Sunday, September 20, 2009
One For The Aged
As we begin (in my opinion) the best ten weeks in sports outside of Super Bowl Sunday, history today was made in Louden, New Hampshire. Fifty year old Mark Martin, driving the #5 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet, won his first ever race at Louden Motor Speedway, and in doing so became the oldest driver to win a race in the "Chase For The Sprint Cup," a playoff-style change to NASCAR that began in 2004.
Mark Martin began driving in NASCAR in 1981. In 1982 he finished 2nd in "Rookie of the Year" standings. However, it was not until 1989 that Martin won his first race, at thew North Carolina Motor Speedway in Rockingham. He has finished second in the Cup Series standings a remarkable four times, earning him the title "Best Driver never to win a Championship." Additionally, Martin currently has more wins than any other driver in NASCAR's "junior" series, currently known as the Nationwide Series.
In the interest of full disclosure, I am a fan of the #48 team, with driver Jimmie Johnson and Crew Chief Chad Knaus, which is also owned by Hendrick Motorsports and is the reigning and 3-time consecutive champion of NASCAR. However, Mark Martin is most definitely the sentimental favorite to win the championship, and any fan of almost any NASCAR driver would agree that if there is one driver besides their favorite whom they would love to see win, it is indeed Martin.