|Martin had many successful seasons with "the Cat in the Hat,"|
Jack Roush - credit: Getty Images/Rusty Jarrett
He was once described by ESPN as the “best driver to never win a championship,” but that didn’t stop voters from inducting Mark Martin into the NASCAR Hall of Fame. Learn more about Martin, who will be one of five inductees on Jan. 20, 2017, in this week’s Fast Facts, and look for profiles on fellow Hall of Famers Raymond Parks and Benny Parsons in coming weeks.
- Mark Anthony Martin was born Jan. 9, 1959 in Batesville, AR and started his racing career on his hometown dirt tracks. He moved to asphalt in the late 1970s, winning the ASA Rookie of the Year title in 1977 while racing against the likes of Dick Trickle, Jim Sauter and Bobby Allison. Martin won 22 ASA races in his career and four titles (1978, 1979, 1980 and 1986).
- Martin made his NASCAR debut in 1981, driving for six different teams by 1987. His troubles led him back to the ASA for three years; following his championship in 1986, Martin landed a full-time Busch Series (now Xfinity Series) ride with Bruce Lawmaster and caught the eye of Jack Roush, who brought Martin to the Winston Cup (now Monster Energy NASCAR Cup) Series in 1988.
- Martin raced for Roush Racing from 1988-2006 with a variety of sponsors, including Stroh’s Light, Folgers, Valvoline and Viagra. In 2005, Martin announced he would be cutting back on racing and embarked on the “Salute to You” tour in 2006. Martin moved to Ginn Racing in 2007, splitting seat time with Regan Smith for the season; the team was sold to Dale Earnhardt Inc. mid-season, and for 2008 Martin split seat time with Aric Almirola.
- Martin left DEI following the 2008 season and returned to full-time competition with Hendrick Motorsports in the No. 5 from 2009-2011. Martin returned to part-time competition in 2012 with Michael Waltrip Racing, and in 2013 competed in races for MWR, Joe Gibbs Racing and Stewart-Haas Racing.
- Through the end of the 2013 Cup Series season, Martin earned 40 wins, 453 top 10 finishes and 56 poles. In his career he also won 49 Xfinity Series races, seven Truck Series races and five IROC championships (1994, 1996, 1997, 1998 and 2005). In 2015, Martin was inducted into the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America.
- Fans can keep up with Martin at the Facebook page for the Martin Mark Museum & Gift Shop.
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