Mark ‘The Kid’ Martin, a name many NASCAR fans know and love. On Sunday at Martinsville Speedway, Mark will be driving his way to his 800th Cup Series start. He will join an elite group consisting of famous names like Richard Petty, Terry Labonte, Kyle Petty, Darrell Waltrip, Ricky Rudd, Dave Marcis and Bill Elliott, who have reached the milestone of 800 career starts.
When asked about his 800th start, Mark explained, “I hate to say this isn’t a big deal, because it is. But, to me, the bigger deal is what you accomplished in those starts, not just the starts themselves. I’ve had a really good 799 starts. We’ve had a lot of wins, a lot of success and a lot of fun. I’ve made friends out here that will be friends forever, and I can’t imagine anything else I would have rather been doing than racing all of those days. Beyond the stat itself or the records or whatever, it’s the experiences of it all that are the most important to me.” Some of the statistics from his four decades of racing… 40 wins (has 16th most wins all time), 264 Top Fives, 429 Top Tens, and has come in second in the Championship contention five times.
Now for some fun facts about Mark’s racing career. On April 5, 1981, Mark made his first Cup Series start at North Wilkesboro Speedway, and finished 27th. On February 14, 1982, he started his first Daytona 500 with his owner, Jack Roush, finishing 30th. During his 113th race, on October 22, 1989 at Rockingham, he led 101 laps, then closing the deal with a win. 723rd race came on February 15, 2009, when he started his first race with Hendrick Motorsports in his Number 5 Kellogg’s Chevrolet and managed to finish 16th. Finally, on April 18, 2009, at the age of fifty years, three months and nine days, Mark won at Phoenix and became the fourth driver over fifty to win a Sprint Cup Race.
Hopefully we see Mark and that Number 5 back in Victory Lane very soon!
*quote taken from HMS article*