Martin Missing From IROC

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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Winston Cup driver Mark Martin is one of the greatest drivers in International Race of Champions history, but he won’t be competing in the IROC races this year. He wasn’t even invited.

Nope, this year Martin will not be battling for a record fifth IROC title, or for a record-tying 11th victory in the race that pits 12 drivers from all different forms of motorsports.

“They only take the top-five drivers in the Winston Cup points standings,” Martin said. “We didn’t make the Top 5 and that’s what they take out of Winston Cup. I’m not offended and I’m not overly disappointed other than the fact I share most of the money I’ve made with my Winston Cup crew guys.

“I don’t know what I’m going to do about that because I’ve never been lower than seventh the past seven years, so we’ve had a lot of money to split up between the guys. I’m not sick about it or broken-hearted, that’s just the way it works.”

When asked if there wasn’t some kind of rule, much like is done regularly in NASCAR, to get drivers who have had a major impact on the sport in the race anyway, Martin could only laugh.

“That’s a good one, but I don’t think so,” Martin said.

Martin shouldn’t feel too bad about not being invited to race in IROC because quite a few of his fellow Winston Cup stars - such as former champion Rusty Wallace, Tony Stewart, Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt Jr. - also got the boot from the series. However, Stewart will be competing in the opening IROC race due to an injury to CART FedEx Series champion Gil De Ferran.

Some feel that the practice the stock-car drivers in IROC get around the 2.5-mile track plays into their hands as far as getting more adapted to Daytona.

Martin isn’t one of those believers.

“Nah, it might help a rookie but I don’t need no practice,” Martin said. “I need a fast car. At this point in my career, I don’t need any practice. I just need a fast car.”

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