NASCAR: Martin makes statement about Junior

Much was made last week when Mark Martin became the third-oldest winner of a NASCAR race after winning at Phoenix. Don’t know why, since everyone knows he is enormously talented and the consummate professional. If anything, maybe Martin has been too respectful on the track,  unwilling to bump someone out of the way to win a race. But that’s the way he races, and that’s another story.

Martin’s victory came in only his eighth race since joining Hendrick Motorsports. By comparison, Dale Earnhardt Jr., won in his 15th race after joining owner Rick Hendrick’s team, his only victory through 44 races heading into Talladega. By comparison, it took Jimmie Johnson 13 races overall, 10 in his first full season (2002) when he won three times.

Should also point out that Martin, despite beginning this season with consecutive finishes of 16th, 40th, 40th and 31st, is now  only nine points out of the top 12 (which is led by Hendrick teammates Jeff Gordon and Johnson). Martin is 94 points ahead of 19th place Junior in the championship.

Which, of course, means that Junior is definitively the No. 4 driver in Hendrick stable.

No question Junior is a good driver. But he’s the No. 4 driver on that team.

In case anyone was wondering.

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