DARLINGTON, S.C. (Nov. 23, 2016) – Mark Martin, winner of 40 NASCAR premier series races and a runner-up in the championship battle on five occasions, has been selected for induction into the National Motorsports Press Association Hall of Fame.
Martin, 57, will be inducted Sunday, Jan. 22, 2017.
He was named on 95 percent of the ballots cast by the NMPA membership.
The Batesville, Ark., native competed in NASCAR for more than three decades. His 40 career victories currently rank 17th on the all-time list for the series while his 882 career starts rank fifth overall for the sanctioning body’s top series.
In addition to his premier series efforts, Martin also enjoyed success in NASCAR’s lower national series, winning 49 times in what is now the XFINITY Series and seven times in the Camping World Truck Series.
He is also a five-time winner of the IROC (International Race of Champions) title.
Others receiving votes but falling short of the required 65 percent necessary for induction were veteran crew chiefs Kirk Shelmerdine (61 percent), Buddy Parrott (59 percent) and Larry McReynolds (51 percent); and long-time Martinsville Speedway public relations director Dick Thompson (59 percent).
“Those guys are heroes of mine,” Martin said of his fellow nominees. “It is just such an incredible honor to be considered along with them. I feel very fortunate and blessed but most of all I’m thankful. Very thankful.”
Former statistician Bob Latford and driver Dan Gurney were also named as write-in candidates on this year’s Hall of Fame ballot.
Martin, who retired from competition following the 2013 season, earned 35 premier series wins with team owner Jack Roush. His final five victories came in 2009 after joining Hendrick Motorsports.
Alan Gustafson served as crew chief for Kyle Busch, Jeff Gordon and Martin at Hendrick. He is currently the crew chief for 2016 Sunoco Rookie of the Year Chase Elliott.
“Mark drove so much by just raw feel,” Gustafson said. “His ability just to flat out drive a car, no markers, no signs no nothing, he was really good at that, which produced some amazing lap times.
“We’ve all seen it. Mark Martin, first lap on the track, is just insane. Because he doesn’t have to figure out where he’s at, he just drives by feel. He was open to working on things and doing things but he just did it a different way than drivers like Jeff and Kyle and Chase.”
The National Motorsports Press Association was formed more than 50 years ago and its membership consists of motorsports writers, broadcasters and photographers from throughout the U.S. and abroad.
The NMPA Hall of Fame, established in 1965, is located on the grounds of Darlington (S.C.) Raceway.