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Can Mark Martin Catch Richard Petty On All-Time NASCAR Starts List?

On Sunday, Mark Martin will move into sole possession of No. 2 on the all-time NASCAR starts list – just 133 behind leader Richard Petty.

Martin trails Michael Waltrip by one start entering this weekend, but plans to do both the Nationwide and Sprint Cup races at Las Vegas, meaning he'll tie and surpass Waltrip.

Does it mean anything to the 52-year-old veteran?

"To give you my first response: No, that doesn't mean anything to me. But that's kind of shallow," Martin said Friday. "When I look back on it, I'll probably be proud that there were quite a few quality starts in there, and I'll probably be proud of the level of competition I brought to all those starts."

The longevity is special to Martin, too, he said – primarily because he didn't get his full-time start in NASCAR until he was 29. After he started in the Cup Series and won his first pole at 22 years old, he later lost his ride and was out of the sport for roughly five years.

"I'm not proud so much of the number of starts, but proud of the level I managed to bring to it," he said. "At this point in time, I'm just happy I can do what I love – and do it well."

After this weekend, Martin will have 797 Cup starts, 232 Nationwide starts and 23 Truck starts. Can he make 133 more starts after this week and surpass Petty's all-time record?

"That's quite a lot of starts," he said. "I'd say it's possible, but I haven't even thought about it. That's four more years of nearly full-time in some kind of NASCAR competition. So I don't know. I can't answer that question."

Martin noted that if there was any record-related accomplishment he wanted to pursue, it would be Kyle Busch surpassing his all-time Nationwide victories number (48). Busch currently has 44 Nationwide wins.

"(The starts record) wouldn't be one I would go after as much as Kyle coming after the all-time wins in Nationwide," Martin said. "That would be something that would drive me more. But I've done all I can do on that front right now."