INDIANAPOLIS — Newly NASCAR Hall of Fame inductee-elect Mark Martin isn’t even entered in either race, but he’ll be doing the proverbial motorsports “double” on Sunday.
Martin will be in Indianapolis for the start of the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500. A few hours after the green flag drops on the Greatest Spectacle In Racing, he’ll be on a plane headed for Charlotte to take in the Coca-Cola 600 that evening.
Actually, there’s a bit more to all that. Martin felt he had such little chance to be chosen for the Hall that he left his native Arkansas earlier this week to attend the 500.
“It was a bucket list sorta thing,” he said.
But then came Wednesday’s announcement that he had been elected to the NASCAR Hall of Fame Class of 2017 – while he was on the road headed to Indy, no less – and Martin’s travel plans suddenly got a lot more complicated.
He was in Indy on Thursday, attending Indianapolis 500 media day. He flies to Charlotte Friday afternoon, returns to Indy on Saturday, and then does the Indianapolis-Charlotte jaunt on Sunday.
“I was speechless, still not sure what to say, other than I’m surprised,” Martin said of his selection for the NASCAR Hall. “If I’d been voting, I’d have voted another way.
“But I’m humbled and honored and not only to be in this class because of the performance of the people in this class and the people, the persons they were. … I just feel really fortunate. It’s like icing on the cake, like the race you never won but always wanted to, and more.”
To further illustrate his total surprise at being chosen for the Hall, Martin quipped, “I did not expect it, or otherwise I wouldn’t have been in the motor home driving up here yesterday.
“I hadn’t been to (the Indy 500) in my lifetime, so now it appears I’m going to be doing the ‘double.’ I’m not driving, but I’m doing the ‘double’ anyway.”
Here’s a few posts from Martin’s Twitter account about his time at IMS on Thursday as well as his selection for the NASCAR Hall of Fame.