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Martin Aims for Unprecedented Third IROC Title

21 July 1997

Mark Martin
International Race of Champions
Race #4 Advance
Michigan Speedway 


LIBERTY, NC - While most Winston Cup competitors will be enjoying a weekend 
off, Mark Martin will be at Michigan Speedway to defend his International 
Race of Champions title on Sunday, July 27. Martin, driver of the 
Valvoline/Cummins Ford on the NASCAR Winston Cup circuit and the Winn-Dixie 
Ford in the Busch series, won the IROC championship in 1994 and 1996 and is 
currently leading the points going into the season finale at Michigan. In the 
first three IROC races, Martin finished second at Daytona and won at 
Charlotte and the new California Speedway.

"As I've said before, it means a lot to me to drive in the IROC series," 
Martin said. "It's a great feeling to have such success against some of the 
best drivers in motorsports. Racing in equally prepared cars and not having 
to worry about pit stops and fuel mileage is really fun. It's been an 
incredible experience and it means as much to me as anything I've done in 
racing. I don't know why I've had so much success in this series. Maybe it's 
my 'Arkansas grip' on the wheel that gives me an advantage over the other 

Martin is in elite company having won two IROC titles. The only other drivers 
to accomplish that feat are Dale Earnhardt, Al Unser, Jr., and A.J. Foyt.
Unser, Jr. is third in points (20 points behind Martin) and Earnhardt is 
seventh (38 points behind). No driver has ever won a third IROC championship.

"It's not over yet, Michigan could be a heartbreaker," Martin said. "If I do 
win the championship, my focus will be on doing it again. I don't look at 
what I've done, I look at what I need to do. I want to win a fourth so I can 
be far enough ahead that it will be tough for someone else to break it."

Martin is only 19 points ahead of second place, Robby Gordon. Moving up 
through the field will be a challenge for him since he will be starting last 
based on inverted points. Martin rose to the challenge at California and 
hopes to do it again at Michigan. The series champion will earn $225,000 of 
the $760,000 IROC purse.

By Roush Racing Public Relations