Mark Martin

Mark Martin

9/1/1959

A four-time ASA ACDelco Challenge Series champion, Mark Martin started racing in the Cup Series in 1981 and ran a full season in 1982 with a family-owned team. After running only 22 races between 1983 and 1987, he ran a full Busch Series schedule in 1987 for car owner Bruce Lawmaster and became the first Ford driver to win at Dover. That win caught the eye of Jack Roush, who was setting up his NASCAR Cup team for 1988. In 2003, Martin suffered his worst championship finish since 1988, his first season with Roush Racing, after he went winless for only the fifth time in his 17 full-time seasons. Martin finished second in the 2002 Cup standings after a disasterous year in 2001 that knocked him out of the top 10 for the first time since 1989. While Martin won just one race and didn't capture a Bud Pole in 2002, he was a model of consistency. He posted 22 top-10 efforts and three second-place efforts in 36 starts and had just three DNFs. He lost the NASCAR Cup title to Tony Stewart by just 38 points. It was the fourth time that Martin took runner-up honors. His poor showing in 2001 -- which included his first winless season since 1996 -- caused team owner Jack Roush to make a drastic crew change. Crew chief Jimmy Fennig switched to Kurt Busch's car, along with car chief Shawn Parker. Ben Leslie came over from Busch's team to serve as crew chief. During a season that saw Martin capture one win (Dover - June, Martin and the Viagra Racing Team managed to reel off four top-five finishes in its last five races during August and September, making the cut for the inaugural "Chase for the NEXTEL Cup" with two places to spare, despite having to battle through several failures. He stated at Lowe's Motor Speedway in October that the 2005 season will be his 25th and final full year of competition in the Cup Series, which was the plan until September rolled around. After clinching a record-breaking fifth IROC title, and a win in the NEXTEL Cup All-Star race and the event at Kansas, Martin was called upon for an encore by car owner Jack Roush. Martin will extend his 'Salute To You' Tour and return to pilot the car for one more year in 2006, with Todd Kluever set to take over the reigns from Martin in 2007. Martin, a Batesville, Ark., native, has 35 career Cup victories and 41 Bud Pole Awards. Martin is the career victory leader in the Busch Series with 47 wins, where he dominated despite not running a full schedule there since 1987. Martin also owns Mark Martin Performance, a company that sells quarter-midget racing chassis like the one his son Matt races in. He also helped build a quarter-midget track in the New Snyrna (fla.) infield.

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