Saturday, December 5, 2009

Mark Martin - Simply the Best

Sometimes simple is better. And during his speech at last night's Sprint Cup Series Awards banquet, Mark Martin proved once again that he is simply the best.

The banquet's setting was anything but simple. The glitzy Vegas ballroom featured choreographed violinists, sequins, confetti, pop music and pre-fab speeches.

Then there was Mark Martin.

Martin, who watched the biggest dream of his career drive away with the #48 at Homestead, wasn't accepting a championship trophy. But his words last night were championship caliber.

After sitting through several tired jokes about his age, Martin got up to speak. He didn't use his time at the podium to talk up the "Mark Martin brand" nor did he use humor to mask potshots at his competitors.

With a level of sincerity and thoughtfulness that none of the other drivers managed to muster, Martin cut through the trappings and got right to the heart of things.

He began by thanking his wife for her support - and then sweetly choked up as he told her she still gave him butterflies after all these years. With humble respect, he told Rick Hendrick that Hendrick was a champion of a person and said "I want to be more like you." He thanked the fans who had cheered him on through his racing career, and also those of a certain age who, this season, adopted him as proof that your life doesn't have to slow down as you get older.

He even graciously thanked the crew chiefs of his teammates for welcoming him to Hendrick Motorsports - including the beleaguered Tony Eury, Jr.

Finally, in the manner of a father imparting some hard-got wisdom, Martin said he wanted to talk about what's really important in life. He said it's not the number of trophies that you win--because those feelings fade. People. Friendships. Memories. Family. These, said Martin, are what is truly important - and what will last a lifetime.

Simple truths from the heart of a champion.

Here's hoping Martin gets that championship in 2010.

Photo info: Mark Martin and his wife Arlene at Sprint Cup Series Awards banquet


  1. Byron FlatOut BurnettDecember 5, 2009 at 11:39 PM

    Wins and titles don't make champions. Example this guy Mark Martin. Best moment of the entire night.

  2. Mark has been my hero for many years--this just confirms that he has the values I have admired all along. Pity the drivers who haven't learned from him.

  3. A total CLASS ACT!!!!! He is the man!!!