Mark Martin selected for NMPA Hall of Fame
Mark Martin, winner of forty races in the National Association of Stock Car Racing’s (NASCAR) premier series and the runner-up in the season championship battle on five occasions, has been selected for induction into the National Motorsports Press Association (NMPA) Hall of Fame.
The NMPA was formed more than 50 years ago and its membership consists of motorsports writers, broadcasters and photographers from throughout the United States and abroad. The author of this blog is a proud NMPA member. Martin will be inducted Sunday, Jan. 22, 2017 into the NMPA Hall of Fame, located on the grounds of Darlington (S.C.) Raceway since 1965.
A native of Batesville, Arkansas, Martin, 57, who competed in NASCAR for more than three decades was named on 95 percent of the ballots cast by the NMPA membership. His 40 career victories currently rank him 17th on the all-time list for the series while his 882 career starts rank fifth overall for the sanctioning body’s top series. Martin, who retired from competition following the 2013 season, earned thirty-five premier series wins with team owner Jack Roush, while his final five victories came after joining Hendrick Motorsports in 2009.
In addition to his NASCAR premier series efforts, Martin also enjoyed success in NASCAR’s lower national series, winning forty-nine times in what is now the XFINITY Series and seven times in the Camping World Truck Series. He leads all drivers as the only five-time winner of the IROC (International Race of Champions) title including three in a row from 1996 to 1998.
Alan Gustafson, currently crew chief for the 2016 Sunoco Rookie of the Year Chase Elliott, served as crew chief for Martin at Hendrick recalls that “Mark drove so much by just raw feel.His ability just to flat out drive a car, no markers, no signs no nothing; he was really good at that, which produced some amazing lap times,” Gustafson said "He was open to working on things and doing things but he just did it a different way than drivers like Jeff (Gordon) and Kyle (Busch) and Chase (Elliott).”