NASCAR's Mark Martin
2003 Season Articles - August

Tough Luck Continues for Martin at Darlington
Mark Martin and the #6 Viagra® Racing Team
Southern 500/August 31, 2003
Roush Racing

DARLINGTON, S.C. (August 31, 2003) - Mark Martin and the Viagra (sildenafil citrate) Racing team had a strong car all weekend at Darlington, qualifying eighth and running inside the top 10 during both practice sessions on Saturday. In fact Martin looked so strong during the weekend that rumor had it that the lead singer for the popular rock band Smashmouth, who performed live before Sunday's race, had predicted Martin to win the historic event. However Martin's hopes and his Ford Taurus were both quickly 'smashed' in the mouth, as he was caught up in an accident on just the 13th lap of the race that put an end to what looked like a promising day for the No. 6 team.

After the day's first caution on lap five, the team came into the pits for four fresh tires and fuel. As the race went green on lap 13, the cars ahead of Martin started checking up. Martin, who was running 10th at the time found himself caught up in a chain reaction that saw his No. 6 Ford Taurus collide with the No. 24 car, causing substantial damage. Martin continued to stay our for the next few laps, but eventually had to come behind the wall on lap 20 for repairs to the car. The team quickly went to work on repairing the damaged front end, but by the time Martin returned to the race he was 62 laps down and running in 38th place.

"I just don't know how to explain this type of luck," said Martin after the race. "I don't know what we did to anger the 'Race Gods', but we just can't buy a break. The team did a real good job this week, they gave me a good car, but once again we didn't get a chance to show that out on the track.

"I'm not even sure what happened," added Martin. "Someone checked up in front and it just all started from there. We just happened to come out on the worst end of it. We'll just have to go back to work and see what we can do next week."

Martin and the Viagra Team hung tough and Martin, though his car had been damaged, was able to run times as fast as the race's leaders, while often passing cars that were on the lead lap. In the end, Martin gained five positions and finished the race in 33rd position.

The team returns to action this Saturday night at Richmond, where Martin finished 5th earlier this season.

Martin Excited About Going Back to Darlington
Martin Looks Forward to Southern 500, Return to Strong Racing
Roush Racing

CONCORD, N.C. (August 27, 2003) - In a season that has been characterized by races won on fuel mileage, Mark Martin can't wait to get back to Darlington this weekend where the NASCAR Winston Cup Series will runs its last Labor Day weekend Southern 500.

"I've been saying for weeks now that I can't wait to we go back to Darlington and Rockingham," said Martin. "Those are tracks where we do the type of racing that I like to do. We've seen so many races won on fuel mileage and these are tracks where the fastest cars should compete.

"At a lot of these other tracks if you have a flat tire or a bad pit stop you are finished," added Martin. "Because you can't really pass and everything is set up on pit strategy. Darlington is the type of track that you are going to take tires every time you come into the pits.

"You can pass there as well, so the faster cars will migrate to the front. It's solid racing and it's the type of racing that I enjoy. I've been looking forward to coming here for weeks now."

Martin is no stranger to the 'Lady in Black' a track that has been deemed so tough at times that it has two nicknames. Martin has run 35 races at the track deemed 'Too Tough to Tame', including 17 previous starts in the Southern 500. Martin's only Darlington victory in the Cup car came at the 1993 Southern 500. All-in-all Martin has finished inside the top-10 in 21 of his 35 Darlington starts and he has accumulated 14 top fives.

In addition to the win in '93, Martin has finished inside the top 10 in 7 of his 17 Southern 500's, while finishing inside the top five on five occasions. He started his first Southern 500 in 1982, where he finished 22nd after starting 19th.

Martin also made a lot of noise in the Busch Grand National Series at Darlington, where his seven victories are a track record. Martin also holds the record for poles at Darlington, with seven as well.

The No. 6 Viagra® (sildenafil citrate) Ford Taurus was strong at Darlington in the spring race, where Martin had the car to beat, leading 71 laps. If not for a dropped lug nut during a late-race pit stop, Martin and the No. 6 team might have very well been celebrating their second victory there in March. Still, despite the mishap that sent Martin to the back of the lead lap, the veteran driver was able to pass several cars in the race's final laps to secure a top-five run.

Roush Racing is a subsidiary of Livonia, Mich., based Roush Industries that operates eight motorsports teams; five in NASCAR Winston Cup with drivers Mark Martin, Jeff Burton, Matt Kenseth, Kurt Busch and Greg Biffle; and two in the Craftsman Truck Series with drivers Jon Wood and Carl Edwards. Sponsorship inquiries should contact John Miller, Roush Racing (704) 720-4600.

2003 Mark Martin Southern 500 Track Notes
Viagra® (sildenafil citrate) Roush Racing #6 Ford Taurus
Southern 500/Darlington Raceway - August 31, 2003
Roush Racing

DRIVER: Mark Martin
CAR OWNER: Jack Roush
CREW CHIEF: Ben Leslie

2002 WINNER: Jeff Gordon


RACE #25, SEPTEMBER 1 - Darlington Raceway
Mountain Dew Southern 500 - Started 2nd, Finished 11th

Persistent rainfall forced the cancellation of both qualifying and practice on Friday, and forced a two and a half-hour delay in the start of Sunday's race. Martin started on the front row in the second slot, based on his position in the point standings entering the weekend, and the veteran driver wasted no time moving to the front. The race's first 19 laps were run under caution, as NASCAR officials made sure the track was dry enough for safe racing conditions. Once the green flag fell on lap 20, Martin immediately passed points leader Sterling Marlin for the lead. Martin would lead the next 25 laps of the race. The team began to struggle with the car's setup and Martin started to lose places, several key pit stops allowed the car to keep gaining positions, but in the end Martin was unable to keep the car in the top 10. The car was good on long runs, but several cautions during the final laps hurt Martin's chances of a top-10 finish.


Martin and the Viagra® Racing Team prepare for the 42nd running of the Southern 500 in Darlington this weekend. A NASCAR tradition, this will mark the last race in Darlington over the Labor Day weekend. Martin, who won the famed event in 1993, will be gunning for his second win this Sunday.


The Viagra® Racing Team will take RRC- 104 to Darlington this weekend. In it's only other start, RRC-104 finished 14th earlier this year in Chicago.


This will be Martin's 35th run at Darlington in the Winston Cup series and his 18th run in the Southern 500. Martin has finished inside the top five in eight of 17 Southern 500's and inside the top 10 in 13 of the 17 races. No stranger to Darlington, Martin won a track-record seven races on the 1.366-mile track in the Busch series and a record seven poles as well.


  • Martin has won once at the Southern 500 on 9/5/93.
  • Martin has captured two poles at the 'track too tough to tame' (4/3/89 and 3/22/98).
  • Martin had one of the cars to beat in the spring race at Darlington, leading 89 laps in route to a fourth-place finish. A dropped lug nut late in the race forced Martin to come back into the pits and ended his shot at the victory.
  • Martin won a track record seven times at Darlington in the Busch series.
  • Martin won a record seven Darlington poles in the Busch Series as well.
  • Martin has finished inside the top 10 in 21 of 35 races at Darlington and inside the top five 14 times.
  • In his last season in the Busch series (2000) Martin swept both poles and wins at Darlington.


Mark Martin on Darlington:

"I can't wait to get back to Darlington. It's one of the tracks on the circuit where we should still be able to race. A track where you put on four tires when you stop and you can pass so it shouldn't come down to fuel mileage. We've been going there for a long time and I've always enjoyed that type of racing. We had a pretty good car there in the spring and might have won the race if not for a late mishap in the pits. Still, the car was able to get back to the front and we finished fourth. Hopefully we can go there this weekend and have another strong run."

Crew Chief Ben Leslie on Darlington:

"We are looking forward to going to Darlington for the Southern 500. Obviously there is a lot of tradition associated with that race and hopefully we'll have a good showing. We are taking RRC-104, which is the same car that we ran a few weeks ago in Chicago. We ran out of gas and got a lap down, but the car was actually pretty good. The guys have been working really hard and I know everyone is excited about this weekend's race. We had a great car last week in Bristol, although we didn't see the results we would have liked. Hopefully we'll see that this weekend."

Accident Cost Martin, Viagra Racing Team Shot at Victory in Bristol
Mark Martin and the #6 Viagra® Racing Team
Sharpie 500/August 23, 2003
Roush Racing

BRISTOL, TENN. (August 23, 2003) – It was clear to all of the 160,000 fans in attendance at Bristol Motor Speedway on Saturday night that Mark Martin and the Viagra® Racing Team had one of – if not the strongest – cars in the race. Martin started the race in second place, led 49 laps and was running the fastest lap times on the track before getting caught up in an accident on lap 347 that put an end to both Martin’s night and a strong bid for the victory.

"That's what happens at Bristol,” said Martin after the race. “We had a fast car and we had a good strategy. We had a good enough car to run forever on tires and we were looking pretty good."

"We had just pitted and came out close to the front, but we had to pit again and that put us in the back. That's really what happened. You've got all these cars out there, everybody is driving for their jobs, and there are just too many things that you can’t control, especially in the back."

"That's five out of the last six races that I've wrecked here, and I haven’t caused any of them, they were all wrecks that happened in front of me. There's nothing I can do about that. I wish there was, but I can't help it. We had a great car, but our finish just won’t show that."

Martin’s car was fast from the start and the veteran driver posted his best qualifying performance of the season, starting the race from the front row in second place. Martin’s car narrowly missed the pole by one-one thousandth of a second, and the veteran driver ran in second place for the first 64 laps of the race before caution was called and the No. 6 headed into the pits for four fresh tires. Some of the cars in the field only took two tires and Martin was running in seventh place when the field went green. By lap 89 Martin had moved into fourth place.

Martin was running in fifth place when caution number five was issued on lap 159. Martin came into the pits for four tires, fuel and to take wedge out of the car. The team posted an impressive 14.714-second pit stop, but made the first of two errors that would end up costing in the end. The team dropped the jack too soon and Martin was forced to return to the pits a lap later to have the lug nuts tightened. When all the stops had cycled through, Martin found himself in 28th place.

The veteran quickly put the mishap behind him and began working his way back to the front of the field. By lap 206 Martin had broken back inside the top 20. The day’s eighth caution was called on lap 222 with Martin running in 19th place. The No. 6 team opted to stay out and Martin was running in third place when the field went green six laps later. He moved into second place on lap 250, before taking over the lead on lap 262.

Martin pulled away from the field, leading the next 49 laps before coming into the pits for fuel after a caution on lap 306. Most of the cars stayed out and Martin was running in 19th position when the race returned to green on lap 313. By lap 329 Martin was in 18th place and running the fastest lap times on the track.

The day’s 14th caution on lap 338 offered the Viagra Racing Team the chance to come into the pits and take on enough fuel to finish the race. Martin was on fresher tires than the remainder of the field, who would have to put on tires. The No. 6 team fueled the car and came out ahead of the rest of the field. However the team made its second mistake of the night, as Martin left the pit box with the catch can still in the car. The can fell off a few feet outside of the pit box, but Martin and the team were forced to come back down pit road again for a stop and go penalty.

The team went ahead and put on four tires and added additional fuel, but Martin returned to the field in 26th place. Again, Martin started to work his way back up the field, but moments later the No. 4 car clipped Martin from behind, sending the No. 6 Ford Taurus into the wall and ending Martin’s run for the win.

The team returns to action next week at Darlington where Martin finished fourth in the spring.

Martin, Viagra Racing Team Fight to 17th-Place Finish at Michigan
Mark Martin and the #6 Viagra® Racing Team
GFS Marketplace 400/August 17, 2003
Roush Racing

BROOKLYN, MICH. (August 17, 2003) – Mark Martin and the Viagra® Racing Team battled to a 17th-place finish in Sunday’s Michigan 400, despite fighting an ill-handling car for virtually all 200 laps of the race. Martin and the No. 6 team worked feverishly with the car for the majority of the weekend, but were never able to correct the car’s handling, which meant that Martin would have his work cut out for him on Sunday.

However, the Viagra® Racing team would refuse to give up, using a combination of excellent pit work and strategy to salvage the situation. In the end, Martin would have high praise for his team.

“I’m really proud of this Viagra® Racing team,” said Martin after the race. “We didn’t have the best situation, but we kept fighting and we got the best that we could possibly get from the situation. Nobody on this team ever gave up.”

“We had good stops in the pits and Ben (Leslie) and the guys did a good job with a pitting strategy that allowed us to move up the field, despite the fact that we just didn’t have a very fast car today.”

Starting the race 37th after taking a provisional on Friday, Martin struggled with the car from the green flag, dropping to 40th place by lap 10. As the day would unfold, the car would develop a tendency to start out extremely tight on a run, before becoming way too tight over the course of the run. The team would use the day’s first caution to come into the pits to make adjustments to help the car’s handling.

By lap 54, Martin had worked his way back into 34th place when the day’s second caution was issued. The No. 6 Ford Taurus came into the pits for four tires. A 14.3-second stop helped move Martin into 26th place when the field returned to green. Martin was running in 27th position when the day’s fourth caution was issued on lap 77. Having just pitted for four tires under caution on lap 68, the team opted not to pit and Martin found himself in 11th place when the field went green on lap 82.

Continuing to handle tight, the No. 6 had fallen to 16th place when caution was issued on lap 89. The team again used the opportunity to come into the pits and make adjustments to improve the car’s handling; this time taking only right-side tires and taking wedge out. Martin was running in 12th position when the race went green on lap 95.

The adjustment failed to improve the car and Martin had dropped to 20th place by lap 105 when caution was called for the sixth time of the day. This time the team came down pit road to take four fresh tires and wedge out, still in hopes of improving the car’s handling. Once the field went green on lap 113, Martin was running in 25th position.

The adjustment paid off and the veteran had battled his way to 20th place by lap 127, before the car’s handling started to tighten once again. Caution number seven allowed Martin to come into the pits for four tires and adjustments. The team again took wedge out, in hopes of freeing up the handling. Martin returned to the field in 20th place when the race went green.

The day’s eighth and final caution of the day would occur with 60 laps to go. Martin would come down pit road on lap 145 to top of the gas tank, giving the No. 6 Ford Taurus enough fuel to finish the race. The strategy would prove golden, as Martin would restart the race in eighth place when the field went green with only 51 laps remaining.

However the car’s handling simply would not get better, as Martin started the run loose, allowing several cars to get by him as he struggled to hang on to the car. By lap 155 Martin was running in 20th place; by lap 172 he was in 25th place.

Again Martin would not give up, continuing to battle for position, as several of the cars were forced to come into the pits for gas. By lap 187 Martin had broken back into the top 20. With eight laps to go Martin moved into 18th place, as he continued to fight for every position, before finally moving to 17th place on the race’s final lap.

“The guys did a great job with the strategy and we moved all the way up to eighth place to start that final run,” said Martin. “The car just started the run so loose that I couldn’t get a grip on it and we lost a lot of positions.

“It just wasn’t ever right. By the end of the run the car was so tight that it was really hard to drive, but fortunately we were able to get some positions late.”

The run moved Martin up one place to 14th in the Winston Cup point standings, 169 points outside of 10th place. The team returns to action next Saturday night at Bristol Motor Speedway.

2003 Mark Martin Michigan Track Notes
Viagra® (sildenafil citrate) Roush Racing #6 Ford Taurus
GFS Marketplace 400/Michigan International Speedway - August 17, 2003
Roush Racing

DRIVER: Mark Martin
CAR OWNER: Jack Roush
CREW CHIEF: Ben Leslie

2002 WINNER: Dale Jarrett:

Dale Jarrett rebounded from a spin on the 12th lap and passed Jeff Burton with five laps to go to win the Pepsi 400 at Michigan International Speedway. Jarrett's 30th career victory -- and fourth at Michigan -- came on the 11th anniversary of his first Winston Cup win.

MARK MARTIN - 2002 Event:

RACE #23, AUGUST 18 - Michigan International Speedway
Pepsi 400 - Started 17th, Finished 5th

Mark Martin used the final 12 laps of the race to gain five places and run to his eighth top-five finish of the season, with a fifth-place finish. Martin, who led 20 laps of the race, used the strong run to gain 10 points on then leader Sterling Marlin in the championship race. Martin was the race's leader when caution came out on lap 162. The No. 6 Viagra® Racing Team opted to pit and take four tires, while the majority of the field took only two. The No. 6 Ford Taurus returned to the field in 16th place when the field went green on lap 168 with 32 laps remaining. The fresh tires allowed Martin to work his way up to ninth place by lap 185 when the day's seventh and final caution was called for oil on the track. Martin stayed out and was able to maneuver up to fifth place in the race's final 12 laps.


After running to a top-10 finish at Watkins Glen last Sunday, Mark Martin and the Viagra Racing Team will be looking for their third straight top-10 finish when they take to the track at Michigan, where Martin has posted three straight top-10 finishes in his last three races. Martin finishes ninth there in June and will look for another strong run this weekend.


After back-to-back top 10 runs at Indy and Watkins Glen, Martin is currently in 15th place in the Winston Cup point standings, 131 points outside of 10th place and only 46 points outside of 11th.


The Viagra® Racing Team will take JR-105 to Michigan this weekend. JR-105 is a new car that will be making its first run.


This will Mark Martin's 36th race at Michigan. Martin's first career Winston Cup start at Michigan came on June 20, 1982 when he drove to a 33rd-place finish in the Gabriel 400. His first top 10 at Michigan came in the spring race in 1989 when he finished ninth. His first of four wins there came a year later in the fall race. His last win at Michigan came in the spring race of 1998. Martin has finished inside the top 10 in at Michigan in all but four races since 1990.


  • Martin has posted 23 top-10 finishes, including a ninth place finish in June, in his last 27 races at Michigan.
  • Martin's four wins at Michigan ranks third amongst active drivers.
  • Martin has led 20 races at Michigan for a total of 795 laps.
  • Martin has led in seven of the last 13 races at Michigan.
  • Martin has finished inside the top 10 in his last three races at Michigan and in three of his last four.
  • Martin has posted 13 top five finishes in 35 races at Michigan.


Mark Martin on Michigan:

"We are bringing a brand new car and we are real excited about it. We learned some things from our last race there and from a test that we had a Kentucky. We are anxious to go tackle this thing. We have a lot of ideas and we are ready to get out on the track and put that stuff to use. If some of our bad luck would turn into good luck, it wouldn't be that hard to pick up a win.

"It has traditionally been a fuel mileage race. One good thing about Michigan is that it is easier to pass there than at a lot of the other tracks. So if you do have a better car, at least you can pass some of the cars. You have a chance to have a good showing, even if you have to come in for gas or something. I have a great fan base in that area so it's always fun to race there. Some of the people in that area have been watching me race for the past 25 years, even before I was in Winston Cup. "

Crew Chief Ben Leslie on Michigan:

"We are excited about going back to Michigan. We had a pretty good run there in June and we are taking a new car this time. We have a lot of new ideas and we've been able to pick up on some stuff that we feel will make us better than we were in June, when we finished in the top 10. This race team has yet to let up and hopefully we'll have a little bit of luck this week and have another good finish."

Martin far behind in points race
By Mike Brudenell, Free Press Columnist
Detroit Free Press
August 12, 2003

DETROIT - (KRT) - Heading to the Irish Hills, Mich., at this time last year, Mark Martin was nipping at Sterling Marlin's rear bumper for the lead in the NASCAR Winston Cup points race.

Martin finished fifth that weekend in the Pepsi 400 at Michigan International Speedway, with Marlin right behind in sixth. They remained close until three races later, when Marlin crashed heavily at Richmond and suffered a serious neck injury that knocked him out of the title chase.

Martin remained close to the top for the rest of the season, tying his career best with a second-place points finish, behind Tony Stewart.

But 2003 hasn't been nearly as kind to Martin. After 22 of 36 races, Martin is in 15th place, a whopping 798 points behind Roush Racing teammate Matt Kenseth, the leader.

A perfectionist in just about everything he does, Martin, 44, isn't impressed with his situation going into Sunday's GFS Marketplace 400.

"I normally resist letting the media know how I feel, but I've got to admit this year's been the most frustrating year I can remember in a very long time," Martin said Tuesday. "But we can't self-destruct. We have to work our way through this."

It's not that Martin has driven badly this season. He has five finishes in the top five, nine in the top 10 in the No. 6 Viagra Ford. Engine problems hurt at Las Vegas (43rd) and Atlanta (42nd), but he has been a threat to win at least six races.

"I had a spectacular car at Watkins Glen last week, and we still finished 10th," Martin said. "We just haven't been very lucky."

Lucky or smart with fuel, Martin isn't quite sure.

"Gas mileage and track position have won a lot of races this year," said Martin, who has been caught in poor track position on several yellows this year. "We haven't had much luck with either."

The most recent time came last Sunday at Watkins Glen, when Rusty Wallace flew off the course on the 51st of 90 laps. Martin, who had been with the leaders, had passed the pits when the yellow dropped. Robbie Gordon, who trailed Martin, happened to be in the right place at the right time, diving into the pits for fuel.

After the field pitted under caution, Gordon took the lead soon after the green flag dropped, with Martin tumbling in the shuffle of cars to 30th place. Gordon went on to win.

"Cars that were behind me on the track all day were suddenly in front of us," Martin said. "I'm not pointing the blame at anyone. That won't get you better results."

Winning races on gas mileage has Martin puzzled, too. He would much prefer to prove himself in side-by-side competition.

"Since Sears Point (in June), first place or most top-10 finishes have been determined by whoever is getting better fuel mileage," said Martin. "We all know Richard Childress Racing and DEI are getting better mileage than the rest."

Martin is looking forward to returning to superspeedways such as Darlington and Talladega this season, where positions are earned on the track and tires and good pit stops are more important than conserving fuel.

"You sort of feel helpless with the fuel thing," Martin said. "I enjoy good old-fashioned racing where cars that are fast are going to be up front. That's how racing used to be - fun and exciting."

While Michigan also might be decided by fuel, Martin likes the wide-open spaces on the two-mile oval.

"At least you can pass at Michigan," Martin said. "I enjoy running there and also meeting the fans. I once lived in South Bend. The Midwest is a great place to race."

Although Martin is winless this year, he's still happy to be part of the Roush program and a close friend of team owner Jack Roush of Northville.

"Jack is a big supporter of mine," Martin said. "I'll give him the very best shot I've got in every race."

Last year, Martin showed team young guns Kenseth and Kurt Busch that there was still plenty of fight left in the old dog. This year, Busch (eighth) and Kenseth have outdistanced him.

Is Martin perhaps slightly embarrassed?

"Look, Kenseth has been phenomenal," Martin said. "I knew how good he'd be three years ago. Busch is a winner. It's good to see them out there doing so well."


"We are just going to do the very best we can," he said. "Who knows, we might turn things around at Michigan. Start a trend or something."

Martin, Viagra® Racing Team Run to Second Straight Top-10 Finish
Mark Martin and the #6 Viagra® Racing Team
Sirius at The Glen/August 10, 2003
Roush Racing

WATKINS, GLEN, N.Y. (August 10, 2003) – The poor luck continued for Mark Martin and the Viagra® (sildenafil citrate) Racing Team on Sunday, but this time the No. 6 team was able to battle back for their second straight top-10 finish at the Sirius Satellite Radio 250 at Watkins Glen. An untimely caution on lap 52 allowed several cars to gain track position while dropping Martin all the way back to 30th place. However the veteran driver would fight to the end, breaking into the top-10 on the final lap, in a mad dash to the finish.

"We are still the unluckiest team out here,” said Martin. “We had a faster car than the finish showed. We just kept getting messed up on the cautions. Every time we pitted there were more cars in front of us. It happened twice and that forced us to have to fight through a lot of traffic.

“Still, the guys gave me a great car,” added Martin. “We were fast all weekend and we could run with anyone. It’s unfortunate that it came down to a gas deal and we were on the short end of it, but fortunately we were fast enough to get a lot of positions back at the end of the race.”

Martin and the No. 6 team were fast all weekend, qualifying third on Friday and running some of the top speeds in both of Saturday’s practice sessions. Martin would run inside the field’s top three for the first 24 laps of the race, before coming into the pits after the day’s first caution on lap 24 to take four tires, fuel and make adjustments to tighten the car’s handling. Untimely luck would strike for the first time, as several cars that were behind Martin had pitted prior to the caution and moved in front of the No. 6.

Martin was running in 13th position when the field returned to green on lap 25. By lap 30 Martin had moved back inside the field’s top 10. Martin had moved into eighth position, running just behind Rusty Wallace and in front of Robbie Gordon by lap 51. Wallace lost his breaks heading into the corner, causing the day’s fifth caution and setting off the race’s most critical turn of events.

In the time that lapsed between Wallace’s accident and the yellow flag being issued, Gordon and the majority of the cars behind him dove onto pit road for a green flag pit stop. Martin and the race’s leaders would be forced to pit the following lap under caution. The chain of events would eventually see Gordon win the race, while Martin dropped all the way back to 30th position when the field went green with 34 laps remaining.

Still, Martin refused to give up, dashing through the field car by car. By lap 59 Martin had passed six cars and was running in 24th place. Three laps later Martin moved into the top 20, before breaking back into the top 15 on lap 69.

With nine laps to go Martin was running in 13th position. He moved into to 12th place on lap 83 and passed the No. 15 car for 11th place with just four laps to go, while continuing to battle for position. Martin would continue to fight for position, breaking back inside the top-10 on the race’s final lap.

“The guys did a great job all weekend and Mark did a great job behind the wheel,” said crew chief Ben Leslie. “It’s a shame that we got hurt on the caution cycle like we did, because we really did have a fast car. Still, it was a solid run and we’ll try to build on it next week as we get ready for Michigan.”

The race marked the 14th time in 16 races at Watkins Glen that Martin has finished inside the top 10, the most of any driver. It was also his 29th modern-era top-10 finish at a road course, the most of any active driver. It was the team’s second top-10 finish in as many weeks and Martin’s ninth top-10 finish of the season.

Martin is currently in 15th place in the Winston Cup point standings, only 131 points outside of 10th place. He trails 11th place by only 54 points. The team returns to action next week at Michigan, where Martin ran to a ninth-place finish in June.

Ford Notes and Quotes Post Race - Sirius At The Glen (Mark Martin)
August 10, 2003

Watkins Glen, N.Y. — Dale Jarrett took home his sixth Top-10 finish of what has been a tough season for him, leading the Taurus squad at Watkins Glen International today.

Winston Cup points leader Matt Kenseth helped his championship drive by also earning a Top-10, along with his Roush Racing teammate Mark Martin. But it was another Roush pilot who helped give spectators an early-race thrill. Greg Biffle, who started second, assisted pole-sitter Jeff Gordon to spin out in Turn 1 on lap 1. Biffle then went on the lead for the first 17 laps.


“We are still the most unluckiest team out here. The 31 [car] wasn’t the fastest car by any means, but we weren’t either. The 31 ran behind us and it’s just unfortunate. Every time we pitted there were more cars in front of us based on the gas deal.”


“Yeah, that happened twice. You can’t come that early if you can’t go far enough, so it isn’t a stroke of brilliance. It looks like those guys are smarter, but they’re not really. They’ve got an edge. If they had our car and they pitted like that, they’d run dry and wouldn’t be too smart. They know what they’ve got and they’ve got an advantage in that area and I don’t like this kind of racing. It ain’t racing anymore. Sure, it’s racing but it isn’t the kind of racing that we did for 20 years.”

Old School: Martin Last Of A Dying Breed
August 8, 2003


Watkins Glen, N.Y. — One would have to hunt high and low to find someone to say that Mark Martin is anything but a consummate professional race car driver. Martin’s career highlights are above reproach, and there isn’t a car owner in the garage that wouldn’t want him behind the wheel of their car.

The driver of the Winston Cup No. 6 ride is an interesting case as he’s not one to cut loose, at least not very often. However, if you do want to put a smile on his face all one has to do is talk about his son, Matt, and you’ll see this reserved man’s face light up.

Martin, from outside appearances, hovers near intensity most of the time. But he’s just trying to figure out how to get his Viagra Ford to the front of the pack. This search leads him to stay away from the limelight; and somewhat introverted, he ponders what it’ll take to accomplish that task.

Martin is part of the old school regime where the driver needed to know what made the car tick. That once-required skill is not nearly as important now as once. Racing has shifted from adjustments made on the track during an event to the decisions made by engineers weeks in advance of the team hauler leaving for that week’s venue.

One of the best stories displaying Martin’s prowess as an involved driver came a number of years ago, during a Busch Grand National race at Darlington Raceway. Martin was simply beating the tar out of all comers in the race and had leads that could be measured by straightaways. Martin, after a caution came out for an incident, called to his crew chief with a very lengthy list of adjustments the driver wanted completed. During that caution Martin wanted the air pressure in his tires adjusted, the trackbar adjusted, a fender tugged on. The list went on and on and Martin wasn’t asking if the changes should be made — he was telling the crew chief what changes would be made.

When the green flag flew several onlookers wondered what all the adjustments would do to his car. Martin showed everyone when he took a car that was dominant prior to his ordering the laundry list of changes to one that no one was going to touch that day. Period. End of discussion.

Asked if he remembered that day Martin smiled and nodded in the affirmative. “I knew what was in it,” he recalled. “I knew every piece of it including shocks and everything. That's how we did it.

“Drivers don't do that any more therefore you don't need 20 years of experience to be good. All you need to do is ride the fool out of whatever it is your team gives you.”


It wasn’t all that long ago when a driver did need to know how to make a car work, but through the years a driver’s marketability become a bigger piece of the puzzle for a prospective candidate than knowing which swaybar is needed at a particular venue.

“I got my first real good ride in '88 with Jack Roush but, and he'll tell ya, it took our team a while to mature,” said Martin, who was 29-years old when he started his Cup career in earnest.

“It really wasn't a winning car in '88 although it was the right team and all,” Martin continued. “It was the right opportunity but it took us awhile to mature as a group although we did have a good year in '89, our second year and almost won the championship the third year. We still were much better in many ways in the late 90's rather than the early 90’s. It was the same for me as it was for any other driver out here that were 30-plus before they got into a situation that was a contender.

"I see drivers getting started in their early 20's retiring in their late 30's,” Martin said as he acknowledges the increased pressures in the sport. “Every individual is different but you take the water level and it takes an amount out of you to do this. If you get started at 35 you might make it to 50, but if you get started at 20 you're not gonna make it to 50. You're not gonna want to. You're not gonna need to.

“A lot of these guys need to race until they're 50, financially. Some of 'em want to and some of 'em don't mind that they're not as fierce a competitor at 50 as they were at 35. Others it may bother.

"So everyone is different but for the biggest part because of the way things are different they're gonna start younger and it's going to be more like open-wheel racing,” Martin continued with his observation of the new NASCAR. “That's where they get started young because it's technical [equipment] not driver [skill]. The driver doesn't set the car up. Technicians do. Well, that's what's happening here, now. Technicians set these cars up, not the drivers. Whereas 10 years ago Rusty [Wallace] and myself and most of the drivers did the setups on these things to a much larger degree than they do today. Not completely, obviously, but to a much larger degree than we do today."

Regarding the burnout factor, or the grind as some call it, Martin said, "When you do give so much of your life to something at some point in time, I believe, that you mature. And I believe that you stand back and you look around and you say, 'There might be something that is as important to me as racing, and that's life.'”

“Most of us I'd say, for everyone in their 40's in Winston Cup racing their lives came second. Their families came second. Their lives came second and most of us didn't get a chance to do a lot of things that normal people do. You start taking account of that and you start thinking about that.

"Personally, I have a desire to have a life one day. If I could race until I was 75, I wouldn't do that because I would never get to have that other life. I think that drivers will start feeling like that at 35 instead of 45. You're wore out and because they're not going to be afraid of what they're going to live on because financially it's going to be a lot more lucrative."

And it was a lack of liquidity that has kept some drivers in the seat beyond their prime as they tried to build a cushion for the retirement years.

Said Martin, “The guys in their 40's right now are just some better off than that, but they're not the kind of better off that Kurt Busch is gonna be when he's ready to retire.”


Looking at Martin there are times one wonders if he ever has any fun doing his job. But fun is not why Martin comes to the race track — he comes to win. That means that his approach to the game can look somewhat tortured at times.

Asked about the fun quotient Martin just sort of laughs. "I never did have any fun.” replies Martin.

“It wasn't about fun for me. I'm not bragging about that but it never was about fun for me. I could be dishonest with you like. I think some other people are and say, 'Yeah, it's a blast.'”

Explaining what drives him Martin said, "It was about winning. … Winning's fun but you don't win near as much as you lose. So come on, now. I'm just a different person. I really wish I was different than that but it just never was about having fun and so therefore I recognize the fact that I was as successful as I have been because of that and that I had a lot less fun than a lot of people around me.

"So there are two sides to the coin. I wouldn't want to be that successful if I had to trade that for laughing or having fun and everything all my life. I wouldn't trade it. I want the success, the trophies on the wall because I told you once before I am going to have a life beyond racing. So I wouldn't trade it.

"I'm not saying it's the formula. I'm saying my formula was the wrong formula but it was the right formula for me. I wouldn't recommend it for anyone."

The payoff for the long hours and hard work, in Martin’s world, can be summed up with one word. “You better believe I’m incredibly proud of what I’ve accomplished and the integrity that I have and all that,” Martin says passionately. “That’s important to me. The success I’ve had and the things that I’ve been able to overcome throughout my career have been real …”

Martin stops, inwardly reflecting on the bad years for a moment before continuing. The bad years led him to several self-destructive periods. After reflectively playing the memories of the mid-80’s through his head Martin added, “I had a lot of trouble getting into Winston Cup racing to where I could win a race. I thought it was never gonna happen, but I fought like a dog for it and I’m proud I didn’t just win one. I’ve threatened to win a number of championships and built a tremendous relationship with Jack Roush and nothing will ever change that relationship between he and I.

“Those kinds of things I’m really proud about.”

Martin, however, does admit that there could have been a few more laughs along the way, but that was never his style.

“I could have had more fun while being successful but I wasn’t interested in that,” Martin said as he explains his life’s philosophy. “If I can get five more feet at the end of 500 miles – if I can be five feet further forward then that was much more important to me than telling a joke or than laughing. You can’t judge it that way because you can’t tell if you got that five feet or not at the end of the day. You can always say well we got a lot there but you might have got it if you did cut that joke.

“I just never put an emphasis on enjoying that stuff. I put emphasis on performance. That’s where my emphasis was and that’s good,” Martin adds with his characteristic pride in his voice.

“That’s the only reason that I was so successful,” Martin continues. “It was because I worked harder at it and paid more attention to it and was more committed than most of the people around me. That’s why I got those trophies on the wall, in my opinion.

“It wasn’t a conscious choice in there. It was a subconscious choice that I made to be the way that I have been. But at the same time I look forward to a day when I don’t face those same challenges that I’ve faced since I was 16 years old because you can’t win ‘em all.”

With the field being so level these days, and with the sports metamorphosis from a driver’s game to technical engineering, is there room for a 45-year-old driver’s driver in the game any longer? You bet, says Roush Racing’s marquee driver.

"Personally, I don't believe that all things being equal that a 45-year old is as good as a 25-year old but all things aren't equal and that's why we manage to do what we do,” Martin says with a bit of a smirk. “We [the veterans] do have a lot of experience and a lot of wisdom and a lot of judgment in this thing and some of us are just better than some of the 25-year olds; and always have been.

"Now that doesn't bother me. There's no sour grapes here. To me that's a fact. It doesn't mean that I can't win races (or any of the other guys from my time) or it doesn't mean that a 40-year old can't play professional football and do a fabulous job because likely all things aren't equal.

"Experience is our strong suit,” Martin addes with conviction. “That's what we have to use as a tool. That's OK. I think the reason you see 20- and 30- year olds in Formula One and CART racing is the same reason that you'll see that 10 years from now, here. It's going to be much more technical racing. The cars and everything are getting to be a lot more technical as those other kinds of racing already are."

With so many changes underway in the sport does Martin see himself taking on the role of active car owner?

“No. No I don’t. I don’t see that coming,” Martin says of his future. “The only way that I would ever do anything like that would be if I thought that it would really, really benefit my son. Otherwise I don’t want that.

“I don’t see me — take Matt, my son out of it, if you take him out of it — I don’t see me coming to the race track 10 years from now every week working this grind. I don’t see that vision for me, right now. I don’t have a strong interest in that. That’s not part of the picture.”

Martin softens the stance, however, when he considers a hot property or the fact that someone such as Kurt Busch could stroll into his field of view.

“That’s not to say that I couldn’t get incredibly excited about being unbelievably competitive with a young guy who deserved an opportunity that hasn’t had one yet,” Martin offers on the string that could keep him attached to the sport.

“Let me give you another example, Kurt Busch two years ago. That could get me wound up. That could fuel the passion and the fire in me, but I probably have a stronger commitment to my family than to get myself into another deal that just extends what I do not with the same ferocity. That wouldn’t be fair, I don’t think. That’s not what I’m planning. It might happen but I don’t plan that to happen.”

Reflecting for a moment Martin offers, “The first time I ever did this or the first time I ever saw this it was thrilling, it was exciting. You were doing something or seeing something for the first time all the time. How exciting! That’s life, man. That’s the definition of life. If you’ve been there and done that for twenty years there’s not much of that goes on any more.”

But Martin, like many of his peers do, frequently revert to using the term “grind” to describe the rigors of a Winston Cup career - and how “the grind” can lead to a trivialization of what it is that everyone does every week.

“It’s a tremendous grid on all the people, especially the ones who have families and have been doing it a long, long time,” Martin says candidly. “They have to work all the time.

“It’s probably more frustrating now for most of the teams than it was years ago because they’re a smaller cog. Each individual is a smaller wheel now and that’s more frustrating because if you were a big wheel in the deal and there was a problem you could just about solve all the problems yourself if you just pulled in a couple of your friends and pulled together. You can’t do that any more. You can’t do it. There are too many spokes in the wheel.

“So it’s a much more frustrating business than it was in that respect.”

So what is it that drives Martin through the grind? Pretty simple – and it is what makes him a racer’s racer. It’s realizing a five-foot improvement at the end of 500 miles, and for that Martin is willing to endure the sacrifices of Winston Cup racing.

Road Course Master Martin Ready for The Glen
Martin Unofficially Bested the Track Record by .784 During a Testing Session Last Week
Roush Racing

CONCORD, N.C. (August 7, 2003) - Mark Martin and the Viagra (sildenafil citrate) Racing Team head to Watkins Glen this weekend for the second and final road course race of the 2003 season. Martin has finished inside of the top 10 in 87 percent (13) of his 15 starts at the Glen and inside the top five in 73 percent (11) of the starts.

Martin and the team are particularly excited about this weekend, after they unofficially 'shattered' the course record, running a lap of 1.11.10 there during a testing session last week. The course record is a 1.11.884 set by Dale Jarrett in 2001.

"We had a really good test there last week and we are excited about going back," said Martin. "I like road racing and I like racing at Watkins Glen. We've been pretty good there over the years and last week's was encouraging.

"The guys on this race team have continued to work all out and we should have a really good race car for this weekend. I'm excited about getting back out on the track and doing it for real"

Martin is no stranger to Watkins Glen and its 2.45-mile winding course. The veteran driver has started there 15 times, while finishing in the top-10 on an impressive 13 occasions, including a 10-place run last season. The 13 top-10 finishes at Watkins Glen are the most of any active driver.

One of NASCAR's all-time top road racers, Martin boast 11 top-five finishes at The Glen, including three victories from 1993-95 when he dominated by winning all three from the pole.

"I learned to drive on the dirt roads of Arkansas, so to me it's just like that, only the roads are paved and the competition is steeper," said Martin.

Martin's average finish at Watkins Glen is 6.13, the best of all drivers with more than two starts there. In addition, Martin's 204 laps led at Watkins Glen are the most of any driver and Martin set the race record during his '95 win at The Glen, finishing the race in 2 hours, 11 minutes and 54 seconds.

Martin has always enjoyed racing on the road courses and his statistics show it. In addition to his three wins at Watkins Glen, he won from the pole at Sears Point in 1997. Giving Martin four wins (all from the pole) on road courses. Martin's 28 top-ten finishes on road courses tie with Ricky Rudd for the most of any active driver.

Martin's four wins at road curses tie for the ninth most in NASCAR history and his four poles tie for the eighth most.

"I just enjoy the road courses," said Martin. "We've had a lot of success on those type of tracks. They are fun to race on and a lot is in the hand of the driver, so it's always a challenge."

2003 Mark Martin The Glen Track Notes
Viagra® (sildenafil citrate) Roush Racing #6 Ford Taurus
SIRIUS at The Glen/Watkins Glen International
Sunday, August 10, 2003
Roush Racing

DRIVER: Mark Martin
CAR OWNER: Jack Roush
CREW CHIEF: Ben Leslie


Tony Stewart drove his Pontiac to a victory at Watkins Glen International, beating Ryan Newman by 1.636 seconds for his 15th career victory and third of 2002. Stewart was fined and put on probation for punching a photographer the previous week.


Race #22, August 11 - Watkins Glen International
Sirius Satellite Radio 250 - Started 15th, Finished 10th

Martin, whose car was the sixth fastest off the truck on Friday, started the race from the eighth row in 15th position, based on Friday's qualifying session. The car struggled early, with Martin dropping to 17th place by only the eighth lap. He rebounded and worked his way up the field. Martin would hold position on the road course, weathering several cautions during the final 27 laps, including the day's seventh and final caution with only two laps remaining. The race was red-flagged and restarted with only one lap to go. Despite having trouble with the clutch and running low on fuel, Martin was able to hold position and move on to the 10th-place finish.


Martin and the Viagra® Racing Team take to Watkins Glen for the season's second and final road course. Martin drove to a ninth-place finish last weekend in the Brickyard 400 and will be looking for another strong run this weekend at Watkins Glen, where he has finished inside the top 10 in 13 of 15 races.


The Viagra® Racing Team will take RK-103 to Watkins Glen this weekend. RK-103 posted strong results last week while testing at Watkins Glen, unofficially shattering the track record. The car finished 19th at Sonoma earlier this year, after getting involved in an early accident before falling victim to a faulty pit sequence.


Martin, who is considered one of the best road course drivers on the circuit, won three straight races at Watkins Glen from '93-95 - all three wins coming from the pole. Martin has posted 11 top-five finishes at the Glen and he has finished inside the top 10 in 13-of-15 races at Watkins Glen, the most of any driver. In fact, Martin has finished inside the top 10 in 28 road course races.


  • Mark Martin has finished in the top-10 of 13 of his last 15 races at The Glen, the most of any active driver.
  • Martin has finished in the top-five or better in 11 of his 15 races at The Glen, the most of any driver.
  • Martin's three poles are the most of any active driver at Watkins Glen International Raceway. Martin is one of only three drivers with multiple poles at The Glen.
  • Martin won from the pole in three straight races at the Glen from '93 to '95.
  • Martin's three wins at the Glen are the second most in the track's history.
  • Martin has led 204 laps at Watkins Glen, more than any other driver.
  • Martin set a track record in his '95 win at the Glen, running 220.5 miles on the 2.4-mile track in 2 hours, 11 minutes and 54 seconds (100.303 mph).
  • Mark Martin has a 6.13 average finish in 15 career races at Watkins Glen, the best of all drivers with more than two races there.


Mark Martin on Racing at Watkins Glen:

"I grew up driving fast on those winding dirt roads in Arkansas, and I guess it's a lot like that, except the cars are a lot better, the competition is steeper and the roads are paved. I enjoy the road courses, we've been pretty good at those tracks over the years and Watkins Glen is a track that I really enjoy racing at. We had a pretty good test there a couple of weeks ago and I think we are all excited about getting back on the track this weekend."

No.6 Crew Chief Ben Leslie on Racing at Watkins Glen:

"Mark really likes the road courses. We had a really strong test session there last week and I know that all of the guys and Mark are excited to go up there and show what we can do. Everyone has been working really hard in preparation for this race and hopefully that work will pay off with a strong finish."

Martin Runs to Top-10 Finish at The Brickyard
Mark Martin and the #6 Viagra® Racing Team
Brickyard 400/August 3, 2003
Roush Racing

INDIANAPOLIS, IND. (August 3, 2003) – Mark Martin and the Viagra® (sildenafil citrate) Racing Team steadily worked their way up the field in Sunday’s Brickyard 400, battling to a ninth place finish in the 10th annual running of the famed event. Martin broke into the top 10 for the final time on lap 129 and remained there for the final 31 laps of the race.

"We maybe had a better car than that,” said Martin. “We found ourselves in the back all the time. We lost a lap on an unlucky caution and then the team did a great job in the pits and in calling the race. We turned up with a ninth-place finish and that's good to get a top 10. Still, we had a strong car today, maybe even better than the finish showed."

The team qualified 25th on Friday, but Martin’s car was among the field’s fastest during both of Saturday’s practice sessions. The car remained among the fastest when the green flag dropped on Sunday and Martin had worked his way into the top 20 by lap nine.

The car began to become tight and the team came into the pits for four tires and an air pressure adjustment on lap 35. The team caught a dose of bad luck when a pit road accident on the following lap caused the day’s first caution and put Martin a lap down to the cars that had yet to pit. Martin restarted the race in 23rd position and at the tail end of the lead lap once the field returned to green on lap 44.

The team caught a break on the next lap, when the No. 81 car spun out, causing the day’s second caution. The caution allowed Martin to get back on the lead lap. The team opted to return to the pits for four tires and fuel, as they were not sure if Martin had damaged his tires running through the debris trail of the No. 81. Martin returned to the field in 29th position when the field went green on lap 49.

The No. 6 Viagra® Ford was fast, and Martin was able to gain nine positions by lap 58, when he again cracked the field’s top 20. Martin was running in 17th position when the field began green-flag pitting on lap 78. Martin was able to stay out as the other cars pitted, taking the lead on lap 84 and earning five bonus points. Martin led three laps before coming into the pits for four tires, fuel and a wedge adjustment. A quick stop of 15.35 seconds put Martin in 17th position once all the cars had cycled through their stops.

By lap 102 Martin had worked his way into 14th position and the No. 6 Viagra® Ford Taurus was running the fastest lap times on the track. Martin continued to battle for position and the veteran driver was running in 12th position when the field began green flag pitting on lap 126. The team caught its biggest break of the day on lap 139, when the day’s fourth caution of the day occurred.

Crew chief Ben Leslie had already instructed Martin to bring the car into the pits for fuel, only seconds before the yellow flag flew. Martin was able to stay out at the last minute. The caution placed several of the cars that had pitted a lap down. Martin came into the pits for two tires and fuel and returned to the field in eighth position when the field went green with 16 laps to go.

After another caution, the field went green for the final time with 10 laps remaining. Martin battled several cars for the final 10 laps, before crossing the finish line in ninth place. The run was the eighth top-10 finish for Martin this season.

The team returns to action next week at Watkins Glen for the second and final road course race of the season.

SLUMP: Martin says he needs a little luck
By Mike Mulhern, Journal Reporter
Winston-Salem Journal
August 2, 2003

INDIANAPOLIS - Matt Kenseth is atop the Winston Cup standings, but a shakeup could be coming elsewhere within Roush Racing, and another crew-chief swap could be in the works, according to team sources.

Not all of Roush's men are having smooth sailing.

Mark Martin has had a tough year, but he could be the man to beat at Watkins Glen, based on this week's tests. And he certainly could use a boost, after a string of bad runs at Sonoma (19th), Daytona (20th), Chicago (14th), Loudon (18th) and Pocono (41st). Martin's last win was at Charlotte in the spring of 2002.

'We ran good at the Glen, but we ran good at Sears Point in the test and then went back out there and screwed it up,' Martin said with a wry laugh.

'We've have a little more competitive cars than last year, but we haven't even been in the hunt, because of bad luck and strategy and all the things that have a bearing on how you finish. But the performance of the car, on average, has been better.'

What he really needs, Martin said, is more luck.

'Times are just different now. Maybe it will change back,' Martin said. 'Things are just real different.

'You have to have the gas mileage to make it, or you can't make the call. You can say somebody is brilliant ... but it's not all brilliance - you've got to have the stuff to back up your calls.'

Martin said his race-day calls have been going 'bad, real bad. But we haven't had the stuff to back up the aggressive calls. We haven't had the tools to put us in position to do anything special in the last five races.

'This is the same group we had last year, so the potential is still there. We don't have as good a gas mileage as we did. But we do have as good a car and as good a crew. When the time is right, things can be just as good as they were a year ago.'

So what does Martin feel would make the turnaround?

'If I had my druthers, I'd just up for the luck,' he said. 'There's no need to turn things upside down right now, just because we've been unlucky. If we could get some luck that would straighten out 80 percent of it.'

2003 Mark Martin Articles - January

2003 Mark Martin Articles - February

2003 Mark Martin Articles - March

2003 Mark Martin Articles - April

2003 Mark Martin Articles - May

2003 Mark Martin Articles - June & July

2003 Mark Martin Articles - September

2003 Mark Martin Articles - October

2003 Mark Martin Articles - November

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