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Mark Martin Victorious at NASCAR Chase Race #1

Veteran driver Mark Martin managed to keep Juan Pablo Montoya at bay and achieved his career-best fifth win of the 2009 season at the first NASCAR Chase Race in New Hampshire.


There are some things in life that get better with age, and 50 year old NASCAR driver Mark Martin is (literally) living proof of this adage. Martin is arguably having the best year of his long and successful racing career, and the 2009 season seems to get better for Martin along the way. If you need proof, look no further than yesterday's thrilling victory at the first installment of the NASCAR Chase for the Cup at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

The Sylvania 300 kicked off what many consider the "playoffs" of NASCAR, and it was one of the most exciting I've ever seen. At the 1:18 mark in this video, Dale Earnhardt Jr. catches some bad luck as he crashes into the wall and spins around, effectively making him a non-factor in the race. But this race basically belonged to Martin, who was the number one seed in the race and never seemed far from the lead. Toward the last handful of laps, Martin's Chevy goes nose-to-nose with young NASCAR whipper-snapper Juan Pablo Montoya. But in the end, Martin got the checkered flag, followed by Denny Hamlin in 2nd place and Montoya taking 3rd (with Montoya doing some sour-grapes trash talking at the end of this clip). You can't help but root for Martin, and it'll be interesting to see how he does throughout the rest of the Chase race series.