Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Top 5 Mark Martin Moments: 2009 Season with Hendrick Motorsports

This weekend, Mark Martin will make his final start before moving on to a new phase in his career.  While he will still be around the track -- and won't use the word "retire" -- the chances of seeing Mark in a Sprint Cup Car on a regular basis are very slim.

So to celebrate his great career, I'll take a look at some of my favorite Mark Martin moments.  So to start off, here is the number five moment on my list:

5. 2009 Sprint Cup Season with Hendrick Motorsports

The 2009 season was a great year for Mark Martin fans.  After running a partial schedule in 2007 and 2008, he returned to full-time competition to drive the No. 5 car for Hendrick Motorsports.  Joining Hendrick Motorsports seemed to be a good move for Martin, but no one expected the paring to produce like they did.

Martin quickly got into victory lane in just the eighth race of the season at Phoenix in April.  He won again in May, this time at the historic Southern 500 from Darlington Raceway.  He took the checkered flag again a month later at Michigan in June, and then he won at Chicago in July for his fourth win of the season.

Mark Martin celebrates his win at Darlington in May 2009.  That season he had five wins on his way to a runner-up finish in the points. (Photo courtesy Todd Warshaw/Getty Images)
He had to race his way into the Chase because of some very bad finishes early in the season, but he continued his winning ways once the Chase began.  He won the Chase opener at New Hampshire for his fifth and final win of the season.

He gave Jimmie Johnson a run for the Championship, but he too fell during Johnson's historic five-championship run.  He finished second in the points for the fifth time in his long career.  But with Jeff Gordon finishing third in points, it was the first time a team had swept the top three positions in the points.

While five wins wasn't a career high for Martin -- he won five times in 1993 and seven times in 1998 -- it was a career resurgence for the veteran driver.  He whipped the young guns into shape, and proved that the "old man" could still get it done.

What did you think of Mark Martin's 2009 season?  Let me know by commenting below!  Be sure to check back tomorrow for the fourth moment in our countdown!

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