August 29, 2009
By Brenda Benedict
The final four laps in last Saturdayís Sprint Cup race at Bristol were some of the best racing Iíve seen this season. Kyle Busch and Mark Martin fought it out before Busch took the checkered flag with Martin finishing a close second.
We saw a battle between one of NASCARís younger drivers and the oldest driver in the Sprint Cup Series. Iím looking forward to seeing the oldest driver accomplish great things. As a member of the over-fifty club myself, I think Mark Martin is a great example and spokesman for our generation.
I believe Mark Martinís secret to his success lies in his ability to focus on what he wants and having the motivation to do what it takes to get there.
I read this quote recently and I believe it is true in Martinís case.
ďWhen you want to be a power in the world, focus on being who you are. Therein lies your ultimate strength and ability.Ē
Martin is currently in 10th place in the standings. In 2004, the first year the Chase format was used, Martin was 35 points outside the top 10 at this point in the season, yet still made the Chase. I am confident that when the race is over at Richmond on Sept. 12, Martin will remain in the top 12 assuring him a place in the Chase to the Sprint Cup Championship.
There is also a race within a race as we get down to the last few weeks of regular season racing. The focus is now turning to the battle for the top seed in the Chase. Mark Martin is currently in the lead for that position of the top twelve drivers.
Once the Chase field is set at Richmond, the top 12 driverís points are reset to 5000. Then a 10 point bonus is added for each win during the 26 races in the regular season. Martin is leading the top twelve drivers with 4 wins this season giving him 40 bonus points. Tony Stewart and Jimmie Johnson are also battling for that top spot but only Martin has a chance of falling out of the Chase with these two races remaining.
NASCAR published some impressive statistics for Martin this week that shows Martinís strength. The number of times that Martin has been passed on a green flag is the fewest in NASCAR. By a wide margin. Martin has been passed 986 times on green flag runs.
ďAmong those drivers who have competed in every event, Martin is the only driver who has been passed less than 1,000 times. In comparison, second-best in the category is Jeff Gordonís 1,290 times passed.Ē
How do you explain such strong statistics for NASCARís oldest driver? The fact that he drives for NASCARís premier team, Hendrick Motorsports, has to play a big part in his performance. He consistently has great equipment and teammates that are consistently running well-at least some of his teammates.
A closer look at Martins lifestyle may lend a clue to his success. When recently asked what he was doing to stay on top of his game, he replied,
ďIím exploiting every strength, all my strengths to the max. Obviously I canít do a whole lot more with my shortcomings. So rather than focusing on my short comings right now Iím really focusing on my strengths. My training has been huge and nutrition, health and fitness has played a huge part in it.Ē
Martin talked about his work-out regiment and said that he spends many hours daily working with weights and cardio workouts. His eating habits also reflect his dedication and strong will power. He stated that ďI live every day like tomorrow is the biggest race of my life 365 days a year. If I could eat anything to help that race then I would be doing that every day.Ē
ďIf you want to be ready you need to start getting ready a year before and you need to live it every day. Thatís my belief but Iím obsessive and compulsive.Ē
Martin has not always been so health conscious. ďI made a pretty serious change in 1988 when I got my second chance with Jack Roush. I wanted to succeed. Iím obsessive and compulsive and itís a lot better to be that way about health and fitness than it is Twinkies and couch.Ē
All of this succeed has also added to Martinís sense of well-being. Martin states that he is feeling really good.
ďIíve been so incredibly blessed. I was really happy in 2008, and have been even more happy in 2009 and I didnít think that was possible.Ē
Martin wants to continue working hard and seeing the results in the win column. ďI wanted the result to equal the effort. Thatís the way I want to win. Man, go out there and take it.Ē
It looks like Martin is doing just that. Iím looking forward to seeing what he can do in next races this season. Martin can win for the over-50 gang. We need a spokesperson and Martin looks ready to be that person.
Weíre waiting to see just how much a committed motivation person can accomplish even if they are over fifty.
Mark, thanks for the great example.
You can follow me at Twitter @nascarfaithful
The thoughts and ideas expressed by this writer or any other writer on Insider Racing News, are not necessarily the views of the staff and/or management of IRN.