Mark Martin on Larry Phillips/Darlington Preview

MARK MARTIN
No. 55 AARON’S DREAM MACHINE
LARRY PHILLIPS & HALL OF FAME

CORNELIUS, N.C. — No. 55 Aaron’s Dream Machine driver and future Hall of Famer Mark Martin doesn’t want to influence the 54-member voting panel that will convene May 22 to vote for the next five members of the NASCAR Hall of Fame.

But the 54-year-old Martin whose 40 victories is 17th on the all-time list certainly has a sentimental favorite in short track legend and five-time champion on NASCAR’s Weekly Racing Series Larry Phillips.


American Muscle

Phillips joined Bruton Smith, Dale Jarrett, Rex White, and Maurice Petty with 20 others on the ballot for the 2014 class of the NASCAR Hall of Fame.

Five inductees will be voted on by the panel that includes the nominating committee, media members and industry veterans, as well as a fan vote from NASCAR.com. The top five highest vote-getters will be enshrined

Martin began his career working in Phillips’ Springfield, Mo. race shop and spent years battling with Phillips throughout the short pavement and dirt tracks in middle America.

“That is awesome that Larry was recognized and added to the list,” said Martin.

“What makes it more remarkable is he came outside the main stream. There are so many incredible people still waiting to get in the NASCAR Hall of Fame, that a guy like Larry who wasn’t on television every Sunday or racing in the high profile races would be honored.”

Make no mistake, Martin emphasizes Phillips’ 1,000 short track victories in a 40-year driving career is testimony that Phillips’ talent is equal to the sport’s greats.

“Anyone who raced against him will remember him,” recalled Martin. “He was unique. He was fast, won lots of races and beat a lot of people with slower race cars. That says a lot about him.”

Phillips hired Martin at Phillips’ Performance Parts in 1975 just after the Batesville, Ark. native’s high school graduation. Martin worked on Phillips’ race cars during the week then raced against him on Friday and Saturday nights.

Phillips who died of cancer in 2004 and was named one of the NASCAR Weekly Series All-Time Top 25 drivers in 2006. Phillips’ 24th-place finish in the 1976 Ontario Speedway race was his only Sprint Cup appearance.

“I don’t know whether he’ll get into the Hall of Fame, but I’m proud they honored Larry like they did. It’s a great honor for Larry and for all of us who grew up racing like Larry raced.”

Voting Day for the 2014 class will be May 22. Fans can attend the announcement at the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, N.C.

MARK MARTIN ON DARLINGTON

CORNELIUS, N.C. — No. 55 Aaron’s Dream Machine driver Mark Martin knows a thing or two about Darlington Raceway.

The future Hall of Famer started 46 races at the 1.366-mile South Carolina track including every race since 1988. He won there in 1993 and 2011 while racking up two of his 56 career poles in 1989 and 1998. Despite 31 years of Sprint Cup experience, Martin contends Darlington Raceway can bite him at any second.

DARLINGTON: “That’s probably the most challenging track we race on. It’s so easy to make a mistake there. It’s 500 miles, it’s hot and that track is so tough. No corner is the same; you are going so fast, it’s slippery. You have to be careful. These Gen-6 cars are so fast and the competition is so even it’s going to be tough to pass so you are going to fight all race long. A win at Darlington is always well deserved.”

NOTES

§  MARK MARTIN OPEN HOUSE: Martin hosted his ninth annual fan appreciation event at his Batesville, Ark. car dealership and museum on Saturday. Richard Petty joined Martin at the autograph session that drew about a thousand fans.

§  STATS: In 46 Sprint Cup starts at Darlington, Martin owns two victories (1993 & 2011) and 17 top-five finishes. He’s led 801 laps and won poles in 1989 & 1998. Martin owns 40 Sprint Cup, 49 Nationwide and seven Camping World Truck Series victories. He’s led 12,856 laps in Sprint Cup competition. Martin has started 862 Sprint Cup races, 236 Nationwide races and 25 truck events. He also owns 13 IROC wins in 47 starts.

§  POLES: Martin owns five poles in 31 races with MWR. He is seventh on the all-time pole list with 56 poles including one in 2013 at Phoenix.

§  SOCIAL STOP: Make Michael Waltrip Racing’s “Social Stop” your second screen on Sunday to follow all the racing and social media action when the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Talladega Superspeedway in the Aaron’s 499. MWR’s “Social Stop” goes live race morning allowing fans to view information from Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube all on one page. Twitter feeds from MWR drivers, media members and NASCAR fans will populate the page. Visitors can also interact with fellow race fans and answer poll questions on the page. Visit www.facebook.com/michaelwaltripracing or click www.MichaelWaltripRacing.com/socialstop

§  TRUCK DRIVERS: Freightliner held the second round of the Freightliner Run Smart Hauler Challenge in Talladega. Now it’s time to vote the eliminated drivers back into the competition for the third round. MWR has three drivers needing votes:  Al Nelson, John Murphy and Stump Lewis. You can vote for each driver once daily on Facebook at http://freightlinerhaulerchallenge.com/site/vote Voting ends May 20.

·         FOLLOW NO. 55 ON TWITTER

@55markmartin

@brianlvickers

@mw55

@rchilders55

@mwrteam

@mwrgirls

@aaronssports

@toyotaracing

 

·         PIT CREW

Crew Chief – Rodney Childers

Car Chief – Steve Channing

Front Changer – Ryan Langley

Rear Changer – Shannon Myers

Front Carrier – Chris Hall

Rear Carrier – Mark Kennerly

Jackman – Tony Cardamone

Gas man – Brian Dheel

2nd Gas Man- Josh Galloway

Spotter – Jeremy Brickhouse

Engineer – Billy Scott

2nd Engineer – Scott McDougall

Tires – Kevin White

Eng.Tuner- Denny Chandler (TRD)

Shocks – Mike (Nook) McCarville

Interior/7th man- Jacen Johns

Truck Driver – Glenn Shano

2nd Truck Driver – John Murphy

Pit Coach – Greg Miller

Dir. Race Engineering—Chad Walter

Ex. VP Engineering- Nick Hughes

Ex. VP Comp.—Scott Miller

 

·                 DRIVER SCHEDULE

5/18     All-Star            Martin

5/26     Charlotte         Martin

6/2       Dover              Martin

6/9       Pocono            Martin

6/16     Michigan         Martin

6/23     Sonoma          Vickers

6/29     Kentucky         Vickers

7/6       Daytona          Waltrip

7/14     Loudon            Vickers

7/28     Indy                 Martin

8/4       Pocono            Martin

8/11     The Glen         Vickers

8/18     Michigan         Martin

8/24     Bristol              Vickers

9/1       Atlanta             Martin

9/7       Richmond       Martin

9/15     Chicago           Martin

9/22     Loudon            Vickers

9/29     Dover              Martin

10/6     Kansas            Martin

10/12   Charlotte         Martin

10/20   Talladega        Waltrip

10/27   Martinsville      Vickers

11/3     Texas              Martin

11/10   Phoenix           Martin

11/17   Homestead     Martin


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The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SpeedwayMedia.com.

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