NASCAR driver Mark Martin discusses his greatest fear

Michae Waltrip driver Mark Martin. Photo courtesy of MWR.

Mark Martin has spent 30 years in NASCAR Sprint Cup racing.

He has raced against many of the sport’s greatest drivers including Richard Petty, Bobby Allison, Dale Earnhardt, Darrell Waltrip and modern day heroes like Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson.

Martin raced at the 200 mph superspeedways and banged fenders on the notorious bullrings in the days before SAFER barriers, HANS devices, full-faced helmets and roof flaps.

Nothing he’s encountered has ever unnerved the 53-year-old Batesville, Ark. native who’s made 40 trips to victory lane.

But, there’s still one thing in racing that makes his skin crawl. “It’s good luck charms,” laughs Martin. “I don’t like them at all.”

To this day, Martin immediately hands off anything that most consider “lucky.”

“I try not to insult fans when they give me something,” he said. “I try to be nice and say thank you, but I can’t get rid of them fast enough.”

That’s unusual in a sport where some drivers carry a rabbit’s foot in the car, tape verses to the dash, put lucky coins in their uniform pockets. Through the years drivers have shunned green paint schemes, eating peanuts near the car before the race and driving the No. 13.

But, Martin said he has good reason to shun the supposed bringers of good fortune.

His dim view of good luck charms dates back to one Sunday afternoon in 1993 at North Wilkesboro Speedway. A well-meaning fan gave Martin a four-leaf clover he taped to the dash of his car.

 “I got hit in the back right after the green flag came out,” Martin recalled. “I got hit so hard it destroyed my car and ruined our race. We got all tore up.”

That was the end of good luck charms for Martin. “I have been anti lucky charm ever since.”

MWR press release

Mark Martin to run under “Epic Swag” thanks to Twitter hacker

Martin’s 60,000-follower Twitter account (@55markmartin) was hacked early Saturday morning rendering the 30-year NASCAR veteran completely powerless over his newest hobby. The unknown culprit – Epic Swag – commandeered the account and began changing every setting and altering followers.

For Martin, losing his Twitter account was almost unbearable.

“I felt naked,” he laughed. “I was locked out of my own account. I’d built my followers up and was scared I was going to lose all of it to this guy. I was mad at him, mad at myself, and really ticked off.”

Some quick work on a Saturday afternoon by Twitter and MWR restored Martin’s account to full functionality, and by late Saturday night Martin was back to tweeting about rap music, his schedule and answering fan questions.

“It’s such a cool link to my fans and I really didn’t want to give it up, so I’m thrilled I got it back. You see those commercials about people getting hacked and you really don’t think much of it, but when it happens to you it’s big. Real big.”

Martin returns to the driver’s seat on Sunday at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif. where he’ll have a special surprise for his Twitter hacker.

“Epic Swag stole my name last Saturday so this weekend I’m stealing his. We’ll run Epic Swag above the driver’s window where my name is usually. What do they say: ‘turnabout is fair play.’ ’’

Car owner Michael Waltrip likes the idea.

Source: MWR PR

Mark Martin proves he’s the conservative for Sam’s Town 300

Mark Martin in Victory Lane at Las Vegas Motor Speedway after winning the Sam's Town 300.Credit: Getty Images

What a race yesterday’s Nationwide Series had at Las Vegas Motor Speedway! It came down to fuel mileage – and Mark Martin showed he’s the one who knew how to conserve.

After race leader Brad Keselowski cut a tire and hit the wall on the final lap of the Sam’s Town 300, Martin cruised to the checkered flag, posting his 49th Nationwide victory.

After falling more than two laps down earlier in the race, Danica Patrick rallied to finish fourth, breaking the record that was held for 62 years for a female driver in one of NASCAR’s top three series. Patrick’s previous best finish was 14th at Daytona in February.

Hendrick Motorsports swap crew chiefs amongst the teams

CONCORD, N.C. (Nov. 23, 2010) – Hendrick Motorsports has made personnel adjustments in preparation for the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season, with drivers Mark Martin, Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt Jr. being teamed with new crew chiefs.

Below are the driver-crew chief pairings for each Hendrick Motorsports car, effective immediately:

No. 5 Chevrolet
Driver: Mark Martin
Crew Chief: Lance McGrew

No. 24 Chevrolet
Driver: Jeff Gordon
Crew Chief: Alan Gustafson

No. 48 Chevrolet
Driver: Jimmie Johnson
Crew Chief: Chad Knaus

No. 88 Chevrolet
Driver: Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Crew Chief: Steve Letarte

The cars of Martin and four-time Sprint Cup champion Gordon will be fielded out of the same facility, now known as the 5/24 shop. Earnhardt Jr.’s Chevrolets will be prepared out of the renamed 48/88 shop alongside those of five-time and defending Cup champion Jimmie Johnson.

“This will improve us as an organization, across the board,” said Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports. “We had a championship season (in 2010), but we weren’t where we wanted and needed to be with all four teams. We’ve made the right adjustments, and I’m excited to go racing with this lineup.”