Mark Martin Pit Stop

Local Sports
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BATESVILLE, AR – A NASCAR season runs about 15,000 miles.

Or several trips to Muskegon, Michigan and back.

“We’re 750 miles each way, or a 1,500-mile round trip,” said Curtis Bolt, who made the trek to North Arkansas with his wife Sandie.

The Bolts lined up alongside hundreds of other racing fans Saturday at the Mark Martin Museum in Batesville.

Some, like Loretta Shain, came looking for signatures.

“First I got my arm autographed,” said the Paragould native.  “Then I went through a 2nd time and got my ankle autographed.”

“The fan response has been overwhelming,” said Martin.  “This is our 8th year and it seems like we have more fun every year.”

At 53, Martin has enjoyed an incredible career, with hundreds of wins to his name. 

A move to Michael Waltrip racing in November has made the experience even better.

“I actually enjoy what I’m doing now more than I ever have.  I’m not having to do anything I don’t want to do.”

Martin has eased up on his racing schedule, agreeing to compete in 25 races over the next 2 seasons.  The freedom has allowed him to spend more time with his family, and at events like the Fan Appreciation Day.

“He’s really worked hard for what he’s done,” said Bolt.  “He reciprocates that back to the fans.”

“He’s got such a nice attitude, it’s hard to not love Mark Martin,” added Shain.

Martin might be tapping the brakes, but he has absolutely no plans to step away from the sport.

“I don’t concern myself with that,” said Martin when referring to retirement.  “I’m very happy being able to race when I want to and go back to the race track with a lot of fire and enthusiasm.”

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