MARK MARTIN ENJOYING SUCCESSFUL SEASON IN NASCAR CRAFTSMAN TRUCK SERIES NEXTEL CUP VETERAN WINNER OF THREE RACES IN SIX 2006 STARTS BROOKLYN, Mich. (June 13, 2006) -- NASCAR NEXTEL Cup veteran Mark Martin might say that the future of...
MARK MARTIN ENJOYING SUCCESSFUL SEASON IN NASCAR CRAFTSMAN TRUCK SERIES
NEXTEL CUP VETERAN WINNER OF THREE RACES IN SIX 2006 STARTS
BROOKLYN, Mich. (June 13, 2006) -- NASCAR NEXTEL Cup veteran Mark Martin might say that the future of racing in the Martin family lies in the hands of his 14-year-old son Matt, but as he enters Saturday's NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Con-way Freight 200 at Michigan International Speedway, the senior Martin isn't quite ready to give up his own youthful success just yet.
In just six starts behind the wheel of the No. 6 Scotts Miracle-Gro Ford in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, Martin's first extensive foray into driving a truck has been a Roush-ing success. Driving for owner Jack Roush against 10-year truck veterans and having made only three previous NCTS starts, Martin has amassed three victories and five top-fives, with his only finish out of the top five a solid 13th in Charlotte. Though he won't make a full leap into the trucks until 2007 when his NEXTEL Cup commitment is complete, Martin will make eight more starts this season, including one this weekend at MIS.
"Michigan is a great race track, where we've had a lot of success over the years in both the Cup and the Busch cars, so we are really looking forward to going out and running the Scotts Ford F-150 there this weekend," said Martin. "Mike Beam and the guys on the Scotts team have done a great job with that program and we've just had a lot of fun going out and competing in the truck races.
"In my opinion it's the best racing in NASCAR, and I'm glad to get to be a part of it. It's the least spoiled by commercialism. It feels very pure."
Martin has made 61 previous starts at MIS and has eight checkered flags, four of which are from the NEXTEL Cup Series. Martin has been successful at MIS with the Cup car lately, with 6 top-10 finishes in his last 9 starts. His first Michigan win came in September 1986 under the banner of the American Speed Association, and he most recently emerged victorious in an August 1997 NEXTEL Cup race.
On June 2, Martin became the first driver in the history of Dover International Speedway to complete the trifecta of victory in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup, Busch, and Craftsman Truck Series when he edged Carl Edwards for his third truck victory of 2006. Don't think, however, that the veteran will let that get to his head.
"I don't keep score," said Martin humbly when reminded of his triumvirate of Dover successes.
Also not lost on the 47-year old veteran is success in his full-time gig behind the wheel in the NEXTEL Cup Series. Through 14 races, Martin is third in NEXTEL Cup points and has eight top-10 finishes. He credits much of his success across both series to a healthy relationship with Roush.
"For me, I got so invested in this program that it would've been ridiculous to bail at some point, you know, 10 years ago or so," Martin said. "We built this together, on each other's backs, holding hands, when things weren't good and things needed a lot of work, when we needed to learn a lot and each of us needed a lot of learning. At this point, I would be afraid to think about what might've happened if I had chosen to do something else."
After Martin completes the last of his 24 seasons on the NEXTEL Cup circuit, he'll fully devote himself to the trucks and to guiding the budding career of young Matt. Before he starts contributing to the youthful, however, Martin is enjoying a few kicks of his own. After all, he's a rookie in the pickup, and rapper Budda Early released a rap anthem titled Start Your Engines in honor of Martin, the unlikely hip-hop fan. Even as he moves out of NASCAR's premier series, Martin continues to have the time of his life.
"The truck racing is the most fun I've had in years and years," he said.
Tickets for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup 3M Performance 400 presented by Post-it® Picture Paper and the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Con-way Freight 200 are currently on sale at MIS's official website, www.MISpeedway.com, or by calling the MIS ticket hotline at 1-800-354-1010. Tickets to all other events, which include the IRL IndyCar Series, the ARCA RE/MAX Series, and the NASCAR Busch Series, are also now available.