Mark Martin through the years
By Staff Report | Thursday, January 9, 2020
Craig Jones /Allsport
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Mark Martin's NASCAR career spanned three decades and included 96 total wins in NASCAR's three national series. We picked him as the best/most influential driver for the Nos. 6 and 02 in our Driver by Number project. Read on to see highlights from his career.
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Martin won the Busch Pole Award 56 times at NASCAR's top level, his first coming in 1981 at Nashville.
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A tremendous career in the NASCAR Xfinity Series included 49 wins, second most in series history to Kyle Busch. Combined with his performance in the premier series and Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series, Martin ended his career with 96 victories in the three NASCAR national series.
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Yes, in his early days -- like this picture from 1985 -- Mark Martin had a full head of hair. And a mustache.
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Martin would win 40 races at NASCAR's highest level, which places him 19th on the all-time list.
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Martin's first premier series victory came in 1989, his second season with Jack Roush (left). Martin led the final 77 laps of the Oct. 22 race at Rockingham.
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Martin's last victory driving the No. 6 car for Roush Fenway Racing came at Kansas in 2005. Martin drove for Roush from 1988-2006. All said, 35 of Martin's 40 premier series wins came with Roush. The last five came driving for Rick Hendrick.
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After winning the 2005 All-Star Race, despite being on what he believed would be his farewell tour, Martin joked over the radio, 'I'll be back next year if y'all give me a ride!' Jack Roush did exactly that when Kurt Busch left for Team Penske.
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The 2005 Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway was supposed to be the last race of Martin's full-time racing career, following a season-long 'Salute to You' farewell tour thanking his fans. Greg Biffle edged Martin by just .017 seconds for the race victory.
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A Daytona 500 victory has proven elusive for many drivers, notably Mark Martin and Tony Stewart. Martin was close in 2007 in a photo finish as Kevin Harvick stormed by on the outside. The margin of victory was .020 seconds.
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Martin came so painfully close to a NASCAR Cup Series championship, finishing second in the final series standings five times. The last time was in 2009, when he was second to Jimmie Johnson while driving the No. 5 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet. It was Johnson's fourth consecutive title.
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Here's Mark getting a hug before the 2013 Daytona 500, which would be Martin's last race at the fabled track. He made 55 starts there and earned 10 top-five finishes.
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Martin's final season as a driver (28 races) was in 2013, piloting three different rides -- the No. 55 Toyota, and as a substitute in the No. 11 Toyota for Denny Hamlin (one race) and the No. 14 Chevrolet for Tony Stewart (12 races).
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Freshly minted NASCAR Hall of Fame selectee Mark Martin was back at the track in May as pace car driver for the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. He chatted with David Ragan at the driver meeting before the May 29 race in 2016.
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Martin was part of some heady company in the Class of 2017, which also includes Richard Childress, Rick Hendrick, Raymond Parks and Benny Parsons.
Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images
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Martin speaks during the NASCAR Hall of Fame Class of 2017 Induction Ceremony. Martin called being named to the 2017 Hall of Fame class the 'crown jewel' of his career.
Streeter Lecka/Stewart-Haas Racing via Getty Images
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Clint Bowyer paid tribute to his former teammate with his throwback paint scheme for the 2017 Darlington race weekend. Here, the two are seen at the paint scheme unveiling at the NASCAR Hall of Fame.
Streeter Lecka | Getty Images
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Mark Martin congratulates his former team owner, Jack Roush, after Roush was voted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame Class of 2019 on May 23, 2018.