Mark Martin Wins at Darlington
50-year-old Mark Martin did it again Saturday night, taking his second victors cup in the last four races of the Sprint Cup Series Championship by outlasting Jimmie Johnson in a crash-heavy race at Darlington Raceway. Only his second win at Darlington in the last sixteen years, he last won at Darlington in 1993 in the Southern 500, if he keeps up his winning pace he might even start thinking the Sprint Car Championship is within his reach.
Pretty good showing for a driver who contemplated hanging up his driving gloves a few years ago, before signing up for the 2010 Sprint Cup season with Hendrick Motorsports this week. The day before the race he had told interested people that he had signed up for the extra year because of the joy he still feels when he steps on the gas and not because for the chance to win a title. This might possibly be part of the reason for his success, no pressure, just the joy of action and doing what you love and he’s racing as good as he ever did.
Mark Martin ended a 97-race streak of frustration last month in Phoenix by leading for the last 46 laps to take his 37th career Sprint Cup victory and seems to have rejuvenated his race-vitality and pure thrill of racing. In addition, he’s thrown a wrench into the idea that age is a barrier to winning in NASCAR and maybe shown that patience is definitely a benefit on the race track as he had to work his way through 17 cautions on Darlington’s two year old pavement.
The 17 wrecks surpassed the previous Darlington record for crashes in a race of 15 that was set in Darlington’s 14 years ago and more then doubled last years 8 crashes during the race at Darlington, which was after Darlington had just been paved the year before.
Clint Bowyer had an unfortunate day, as he ended an 83 race streak of finishing the race when he and A.J. Allmendinger collided and ended his day, which leaves him one race short of tying Herman Beam for the record for consecutive races finished.
Jimmie Johnson finished second at Darlington, Tony Stewart took third in a long and arduous affair, Ryan Newman fourth, with Jeff Gordon fifth.