Phoenix: Mark Martin preview

Martin Set To Make 600th Career Nextel Cup Start at Phoenix Veteran will become only the 13th driver of the modern era to reach milestone CONCORD, N.C. (Nov. 3, 2004) -- Roush Racing's Mark Martin will make his 600th career Nextel Cup start when...

Martin Set To Make 600th Career Nextel Cup Start at Phoenix
Veteran will become only the 13th driver of the modern era to reach milestone

CONCORD, N.C. (Nov. 3, 2004) -- Roush Racing's Mark Martin will make his 600th career Nextel Cup start when the green flag drops this Sunday in Phoenix. Martin will become just the 13th driver to reach the margin in NASCAR's modern era, which started in 1972.

"It's hard to believe that we've been around that long," said Martin. "I've had the chance to live out my dreams over the past 20 years and the credit for that really goes to a lot of other people. I really have to thank the Robin Pemberton and Steve Hmeils' of the world, as well as people like Jimmy Fennig and Ben Leslie and Pat Tryson. It's really a testimate to all of the guys who gave a lot up over the years.

"It also says a lot about Jack Roush," added Martin. "He got this thing started and stuck with it and he took a chance on me back in 1988 and here we are today. I also have to thank all of the fans who have stuck with us throughout the years. Without there support we surely would not have been able to accomplish the things that we have."

Martin made his first start in the series on April 3, 1981 at North Wilkesboro Speedway, where he started fifth before eventually finishing 27th with a broken rear end. A few months later in only this third Cup start, Martin captured the pole at Nashville. A few weeks later Martin captured his second career pole at Richmond. He would go on to run his self-owned car five times, claiming two poles, two top-10 finishes and one top-five.

In 1988 Martin teamed up with car owner Jack Roush. Seventeen years, 542 races, 41 poles and 34 wins later Martin is still running the No. 6 Roush Racing Ford Taurus at the front of the pack. Martin has currently started 542 consecutive Nextel Cup races, the third longest current streak and the sixth longest ever. Martin is currently fourth in the Nextel Cup standings, and assured of his 14th top-10 points finish in the last 16 years. Martin has 339 finishes in 599 starts (57 percent) and 214 top-fives (36 percent).

Listed below are the numerical milestones of Martin's Cup career:

First Cup Race: April 5, 1981, North Wilkesboro Speedway -- Started 5, Finished 27

First Pole: Sept. 13, 1981, Wrangler 400, Richmond -- Started 1, Finished 7

100th Cup Start: June, 25, 1989, Miller High Life 400, Michigan -- Started 4, Finished 12

First Win: Oct. 22, 1989, AC-Delco 500, Rockingham, Started 7, Finished 1

200th Cup Start: Oct, 25, 1992 - AC Delco 500, Rockingham -- Started 2, Finished 30

300th Cup Start: March 31, 1996 - Food City 500, Bristol -- Started 1, Finished 3

400th Cup Start: May 2, 1999 - California 500 -- Started 3, Finished 38

500th Cup Start: March 24, 2002 -- Food City 500, Bristol -- Started 37, Finished 11

500th Consecutive Cup Start -- Sylvania 300, New Hampshire -- Started 33, Finished 28

600th Cup Start is set for Phoenix on Nov. 7, 2004.

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jack Roush , Mark Martin