CHARLOTTE, N.C. – If Mark Martin didn’t have bad luck, he probably would have no luck at all.
He’s learned that the hard way over his 27 years at NASCAR’s top level. There have been four runner-up championship finishes and a myriad of small disasters on a resume that most likely will still go down as one of the greatest in series history.
So is it really any surprise Martin’s start to this season has been hit by misfortune? It’s not to Martin, who can’t catch a break.
“I do have a history of not being the luckiest guy out there,” he said Monday, softly chuckling a day after yet another malfunction ruined what appeared to be a top-five run.
He was fourth at Atlanta on Sunday when he apparently ran over something on the track, causing his right rear tire to fail. But despite a severely damaged Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet, crew chief Alan Gustafson was able to get the car back on the track so Martin could limp it home to a 31st-place finish.
“I’ve been so bad over the years at judging my self-worth off of the results,” the 50-year-old said. “I told everyone that I am mentally tougher now than I’ve ever been in my life, and I am working at living up to that. … I am disappointed, but I am not down in the dumps and I don’t feel worthless.”