NASCAR legend Mark Martin to serve as grand marshal for unique St. Patrick’s Day parade

0 Comments

Mark Martin has received numerous honors in his racing career, but this one could be one of the most unique that will ever be bestowed upon him.

Martin will return to his native Arkansas next March to serve as grand marshal for the “2015 World’s Shortest St. Patrick’s Day Parade.”

The parade, to be held March 17 in downtown Hot Springs, Ark., is the shortest of its kind in the world.

Martin won’t even work up a sweat walking the parade route, considering it’s all of 98 feet.

That’s not a misprint — the entire route is two feet short of 100 feet.

That route is the entire length of Bridge Street in Hot Springs, “known as the world’s shortest street in everyday use,” according to a media release published on Arkansas.com.

Although he and his family are longtime residents of Daytona Beach, Fla., Martin, 55, was born in Batesville, Ark., and still maintains a number of ties to the area, particularly with several businesses he owns. Those include a car dealership and trucking company his late father started, J-Mar Express, located in Searcy, Ark.

Martin’s active driving career ended last season after filling in 12 races for Tony Stewart when the latter was injured in a sprint car race. Martin has not raced on any level of NASCAR this season.

Martin’s level of success in his NASCAR career is stellar:

* Sprint Cup: 882 career starts, 40 wins, 271 top-fives, 453 top-10s and 56 poles. While he never won a Sprint Cup championship, he finished runner-up in five different seasons.

* Nationwide Series: 236 career starts, 49 wins, 112 top-fives, 112 top-10s and 30 poles.

* Camping World Truck Series: 25 starts, seven wins, 16 top-fives, 20 top-10s and three poles.

The first driver ever hired by team owner Jack Roush when he began his NASCAR organization in 1988, Martin recently was named as a driver development coach for Roush Fenway Racing.

Follow me @JerryBonkowski

Sergio Perez wins rain-delayed race in Singapore over Leclerc; Verstappen seventh

Sergio Perez Singapore
Clive Rose/Getty Images,
0 Comments

SINGAPORE — Max Verstappen’s Formula One title celebrations were put on hold after the Red Bull driver placed seventh at a chaotic Singapore Grand Prix, won by his teammate Sergio Perez on Sunday.

Perez’s second win of the season saw him finish 7.6 seconds ahead of Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, with Leclerc’s teammate Carlos Sainz Jr. in third place.

Perez was investigated for a potential safety car infringement but still kept the win after a 5-second time penalty for dropping too far back after being warned.

Verstappen had won the past five races but needed to win here and finish 22 points ahead of Leclerc to be crowned champion for a second straight season. That could happen next weekend at the Japanese GP.

Verstappen made a mistake after the second safety car restart, following AlphaTauri driver Yuki Tsunoda’s crash on Lap 36. When Verstappen tried to overtake Lando Norris’ McLaren, he locked his tires and needed to pit again.

Leclerc started from pole position with Verstappen going from eighth after a team blunder in qualifying.

The race start was delayed by more than an hour to clear water off the Marina Bay Circuit track following heavy rainfall. Drivers had to finish the 61-lap race within a two-hour window; 59 laps were completed.

Tricky conditions saw the virtual safety car deployed three times and DRS was allowed with about 30 minutes remaining.

Perez made a good start and jumped past Leclerc while Verstappen dropped several places. The first safety car was on Lap 8 when Zhou Guanyu’s Alfa Romeo was cut off by Nicholas Latifi’s Williams.

Perez got away cleanly at the restart, while Verstappen climbed into seventh behind Fernando Alonso – whose 350th F1 race ended disappointingly when his engine failed on Lap 21, bringing out the first VSC.

With the track still damp, drivers decided against changing to quicker tires – apart from Mercedes’ George Russell, who struggled for grip.

Hamilton made a rare mistake on Lap 33 and thudded into the crash barrier. Soon after, the leading drivers changed tires in a flurry of stops. They did so just before the safety car was deployed again following Tsunoda’s error.

Verstappen overtook Sebastian Vettel’s Aston Martin right at the end for seventh place.