CountDown to daytona: 54

January 01, 2013, Reid Spencer, NASCAR Wire Service,

There are 54 days left before the Feb. 24, 2013 Daytona 500; hence, today’s number is: 54.

The number of career starts at Daytona International Speedway for Mark Martin, who has never won a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series points race at the 2.5-mile superspeedway. Martin came close in 2007, when Kevin Harvick edged him at the finish by .02 seconds in the Daytona 500. The Birthplace of Speed hasn’t skunked Martin completely--he won the 1999 Daytona Shootout exhibition race in a Roush Racing Ford. His 26-event 2013 schedule for Michael Waltrip Racing includes appearances in both the Shootout and Daytona 500.