Drivers Mark Martin (left) and Jaff Burton walk before a race. (AFP)
Mark Martin is a racer for the ages, literally.
At 54 years and 61 days old on Sunday, Martin becomes the oldest driver in NASCAR history to start a Sprint Cup race from the pole when he leads the field to green in the Subway Fresh Fit 500 at Phoenix International Raceway in the No. 55 Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota.
Martin’s next attempt at a record will be one held by Harry Gant, who won his last Sprint Cup race at 52 years and 219 days old at Michigan International Speedway in 1992.
And, yes, Mark Martin was in that race too.
But his pole record and his run at Gant’s record on Sunday did not, and will not, get the kind of attention that Danica Patrick received last week at Daytona for her pole win.
Martin, as always however, was modest in his assessment of his achievement.
“Whether I was to break that record or not, I look at Harry Gant and don’t feel I measure up,” he said.