Mark Martin began racing at 15 and on his third start ever took home the checkered flag. By the end of his first season Mark Martin was the 1974 Arkansas State Champion. In 1976 he moved from the dirt tracks to racing V-8’s on asphalt. In 1977 he was racing in the ASA series and was named Rookie of the Year. He won the ASA Championship title in ’78, ’79, and again in 1980.
In 1981 Mark Martin, owning his own team, entered five Winston Cup events and won two poles. He ran his first full season in 1982 and he finished 14th in overall points. Lack of sponsorship in the 1983 season allowed Martin to run in only 16 Winston Cup events and eventually he returned to ASA. In 1986 Mark Martin won his fourth ASA Championship title.
Martin ran a full Busch Grand National schedule in 1987 for Bruce Lawmaster and caught the attention of Jack Roush who was putting together a Winston Cup team.
In 1988 Mark Martin joined with Jack Roush and the two have been together ever since. No current driver has been with the same team as long as Martin has been teamed up with Jack Roush. Martin got his first Winston Cup victory toward the end of the 1989 season at Rockingham.
By 1990 Mark Martin was in the hunt for a Winston Cup Championship title. With three races left to go in the season Martin was out in front of Dale Earnhardt by 49 points. A 10th place finish by Earnhardt and an 11th place for Martin the following week in Rockingham got Martin’s lead to 44 points. Earnhardt dominated in Phoenix, leading the last 272 laps of the race. Martin finished in 10th and fell six points behind Earnhardt. The last race of the season was all or nothing for Martin but despite borrowing a car from Robert Yates the team could only finish in 6th and Earnhardt, who finished in third place, won the championship by 24 points. Mark Martin ended the season as up with 24 top-ten finishes, including three wins and 17 top-five’s.
Martin would be runner up again three more times (1994, 1998, and 2002). In September of 2003 Mark Martin ran his 500th consecutive race. He is currently third among active drivers for most consecutive races run behind Ricky Rudd and Rusty Wallace, and 7th in NASCAR history.
By the end of the 2003 season Mark Martin had visited the winner’s circle 33 times, had 41 poles (4th most among active drivers) and been third or better in the points race eight times. He also has 45 Busch Grand National wins and 11 IROC wins. He has won the IROC Championship four times.