DARLINGTON, S.C. — This weekend during the Bojangles’ Southern 500 Clint Bowyer’s No. 14 Ford will feature a throwback design that pays tribute to Mark Martin’s 1988-91 XFINITY Series Carolina Ford Dealers car. Friday, at Darlington Raceway, the two racers met with the media to discuss its significance.
Martin was clearly flattered, saying, “Man, it is really, really cool. It was so amazing when they pulled the cover off of it at the NASCAR Hall of Fame. The first thing I thought of was the setup that I ran in that old car, and how it was pretty much unbeatable at Darlington. Clint’s a man to take it to Victory Lane, but I don’t want to lose sight…”
At this point, Bowyer interrupted Martin and jokingly said, “By the way, we do have that setup in the car. I sure hope it was a good one.” To which Martin quickly replied, “You better change it.”
The genuine affection between the two drivers was immediately apparent. Martin went on to explain why this particular paint scheme means so much to him.
“I don’t want to lose sight of the fact that there are several things that are really important to me,” he said. “One is a friend of mine from Batesville, Arkansas decided he wanted to be a car owner and got started and built a late model and built an XFINITY car, and his name was Bill Davis. He was the owner of that car who went on to win the Daytona 500 and I think the Southern 500 as well. That’s really important to me because the history is what it’s all about and that’s something that is really special. I didn’t want to lose sight of that fact. The Carolina Ford Dealers was the first sponsor that I had an opportunity to really do a big marketing program, so I got a lot of experience doing TV and radio spots for the Carolina Ford Dealers and that really makes it cool to be on Clint’s car.
“And then, thirdly, I finished the last 13 races or so of my career in the 14 car subbing for Tony Stewart, so this makes it all pretty cool and, lastly, Clint Bowyer is one of the oldest school and coolest dudes in NASCAR today, so it’s pretty neat.”
The decision to run a Mark Martin paint scheme was an easy one for Bowyer.
“That’s what’s so special about this weekend in Darlington,” he explained, “being able to pay tribute to all of our heroes that paved the way for all of us to have this opportunity. Mark Martin, a teammate of mine back in 2012, one of the neatest things that ever happened in my career, and then just his story from that Midwestern kid that grew up beating up and down the road, making a name for himself in those late models that he just spoke about, the ASA Series, and then making the most of those opportunities and becoming a legend of this sport and a Hall of Famer. So to be able to pay tribute to him means a lot to me personally.”
The Bojangles’ Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway will wrap up the throwback weekend celebration Sunday evening at 6 p.m. ET on NBCSN.
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