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Martin preparing to make 700th Cup start at Fontana


Will be only 13th NASCAR driver to reach milestone.

MOORESVILLE, N.C. -- Mark Martin will make his 700th career Cup Series start this weekend when the green flag drops at California Speedway, becoming only the 13th driver in NASCAR history to reach the milestone.

The Principal Financial Group will serve as the sponsor of the No. 8 Chevrolet and will feature a paint scheme that showcases a special 700th-start logo in tribute to Martin’s accomplishments.

“It’s not really how many races you started that matters, it’s how fast you went in those races that people remember,” joked Martin when asked about the accomplishment. “But really it says a lot about all the people that have worked on all those cars for all these years. I have to thank each and every crew chief and each and every crew guy that played a part in everything we were able to do over the past 20 plus seasons.”

Martin started his first Cup race on April 5, 1981, at North Wilkesboro Speedway; he started fifth and finished 27th. Heading into Sunday’s event, Martin has started 699 Cup races, with 35 wins, 239 top-five finishes and 385 top-10s.

In addition, he made 621 consecutive starts from 1988 to 2007 before walking away from full-time Cup racing with the points lead in hand following the race at Atlanta in March 2007.

“I really don’t read that much into numbers,” Martin said. “But it does mean there are a lot of things to be thankful for. I’ve been able to stay in good health and I’ve had good cars and was always able to make the race.”

During pre-race ceremonies at California Speedway, the Principal Financial Group and Dale Earnhardt Inc. will present Martin with a commemorative green flag emblazoned with the same 700th start logo that will appear on DEI’s No. 8 Chevrolet. Following the race, the flag will be signed by Martin and auctioned on e-bay with proceeds benefitting the Dale Earnhardt Foundation.


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