NASCAR

Martin's million-dollar win among the best

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Darrell Waltrip

Darrell Waltrip — winner of 84 career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races and a three-time champion — serves as lead analyst for NASCAR on FOX. He was selected for induction into the prestigious NASCAR Hall of Fame as part of the Class of 2012. Want more from DW? Become a fan on Facebook or follow him on Twitter.

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Matt Martin: What was the best race you ever saw? I'm Mark Martin's son. Darrell Waltrip: I've gotten a lot of questions, and I'm not sure why about the most exciting race that I've ever seen. Now, Matt Martin has sent me an e-mail, and he must have been thinking about the same one I was. His father held off Matt Kenseth to win not only the Coca-Cola 600 but a million bucks. It was as good a job of driving and as exciting a race as I've seen as far as somebody pursuing you and doing everything you can to keep them from catching you. I've never seen him drive as hard as he did in that race, moving in and out of traffic. Certainly one of my favorite races was the 2003 Darlington spring race between Kurt Busch and Ricky Craven. Their finish — side-by-side and slamming into each other — was reminiscent of another race that I really enjoyed between Davey Allison and Dale Jarrett at Michigan in 1991 for Jarrett's first Cup win. Another exciting event was a Craftsman Truck race at Richmond in 2001 where Jack Sprague was knocked sideways, almost got spun out and banged into Kevin Harvick and Ted Musgrave before taking the checkered flag.
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It was a whale of a slugfest. Sprague lost the lead and fell back to second or third and then came back to win. It was exciting to see him recover, and he celebrated with one of the most dramatic burnouts that I have ever seen. He scorched the hides and his quarterpanels until they caught fire. Two other races that none of us will ever forget are Bill Elliott's Talladega win on May 5, 1985 when he came back after being nearly two laps down, and then the last lap at Daytona between Bobby Allison and Cale Yarborough back in '79. But the races that I like and remember the most are the ones in which guys used their brain and not their bumper. From a purist's point of view and from the standpoint of doing it right, somebody bumping another driver out of the way on the last lap isn't exciting.
Tagged: Kurt Busch, Jack Sprague

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