
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Three hundred is the magic number for "M&M's"® Racing Team driver Ernie Irvan. When Irvan left California to pursue a career in Winston Cup racing he had only $300 in his pocket to make it to the East Coast. That $300 helped start a career that will reach a major milestone on April 18. Irvan will make the 300th start of his Winston Cup career at the Goody's Headache Powder 500 at Martinsville Speedway in the "M&M's"® No. 36 Pontiac.
En route to this career milestone, Irvan raced on many different tracks in a variety of classes. He entered the world of Winston Cup racing on September 13, 1987 at another Virginia track, Richmond International Raceway. Irvan started 20th and finished 29th in a car sponsored by NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt. The next 298 starts helped make Irvan one of the top 50 Winston Cup drivers in Winston Cup history. Irvan currently sits 20th on the all-time list of race winners in the modern era.
"It's hard to believe that when I start at Martinsville in a couple of weeks I will have taken the green flag 300 times," Irvan said. "I mean, that is a lot of races and a lot of miles in a race car. That's not something I usually think about, but the number 300 seems pretty big to me. "When I left California I knew I wanted to be a Winston Cup race car driver, but I wasn't sure that leaving the West Coast with $300 would get me there. But here I am, 300 starts later. "The "M&M's"® Racing Team is having a great year so far and I know that will continue. We've already had two top-10 finishes in the "M&M's"® Pontiac and what better way to cap off my 300th start than with a win at Martinsville. We need to get those "M&M's"® characters into victory lane and soon."
Since making his first career Winston Cup start at Richmond International Raceway in 1987, Irvan has enjoyed a great deal of success in the series. Following the 1999 Primestar 500 at Texas Motor Speedway, Irvan has 15 career Winston Cup wins and 22 pole positions to his credit. Irvan has also amassed 68 top-five and 121 top-10 finishes. Included in Irvan's career highlights is a very impressive record at the track where he will make his 300th start. He has a 1993 win and two pole positions at this track. Irvan's most recent run at the .526-mile oval showed his prowess on the track. Not only did Irvan capture the pole position for the race, his third in 1998, he went on to finish eighth in the field.
"The run at Martinsville last fall was one of the best runs of our season," Irvan said. "We had a really strong car from the time we unloaded and that showed in both qualifying and the race. I really believe the "M&M's"® Pontiac will be just as good or better at Martinsville this time around. Bristol is the first short track we visit and then we go back-to-back with Martinsville. Our short-track races are really a lot of fun."
When Ernie Irvan unloads his "M&M's"® Pontiac at Martinsville Speedway he has a lot to look forward to. Not only will he be strapping into the No. 36 Pontiac to make his 300th career Winston Cup start, he is also looking to improve on last fall's race. Irvan sees another pole position and at least a top-five performance by the "M&M's"® Racing Team.
"There is a lot going on at Martinsville, but we're ready for the race and are focused on getting the best performance from our race car. Martinsville is a track where there is a lot of beating and banging on the race track and I think the Red, Yellow and Blue "M&M's"® Characters on the car will be a little worse for wear by the end of the day. They will find out what short track racing is really all about."