Thursday, July 11, 2013

Mark Martin: A Rap Music Connoisseur

Out of all the questions that people ask me -"How did you get into NASCAR?" "What made you start the blog?" "How long have you been a fan?" "Who's your favorite driver?" - there's one question that never gets old:  "If you could interview one person in NASCAR, dead or alive, who would it be and why?"  When asked that question, one name immediately comes to mind…Mark Martin.  

Born on January 9, 1959 in Batesville, Arkansas, Mark started out like most drivers do - at his local tracks.  In 1974, Martin competed in a car that was built - and sponsored - by his father.  He raced at the dirt tracks in Arkansas before moving up to the American Speed Association (ASA) Racing Series which was his start on asphalt.  While competing in the ASA Series, Mark won a total of twenty-two races.  From 1981 - 1987, Mark drove for six different teams.  In 1981, he made his NASCAR debut with Bud Reeder; in his five starts with Reeder, Martin won two poles.  1987 was a very successful year for Mark.  Whilst racing for Bruce Lawmaster in the Busch Series, Martin compiled two wins, three poles, and nine top tens - an impressive feat.  

Mark's success in the 1987 Busch Series season caught the attention of new team owner, Jack Roush.  Roush offered Martin a full-time ride in the Winston Cup Series in the No. 6 and little did either of them know that this would just be the beginning for both of their careers.  In 1989, Mark won his first race at North Carolina Motor Speedway.  Up until 2006, Mark piloted the No. 6 for Roush Racing with a massive amount of success, but decided to cut back his schedule.  In order to do this, Roush and Martin parted ways and in 2007, Mark split the Ginn Racing schedule with Regan Smith in the Cup Series in the No. 01 car, but in July of 2007, Dale Earnhardt Incorporated bought out Ginn Racing and Martin then drove for DEI.  In 2009, Martin again made the move to Hendrick Motorsports where he drove the No. 5 previously driven by Kyle Busch.  Martin drove for Hendrick Motorsports until the end of the 2011 season.  It was at this point where many NASCAR fans were left wondering if this was the end of Mark's racing career…it most certainly wasn't!  At the end of November, it was announced that Mark had signed a two-year partial contract with Michael Waltrip Racing valid through the end of the 2013 season.   It's safe to say, with every team that Mark raced for, he's found success with.  

Why would I like to interview Mark so much?  Well, why not?  He's a reporter's dream interviewee - he's respectable, polite, and all-around nice person.  If you ask any of the drivers in the garage who they believe to be the most respected driver, very many of them would say Mark.  Martin is a great role model for young up-and-coming drivers and a lot of the ones I've talked to and interviewed have said that they model their racing attitude after Martin's.  No matter what happens while on-track, Mark never points a finger at another driver; he refrains from casting blame upon anyone.  Another reason he is a role model for drivers is because he genuinely cares about his fans, knowing that without them, NASCAR wouldn't be what it is today.  I think what I admire most about Mark is that he remains calm and collected even when negativity is thrown at him; in order to be successful in this sport, one needs to have thick skin and not let the little things bother them.  

If I was ever fortunate enough to be granted the opportunity to sit down and talk with Mark, I 
Mark Martin with 50 Cent
Photo Credit: Getty Images
sincerely want to hear his opinion on how NASCAR has evolved - does he think it has changed for the better or for the worse.  Once I would have asked all the serious questions, I would one hundred percent talk to him about rap music, because, if you follow him on Twitter (@55MarkMartin), he tweets about two things - the gym and rap music; the man is a rap music connoisseur.  As silly as it sounds, I'm alone in my house when it comes to liking rap music, so I need someone to talk to!  When I'm in the car with my mom and a rap song comes on the radio or on my iPod when it's hooked up to the radio, I'm always forced to change it because she absolutely hates it. Once I huff and puff that I don't want to change it, my mom, without fail says, and I quote, "This is why you should be in the car with Mark and not me!"  How true that statement is - someone who actually appreciates the music I listen to.  I'd also tell him that in Turn Three at Roush Fenway Racing, my parents and I have a brick that says, "Six, that's our number." because I feel like he'd think that was pretty cool, because I certainly do.    

Mark just seems like the guy that you could sit down with and have a conversation for hours about everything racing-related and as an aspiring NASCAR broadcast journalist, it's like a dream come true. 


  1. Very cool article! Great interview Ashley!

  2. Mark has been the gold standard for me since 1990. Respect him so much!

  3. Mark has been the gold standard for me since 1990. Respect him so much!

  4. Very nice article. He's always been one of my favorites and I'm with your mom on the rap music :)