NASCAR Cup Series
Mark Martin's Hall of Fame career defined by respectful racing
NASCAR Cup Series

Mark Martin's Hall of Fame career defined by respectful racing

Updated Apr. 5, 2023 1:53 p.m. ET

Mark Martin, as our recent "You Kids Don't Know" video illustrates, was the epitome of intensity. 

Within the NASCAR garage, he also was the epitome of how to race. Or at least how to race at that time.

Drivers who raced against Mark Martin can recall times when they might have received a bump from Martin, but only after he felt they didn't race him with respect. And then he would go explain to those drivers why he did what he did.


"Mark is probably the most all-around respected driver that we have that I've ever been around in our sport," former Cup champion Kevin Harvick said. "And that comes from just the way that he conducted himself, the way that he drove on the racetrack, and really sticking to his guns — he was not going to run you over.

"He expected the same race ethics that he believed in on the racetrack to come from you, or he was going to come tell you about it."

While the younger generation of drivers tended not to give as much respect, Kyle Busch uses Martin's methods as proof that racing with respect can prove worthwhile.

"He always was so close at winning so many titles, and I think a lot of that kind of stems from his cleaner racing," Busch said. "He never really made very many enemies.

"So, he never really had guys that were coming back after him at times, and so he was able to kind of get the results that he needed to get because he deserved the results that he got just due to not making enemies a lot of the times."

Maybe he didn't make any enemies because of the way he had his car set up to race.

"I could just see his car slightly in yaw," seven-time Cup champion Jimmie Johnson said."I could see the rear tires just laying a little bit of rubber down a little bit of wax streak but just this like perfect, smooth slide — and he just had a way of being so smooth on the edge.

"And I respected that from the earliest of experiences with him on-track."

Former Michael Waltrip Racing teammate Martin Truex Jr. says Martin was the ultimate teammate.

"For me, he was just a great teammate, a guy you could always lean on for advice," Truex said. "He was a fierce competitor.

"But he was always out there to help his teammates and other people as well ... just a good dude, great guy to race with and a lot of fun to be around."

Bob Pockrass covers NASCAR for FOX Sports. He has spent decades covering motorsports, including the past 30 Daytona 500s, with stints at ESPN, Sporting News, NASCAR Scene magazine and The (Daytona Beach) News-Journal. Follow him on Twitter @bobpockrass, and sign up for the FOX Sports NASCAR Newsletter with Bob Pockrass.

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