Countdown to Daytona: 40

January 15, 2013, Reid Spencer, NASCAR Wire Service,

There are 40 days left before the Feb. 24, 2013 Daytona 500; hence, today’s number is: 40.

The number of career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victories recorded by veteran Mark Martin. Should he add to that total in 2013, Martin, who turned 54 on Jan. 9, would become the oldest winner of a Cup event, surpassing Harry Gant, who won for the last time, at age 52, on Aug. 16, 1992 at Michigan. Martin, who won four poles last year at age 53, also could become the oldest pole Cup pole winner this year, but he’ll have to wait at least until September. Gant, whose birthday is Jan. 10, won his last pole at Bristol in late August 1994, at 54 years, 7 months and 15 days.