Mark-ing Miami? Martin nets Series-high fourth Cup win at Chicago on road to Nov. 22 Championship at Homestead-Miami

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The Race to the Chase is heating up, and fan favorite Mark Martin is in the hunt to capture his first NASCAR Championship at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Nov. 22.  “The Kid’s” July 11 win at Chicagoland Speedway was his Sprint Cup-leading fourth win of 2009, as he used a strong jump from a double-file restart with two laps left to hold off fellow Cup contenders Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart.

“For me to get four wins halfway in [the season] was beyond my dreams,” Martin said after winning at Chicagoland. “These guys deserve it, and I hope we do [qualify for the Chase].”

After 19 races, Martin sat 11th in the Sprint Cup standings, with the Top 12 drivers qualifying for the Chase playoffs after 26 races. The points reset after that 26th race, with Chase qualifiers receiving an extra 10 points for each “regular season” win. If the Chase for the NASCAR Championship started post-Chicagoland, the 50-year old Martin would be the No. 1 seed on the strength of his series-high four victories in 2009.

Martin debuted in the sport in 1981 and came out of semi-retirement this season to run full time for Hendrick Motorsports. Four times in his career, he has come tantalizingly close to capturing the Championship—only to each time finish second. With this year’s Champion to be crowned Nov. 22 in Miami, it’s worth noting that since 1999 Martin has reeled off five Top 10 finishes at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Martin also has 13 career wins at the seven tracks up to the Sept. 12 Chase cutoff.

His competition for the 2009 Sprint Cup includes some of NASCAR’s most famed names: Stewart, Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, Carl Edwards and the Busch brothers were all sitting Top 10 in points after 19 races—all with an eye on the Championship Trophy to be awarded at Homestead-Miami Speedway Nov. 22.

Great seats are available for the Nov. 20-22 Ford Championship Weekend, featuring the series-crowning Championship finales of all three of NASCAR’s top circuits: the Camping World Truck Series (Friday), Nationwide Series (Nov. 21) and Sprint Cup Series (Sunday). For Friday night’s Truck Championship, all kids 12 and under will be admitted FREE; on Saturday for the Nationwide Championship, all kids 12 and under are just $15; and for Sunday’s Sprint Cup Championship, adult tickets start at just $55. Click here to view great seats available for each race.

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