Jimmie Johnson, Mark Martin Battle for Record Fourth Bank of America 500 Win at Charlotte Motor Speedway
Nearly a decade before Jimmie Johnson made his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series debut at Charlotte Motor Speedway in 2001, Mark Martin was standing in the Winner’s Circle celebrating his first Bank of America 500 victory.
When the two drivers return for this year’s running of Charlotte’s fall classic, each will seek to become the first driver to ever record four Bank of America 500 wins.
Johnson and Martin join NASCAR Hall of Fame drivers Bobby Allison and Cale Yarborough as the only three-time winners of the event.
Martin’s first win at Charlotte came in 1992 by way of a 1.88 second victory over Alan Kulwicki. His other Bank of America 500 wins came in October 1995 and 1998.
“(Charlotte Motor Speedway) means a lot to most of the NASCAR folks because it’s kind of a home track,” said Martin. “The track meant a lot to me because I was so comfortable on it and it was one of the earlier big speedways that I got to drive on… Somewhere in the early going it became my favorite (track) of all of them because of where it is and what it stands for – NASCAR racing’s home track.”
More recently, momentum has favored Johnson, who recorded back-to-back Bank of America 500 wins in 2004 and 2005, before adding a third in 2009. Earlier this year, Johnson recorded his third win in the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race (2003, 2006), trying Dale Earnhardt, Sr. and Jeff Gordon for most all-time wins in that race.
“It means a ton to me,” Johnson said of that win. “Those are two of the greatest drivers that have ever been in a stock car. I want to set my goals high, and I want to be considered one of the best to sit in a stock car, and the only way you can do that is by winning big races and piling up those stats.”
Johnson’s next chance to pile up stats at Charlotte comes during the only Saturday night race in the Chase. With a win, he would stand alone as the winningest Bank of America 500 driver in history.
Collectors can own a piece of history with a limited-edition Bojangles’ Pole Night ticket, which honors the four three-time Bank of America 500 winners, for just $20. Fans can reserve two frontstretch tickets, with the best views of the world’s largest HDTV and pit road, for just $99 by calling the Charlotte Motor Speedway Ticket Office at 1-800-455-FANS (3267) or visiting www.charlottemotorspeedway.com.
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