Mark Martin reflects on his IROC achievements as he heads to Lime Rock Park

NASCAR legend Mark Martin retired from racing in 2013, but he is getting back behind the wheel. On July 19-20, Martin will pay his first ever visit to Lime Rock Park in Lakeville, Conn., for the return of IROC as part of the SpeedTour All-Star Weekend.

While Martin, and other IROC legends such as Greg Biffle, Geoff Brabham and Danny Sullivan, among others, won’t actually be racing, he and they will be driving demonstration laps in an array of historic IROC machinery. It’s all part of a larger exhibition created by new IROC Series owners Ray Evernham and Rob Kaufman.

Martin will drive the 1995 Dodge Avenger that he drove in the final IROC round of that year’s IROC season and is now in his personal collection.


“It’s set up for oval track. I’m not going there to race. I’m going to Lime Rock to support and embrace the fans and support a series that I think is incredibly important, and that I would love to see come back,” says Martin. “The car hadn’t been started until about three weeks ago (May 2024), so over 30 years, I think.

“But she’s ready to go up there. I think there’s going to be over 20 cars. I would assume that they’d all be out there on the track at the same time,” Martin continues. “So, some of them going around there pretty fast and there’s going to be some of them going around there not as fast. I’m certainly not going to be turning right, very fast. I might turn left at a pretty good clip, but I’m not going to turn right very good because the set up hasn’t changed on it.”

Yet while driving any racecar, and most certainly one of that significance is special, there’s something else that Martin is looking forward to when he gets to Lime Rock Park.

“Signing autographs for all the fans,” he says emphatically.

The IROC Series means a great deal to Martin. His fondest memory of the series is simply the first call he received in 1989 inviting him to participate in the following season.

“It was an incredible honor to be invited, to be a part of such an incredible, worldwide group,” Martin recalls. “I got to race with Martin Brundle and Emerson Fittipaldi and all kinds of guys that I never would have got to race with. It was just a great experience being able to rub elbows with so many people from drag racing and dirt like Steve Kinser and so many great road racers.

“Al Unser, Jr and Dale Earnhardt were fierce competitors, and Junior gets lost in the shuffle sometimes. He’s not remembered for winning as many races as Dale Earnhardt did in IROC, which is pretty dang incredible. Granted, he only won two championships and Earnhardt won four. But Junior was incredible.”

While Martin is a NASCAR Hall of Famer, often described as among the best drivers that never won a championship, he is justifiably proud of his IROC record. As holder of the most championships with five and most race wins with 13, he bettered a long list of other racing heroes in equal equipment.

“I don’t like to toot my own horn but, you know, there are detractors out there that say, ‘well, Earnhardt would have had more, if he would have lived longer.’ Whatever. Earnhardt ran more races than I did. He participated in more seasons than I did. Earnhardt was older than me. He was there way before me. So, it’s a real feather in my cap,” he states. “To be able to race in cars that are so identically-prepared as much as possible and taking a random draw – you get the cars picked for you – starting nearly every race in the back because they were always reverse points was just a magical thing above and beyond any other racing in my career.”

Martin is also quick to counter any suggestion that IROC races were merely an exhibition run at 80%.

“Do you think Martin Brundle came from overseas to play around? A.J. Foyt?” he retorts. “You think that Al Unser Jr. would’ve got on a plane while he was at an IndyCar race on Saturday and flew to an IROC race somewhere across the country and then flew back to the IndyCar race for Sunday if it didn’t mean something? It was racers racing, and there ain’t no such thing as 80%.”

Don’t miss out this incredible opportunity to experience IROC again at Lime Rock Park along with slew of other racing headlined by the SpeedTour All-Star Race bringing together an unprecedented gathering of motorsport legends. The All-Star race will pair iconic drivers with competitors from the CUBE 3 Architecture TA2 series to compete as co-drivers in a 60-minute race.

Sixteen legends are already committed to race in a field that includes Daytona 500 and Indianapolis 500 champions, IROC winners and drivers who have stood atop the podium at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Nürburgring, and Daytona. For more information visit

Story originally appeared on Racer