Seemingly ageless Martin still proving himself

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At 54 years old, Mark Martin continues to persevere – and excel – in the Sprint Cup Series.

Martin isn’t a full-time racer this season on NASCAR’s top circuit, but thanks to a combination of his well-known commitment to fitness and the solid talent behind him at Michael Waltrip Racing, he’s staying quite competitive in this, his 31st season of Cup racing.

“I will say that I don’t know that my training – in my prime, I don’t know that my personal training made me a better race car driver,” Martin said after his Friday pole run for tomorrow’s Subway Fresh Fit 500k at Phoenix International Raceway. “But there’s no doubt in my mind that the longevity of my career is hugely dependent on that commitment.”

With 40 Cup victories on his resume, Martin’s hard work has paid off for him time and again. But he says he still has his occasional misgivings, which makes him grateful to have MWR in his corner.

“If I would’ve qualified 30th today, my lip would be out and I’d have the long face and whatnot,” said Martin of his No. 55 team. “[Winning the pole] is nice. I still revert back to – I have people that believe in me more than I do myself. They don’t doubt.

“…I truly believe that the reason I’m able to defy these odds right now are two huge reasons; [training] is one of them, and the other one is the people that work on my race car. It don’t matter how good you are – if you’ve got a slow car, you don’t look good and you don’t go fast. I have to have people that believe in me, and these guys believe in me.”

Formula One: Recapping the past week’s news

Photo: Getty Images
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While the FIA Formula 1 World Championship is still two months away from beginning its 2018 season, this past week did bring about news items that filled out the 2018 grid and shed some light on individual team and car launches as the season-opening Australian Grand Prix draws closer.

Below is a recap of F1 news from this past week:

Williams Signs Sirotkin for 2018 Drive, Names Kubica as Reserve Driver

The saga of the second seat at Williams Martini Racing was finally resolved early on in the week, with former Renault Sport F1 Team test driver Sergey Sirotkin officially confirmed as a teammate to the incumbent Lance Stroll in 2018.

The announcement concluded months of speculation that saw multiple drivers test for the team in an auditioning capacity. Most notably, Robert Kubica looked to be a main contender for the seat before Sirotkin emerged as the favorite.

However, Kubica, who has not raced in Formula 1 since a devastating rally accident in 2011 left him with brutal injuries to his right arm, was named as a reserve and development driver for the team.

This announcement also completes the 2018 Formula 1 driver lineup, with all 11 teams having their seats now filled. Among those who were left without F1 drives are Paul Di Resta, who drove for Williams at the Hungarian Grand Prix in relief of Felipe Massa and even tested with them during the Winter months, and Antonio Giovinazzi, who filled in for Pascal Wehrlein at the Australian and Chinese Grands Prix.

Former Red Bull Racing and Scuderia Toro Rosso driver Daniil Kvyat is also without a race seat for 2018, but did sign on with Scuderia Ferrari as a development driver.

Mercedes, McLaren Reveal Dates for Their 2018 Car Launches

While most teams have not yet released dates for when their 2018 cars will be publicly launched, three notables have.

Mercedes AMG Petronas will introduce its 2018 challenger on February 22nd, the same day Ferrari is doing so, while McLaren will unveil its car one day later on the 23rd.

Testing will commence on February 26th at Circuit de Catalunya.

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