MRN Flashback: 1997 IROC XXI


A victory at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif., helped carry Mark Martin to the 1997 IROC championship. (Photo: ISC Archives)


For veteran driver Mark Martin, the inaugural NASCAR weekend at Auto Club Speedway in 1997 was a productive one.

Not only did Martin drive his No. 6 Roush Racing Ford to a top-10 finish in the California 500 Sprint Cup Series race.  He also was victorious in that season’s third round of the International Race of Champions on the two-mile Southern California oval.

Martin started last in the 12-car field but finished first, leading 19 of the 50 laps and beating runner-up Bobby Labonte to the checkered flag by .129 seconds.  Terry Labonte, Randy LaJoie and Jeff Gordon completed the top five.

Martin went on to win the 1997 IROC championship, the 21st season for the series which annually featured drivers from a variety of motor sports disciplines.  His final margin of victory over Robby Gordon was nine points.

Visit on Thursday at 12 p.m. (ET) to hear the complete broadcast of the 1997 International Race of Champions from Auto Club Speedway, anchored by Barney Hall and Allen Bestwick.  Motor Racing Network – “The Voice of NASCAR” – features a classic race broadcast each week on “Throwback Thursday” at

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