Today, NASCAR is inducting one of its classiest, most talented drivers of all time into its illustrious Hall of Fame. A driver favorite amongst fans, Martin and his race teams won 40 races in total before he retired. Any person would be hard pressed to pick a driver who’s had more success on and off the racetrack than Mark Martin. This week, the former driver won’t be thinking as much about the races he almost won (Daytona 2007). He probably won’t be thinking about finishing twice, five times in the points race, just narrowly missing his chance to claim a NASCAR championship. I doubt anyone who’s a true race fan will do anything but smile with NASCAR and its community of drivers-families watching in admiration as Mark Martin is officially placed into the NASCAR Hall of Fame – right where he belongs.
At Racing Junk we’re all big fans of Mark Martin and the way he’s always carried himself, standing tall in a respectable way. He proved to the world every Sunday that he was a true professional (both on and off the track); he did this throughout his entire career. We felt it was fitting to write up a list of what we thought were Mark Martin’s best stock car victories. It’s a brief recap of a monumental career that turned a Batesville, Ark. boy into a winning, NASCAR Hall of Fame driver.
5. Rockingham 1989
It took Mark Martin over eight years of racing in the NASCAR series to win his first race. That first win wouldn’t be his last! After a rocky beginning to his NASCAR career, Mark finally captured a win in his #6 STROH’s LIGHT car at Rockingham Motor Speedway on Oct. 22, 1989. The race began with Mark starting in seventh position. He would wind up leading 69 laps that day in his run to the checker flag. Mark Martin was a young 30 years old when he got his first NASCAR trophy, a far cry from the young faces we see coming up through the ranks today.
4. Charlotte 1998
In 1998 Mark Martin had the most wins he’d ever accumulate over the span of an entire NASCAR season (7). Mark would get pretty close to that number again but would never quite see seven wins in total. His biggest win that year was at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Oct. 4, 1998 Mark began the race in second position in his Eagle One Ford Taurus. He would run near the front the majority of the evening, finishing in first place when all was said and done. The 1998 Winston Cup season was one of Mark Martin’s most successful in stock-car racing.
3. Kansas 2005
Mark Martin and long time boss Jack Roush are pictured here, grinning from ear to ear after Mark finished in first place in his Jack Roush Racing Viagra Ford Taurus. Mark began the race in Kansas that year in nineteenth position on a sunny fall afternoon. On Oct. 9, 2005 he would work his way to the front and win his only race of the 2005 NASCAR season. That may sound like a disappointing year for Jack and Mark, but don’t be to quick to judge the pair for their lack of wins that year, because Mark would end up finishing with 12 top fives and 19 top tens in total.
2. Phoenix 2009
The five wins that Mark Martin and his CarQuest race team won in 2009 were long awaited. Mark, over the previous three NASCAR seasons, had failed to finish with a win and he and his race team were desperate to show they were still a team to be feared on Sundays. Mark Martin ended his three-year-long winless streak early that year at Phoenix Motor Speedway on April 18, 2009, proving that an old dog can still learn new tricks.
1. Loudon 2009
As the old sang goes, “you’re only as good as your last race.” It just so happens that the last time Mark Martin won a Sprint Cup race was Sept. 20, 2009 in Loudon, N.H. Pictured here with his bottle of bubbly and clearly proud of his race win, this would be the last time Mark Martin would see victory lane in his illustrious racing career. Beginning the day in 14th position, Mark would weave his way through NASCAR’s best and brightest on his way to capturing his 40th win. We didn’t know at the time that #40 would be his last, but it is most definitely his best.