Who am I talking about? Mark Martin of course. In 2009, Mark will make his final full season run at the Sprint Cup. He will be doing it in one of the best rides in the series too: The number 5 Rick Hendrick Chevrolet.
Mark Martin has managed 11 top 10 finishes and 4 top 5 finishes in only 24 races run out of 35 so far. Had Mark been running a full schedule, he probably would have made the Chase. From latest reports, Mark will not be running at Homestead, which I feel is a shame.
Like him or not, Mark Martin will be a good teammate for the rest of the Hendrick boys. I can call virtually all of the drivers 'boys' because I'm older than them. I can't call Mark Martin a boy because he's older than I am. But you know what? For an old man, relatively speaking, he's still a very good driver. Mark has 35 wins in Cup, 48 wins in Nationwide, and 7 wins in the Truck series. In other words, the man knows how to take the checkered flag.
Mark might be driving the best equipment he's ever had when he takes over the 5 car. Old friend Rick Hendrick will make sure he's got the best of everything. Mark is still a racer, and he'll overcome the stigma that many Dale Jr. fans attached to him as the first driver to take over the old 8 car at DEI. Next year, he'll be Dale Jr.'s teammate, and he'll be a good one.
Mark will race as hard as he can, but he'll help out his teammates Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Jr. All of the guys can learn from him, and probably will. Mark's been in this business longer than any of them and he's got a wealth of information in his brain. Mark Martin is one of the nicer guys in the garage on any given weekend, and many drivers seek out his opinions and lessons.
Here's to you, Mark Martin. Go out and win. I personally will be pulling for you every race, along with others of course. I'm glad you're on the team now.