Mark Anthony Martin, NASCAR's Walking Storybook

Sal Sigala Jr.Senior Analyst ISeptember 9, 2009

HAMPTON, GA - SEPTEMBER 05:  Mark Martin, driver of the #5 CARQUEST/Kellogg's Chevrolet, sits in the garage during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pep Boys Auto 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on September 5, 2009 in Hampton, Georgia.  (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Sit back and think about what NASCAR really means to some of the veteran drivers who have graced the sports most famous, and hallowed race tracks.

A lot of times it can go beyond just the thinking alone, and reach areas such as the many accomplishments that these older drivers have or in some cases still have time to achieve.

We have heard many stories that could easily line the shelves of some of our most popular bookshelves, and to this day there are still new one’s that are added on a daily basis.

Just when and how they will ever be exhausted, is probably the biggest understatement as long as the sport continues on its present path.

And just like any other sport, it’s easy to say that the various publishers would have one heck of a time trying to figure out which stories would be best for their publications.

So what exactly is that makes a NASCAR story so special from all the rest of the sporting world?

Since after all most of the stories we hear about, are usually done for the pre-race shows just before the race is about to begin.

The networks use these stories to build up, and to add different scenarios in order to give the fan something to think about before the green flag drops.

After all isn’t this the same guideline that the other sports use to promote their athletes, as well as the games that are about to be played?

It’s almost easy to say that a story is just that, a story. Except in NASCAR’s case this season since they have a driver who has been defiling all the rules of logic, while at the same time showing the entire world of sports that age has nothing to do with reaching for your own personal goals.

And the biggest story surrounding NASCAR has to be the inhuman characteristics that Mark Martin, has been displaying since he first signed on to drive for Hendrick Motorsports at the beginning of the season.

And if there was one driver who was ever owed a championship, it would be easy to say that Mark Martin would be that driver.

Exactly what Martin has meant to the sport throughout his 27 years behind the wheel, is a lot more than what words can explain.

Martin has been through the battles, he has seen just about everything that can be seen. But most of all he has lived each moment for the sport, a sport that has been very good to him with the exception of breaking his heart four times denying him a chance to raise the cup in victory.

With this season alone, Martin could add many chapters to a story that seems to have no ending. When you open up a book, the very first thing that is noticeable is all the different chapters.

And each chapter usually means that a different subject, or sequence of events have taken place in a person’s life.

What he has accomplished so far through out his many seasons, is nothing short of a New York Times best seller.

When you look at where he is in the standings one race before the chase begins, he could easily add another notch to the 23 times that he has led the point standings in the cup series during his career.

The very worse that can happen is that Kyle Busch could win this weekend taking over the top spot, or he could share it with either Jimmie Johnson or Tony Stewart if they happen to make it to victory lane.

Milestones can easily be broken up, and set in their respective places when it comes to reliving what Martin is about to experience. And his next few milestones are not that far away.

Should Martin, qualify for the 2009 Chase for the Sprint Cup, he will set the bar as the oldest driver to qualify for the Chase.

Martin can also become the oldest driver to win a championship at the age of 50, surpassing Bobby Allison who now holds that honor at the age of 45.

One more victory can also add to his already impressive list of accomplishments. Martin can become one of only three full-time drivers to have 40-plus victories in NASCAR's elite series.

Hendrick Motorsports teammates Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson are the others. With 11 more races still left in the season, Martin can also surpass a personal best record earning five poles back in 1991.

Martin who already has five poles this season is sitting ninth on the list tying him for ninth with Junior Johnson.

Martin is also the only driver to have ever won a pole at the age of 50, and to think that he still has another year left on his contract with HMS.

With Dover coming up on September 27, Martin will make his 750th career Sprint Cup start. Martin will become only the ninth driver to reach this mark in the Sprint Cup's 61-year history.

In his 747 Cup starts, he has earned 39 victories, 251 top-five finishes and 409 top-10s. He has driven 274,181.4 miles during his 27-year career.

So as Mark Anthony Martin continues to write the pages of his own history, there is still one obstacle to overcome.

In the 14 Sprint Cup races since Martin last raced at Richmond, he and the Kellogg's/CARQUEST team have earned three victories, five top-five finishes -- including two runner-up spots -- and six top-10s.

The big question is, will this be enough to get him into the chase and another chapter in the life of Mark Anthony Martin?

“I want this team to make it. Not so much for me, but for Alan and Rick (Hendrick, team owner) and all the guys at Hendrick Motorsports But this is a strong team. I think we are worthy of being in the Chase. And barring any unforeseen circumstances, I think we will be there. We should be there. But that's not always how it works."


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