“Ageless” Martin at Top of Chase “Reset” Standings after 22 Races


If the Chase started today, Martin would be the leader after the "reset" based on his four wins this season (photo courtesy: Rusty Jarrett, Getty Images Sport)


If the Chase for NASCAR’s Sprint Cup Championship—to be crowned at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Nov. 22—started after the season’s first 22 races, there would be an unlikely leader: Mark Martin, with four victories already under his belt by mid-August.

The fan favorite has spent 27 years of his life chasing a NASCAR Championship, and his desire to track down that elusive first Sprint Cup title—to be awarded at Homestead-Miami Speedway Nov. 22—is what lured him back to drive for Rick Hendrick this year. Martin spent the last two years in a part-time ride for Dale Earnhardt Inc., and having finished second in the Sprint Cup Championship standings a heart-breaking four times, Martin was swayed when Hendrick offered him the No. 5 Chevrolet—and perhaps his best shot at a title.

Martin, who turned 50 on Jan. 9, is already in elite company: Only four drivers over the age of 50 have won a Sprint Cup race: Martin, Harry Gant, Bobby Allison and Morgan Shepherd. And just two have won more than one race, as Gant won eight after his 50th birthday, including five in 1991 as a 51-year-old. But Martin says he doesn’t feel his age, at least not while he is in a race car. 

“That adrenaline is something, there’s nothing like it,” Martin said earlier this season from Victory Lane at Chicagoland. “When I’m pumped up, driving fast racecars, I certainly don’t feel 50. But I do on Monday mornings.”

With the 2009 season again concluding in South Florida with Ford Championship Weekend Nov. 20-22, it’s interesting to note that Homestead-Miami Speedway remains one of just five tracks where Martin has yet to visit Victory Lane (alongside Loudon, Pocono, Indianapolis and Daytona ). He tried to erase Indianapolis from that list in July but settled for second place when he was unable to pass his Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jimmie Johnson.

Johnson, of course, is going for history of his own in Miami with what would be an unprecedented “four peat,” so the storylines are adding up—especially in that Hendrick camp. And it all comes down to Homestead-Miami Speedway on Nov. 22. Great seats are available now by clicking here. 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.

It’s motorsports history in 2009 as Homestead-Miami Speedway becomes the first venue ever to host all of North America’s premier motorsports championships: the IndyCar, Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car and Firestone Indy Lights Series during the NextEra Energy Resources SpeedJam Championships Oct. 9-10; and NASCAR’s Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series during Ford Championship Weekend Nov. 20-22. The BEST seats for all six 2009 championships are on sale NOW by calling (866) 409-RACE or visiting THEChampionshipTrack.com.

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