Fifty-year-old Mark Martin wins NASCAR race

On this day in 2009, driver Mark Martin wins the Subway Fresh Fit 500 at the Phoenix International Speedway in Avondale, Arizona, and becomes the first 50-year-old to claim victory at a National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) Sprint Cup race since Morgan Shepherd did so at a race in Atlanta in 1993. Besides Martin and Shepherd, only two other drivers age 50 or older have won Sprint Cup events.

Mark Martin was born on January 9, 1959, in Batesville, Arkansas, and starting racing cars as a teenager. After winning the American Speed Association (ASA) championship in 1978, 1979 and 1980, Martin began his NASCAR Winston Cup (later known as the Sprint Cup) career in 1981. He had several seasons of moderate success then returned to ASA racing, winning another championship in 1986. In 1989, at the North Carolina Motor Speedway, Martin collected his first Winston Cup victory. He would go on to win more than 35 Cup races in the decades ahead and come in second in the overall Sprint Cup Series point standings four times, in 1990, 1994, 1998 and 2002. Martin also collected five International Race of Champions (IROC) titles, in 1994, 1996, 1997, 1998 and 2005. (IROC, which went out of business in 2008, was meant to be a pure test of a driver’s ability, as competitors drove identical stock cars prepped by a single crew of mechanics.) Among Martin’s other accomplishments are the most victories (47) in NASCAR’s secondary Busch series.

Standing beside Martin in the 50-and-up winner’s circle is Bobby Allison, who in 1988 won his fourth Daytona 500 at the age of 50 (his son Davey finished the 200-lap, 500-mile race in second place). Bobby Allison, who was born on December 3, 1937, in Florida, drove in his first Daytona 500 in 1961 and went on to win the race in 1978 and 1982, in addition to his 1988 victory. (The youngest driver to claim victory at the Daytona 500 is Jeff Gordon, who did so in 1997 at the age of 25.) The oldest driver to win a Cup race is Harry Gant, who was born on January 10, 1940, and in 1992, at the age of 52, won the Champion Spark Plug 400 at the Michigan International Speedway.

FACT CHECK: We strive for accuracy and fairness. But if you see something that doesn't look right, click here to contact us!


Mt. Everest sees its single deadliest day

On this day in 2014, 16 Nepali mountaineering guides, most of them ethnic Sherpas, are killed by an avalanche on Mt. Everest, the Earth’s highest mountain. It was the single deadliest accident in the history of the Himalayan peak, which rises more than 29,000 feet above sea level more

Journalist Ernie Pyle killed

During World War II, journalist Ernie Pyle, America’s most popular war correspondent, is killed by Japanese machine-gun fire on the island of Ie Shima in the Pacific. Pyle, born in Dana, Indiana, first began writing a column for the Scripps-Howard newspaper chain in 1935. more

Doolittle leads air raid on Tokyo

On this day in 1942, 16 American B-25 bombers, launched from the aircraft carrier USS Hornet 650 miles east of Japan and commanded by Lieutenant Colonel James H. Doolittle, attack the Japanese mainland. The now-famous Tokyo Raid did little real damage to Japan (wartime Premier more

Joan Benoit wins Boston Marathon

Joan Benoit wins her second Boston Marathon in the women’s division with a time of 2:22:43 on April 18, 1983. The following year, she went on to win the first-ever women’s marathon at the Summer Olympic Games in Los Angeles and became the first person to win Boston as well as more

San Francisco earthquake

A devastating earthquake begins to shake the city of San Francisco in the morning hours of this day in 1906. The first of two vicious tremors shook San Francisco at 5:13 a.m., and a second followed not long after. The quake was powerful enough to be recorded thousands of miles more

Missouri is ravaged by tornadoes

Missouri is hit by a string of deadly tornadoes on this day in 1880. Statewide, 151 people were killed by the twisters, including 99 in the town of Marshfield. The first tornado struck at about 4:30 p.m. in Springfield, Missouri, where seven people lost their lives. It then more

The Red Brigade terrorizes Italy

On this day in 1974, Italian prosecutor Mario Sossi is kidnapped by the Red Brigades. It was the first time that the left-wing terrorist group had directly struck the Italian government, marking the beginning of tensions that lasted for 10 years. The Red Brigades were founded by more