Martin to kickoff season with Shootout

MARTIN TO KICKOFF 2006 SEASON WITH RECORD 18TH CONSECUTIVE BUD SHOOTOUT Veteran driver to make 19th career start in Shootout, dating back to 1982 CONCORD, N.C. (Feb. 2, 2006) -- Mark Martin will kick off the encore of his "Salute To You" Tour...

MARTIN TO KICKOFF 2006 SEASON WITH RECORD 18TH CONSECUTIVE BUD SHOOTOUT
Veteran driver to make 19th career start in Shootout, dating back to 1982

CONCORD, N.C. (Feb. 2, 2006) -- Mark Martin will kick off the encore of his "Salute To You" Tour when he takes to the track on Feb. 11th for his record 18th consecutive Budweiser Shootout under the lights at Daytona International Speedway. Martin will make his inaugural run in the AAA Ford Fusion in the event, where his roots date back to his first start in the then Busch Clash in 1982.

"The Shootout has always been a cool event," said Martin. "And it will be really cool this year as it's our first race with our new sponsor AAA and the first race in the all new Ford Fusion. So we'll have a new car, a new sponsor and we'll be looking to take both to victory lane in our first opportunity. The all new AAA paint scheme is really cool and I can't wait for the fans to get a chance to see it under the lights in the Shootout.

"As for the race you just never know in the Shootout. Basically you go out and look to win an event like the Shootout, because second place means nothing," added Martin who won the 2005 Nextel Cup All-Star Challenge, the circuits other all-star event.

"Sometimes you might gamble a bit to get up front and hope it pays off, that's what we did a couple of years ago," added Martin. "The bottom line is that second place is no better than 17th or 18th in the Shootout, so it's not uncommon to see teams do that. This year we are going to go out and try and win it again like we did in '99. Hopefully we can have those type of results. You just never know in that race."

In 1981 Martin became the first rookie to ever qualify for the event, by earning a spot after winning his first career Cup pole in only his third career start on July 11, 1981 at Nashville International Raceway. The young driver would actually go on to capture two poles in 1981, despite running only five races. Martin would finish eighth in the 1982 Shootout.

Martin will run his 19th Budweiser Shootout and his 18th consecutive. The veteran driver, who will walk away from the Nextel Cup series full-time schedule at the end of the season, has amassed 41 career poles -- a large reason for his 18 Shootout starts. He'll start this year's Shootout via a former winner's provisional, a right he earned when he held off Ken Schrader to win the 1999 Shootout.

After the 1982 Shootout, Martin did not compete in the event again until 1989, but the veteran driver has not missed the event since.

Roush Racing is a subsidiary of Livonia, Mich., based Roush Entersprises which operates 13 motorsports teams; five in NASCAR Nextel Cup with drivers Mark Martin, Matt Kenseth, Jamie McMurray, Greg Biffle and Carl Edwards, six in the Busch Series with Martin, Kenseth, Biffle, Edwards, Todd Kluever and Danny O'Quinn Jr., and two in the Craftsman Truck Series with Martin, David Ragan and Erik Darnell.

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Matt Kenseth , Ken Schrader , Greg Biffle , Jamie McMurray , Carl Edwards , Todd Kluever , Erik Darnell , Danny O'Quinn , Mark Martin