Nascar racer Mark Martin was born on January 9, 1959 in Batesville Arkansas to Julian and Jackie Martin. He learned how to drive by an early age, with his father pressing the gas while Mark stood in the driver’s seat and steered them down back country dirt roads. By the fall of 1973 Mark had persuaded his father to build him a race car. On April 12, 1974 at the age 15 years old, Mark was driving a race car. He started out racing local quarter mile tracks where his first race was at a small dirt track in Locust Grove Missouri.
He won only his third race and went on to win that year’s Arkansas State Championship. In 1977 he skipped his high school graduation to go racing in Springfield Missouri. Mark began racing that year in the American Speed Association, a stock car racing series based in the Midwestern United States, along with Rusty Wallace, Dick Trickle, and Alan Kulwicki. Martin made his first attempt at the elite Nascar Winston Cup in 1981, with moderate success. He ran a full season in 1982 and attempted to win the Winston Cup Rookie of the Year. By 1983 his racing career had gone sour.
Having exhausted most of his personal resources the previous year, and suffering through a failed sponsorship, Mark was forced to sell his race team. He spent most of the next years bouncing from team to team. Mark Martin Ford was originally started out at 2605 Harrison Street in Batesville, but in 2006 it moved to a new location of 1601 Batesville Blvd because the business had out grown the old location. Mark Martin Ford is privately owned, and currently employees a staff of 47. Mark Martin is co-owners in his dealership with Lance Landers, who also owns other dealerships.
Mark and Lance took over ownership of Independence Ford, which is now Mark Martin Ford, on January 26 2004. Between the two of them, they have a 50/50 partnership in the dealership. Mark Martin Ford is not the only dealership that Mark has, but it is his largest. He also has a Chevrolet dealership in Melbourne Arkansas and a Chevrolet, Buick, GMC store in Ash Flat Arkansas, along with a Kia dealership in Batesville. When asked, why his Ford dealership was his largest, if it was because he previously raced cars for Ford or not, he responded by saying that Ford sells best in the area.
Since he is also a Nascar driver, Ford does not help promote the store for him. Mooney Starr says what motivated Mark Martin to get him in the business was that he and his dad had wanted to do this since the 1980’s. This was because they had seen the other Nacar drivers starting to do it and they saw it as something to do to occupy their time throughout the week when Mark Martin was not racing Nascar. His dad was going to go 45 percent, Mark was going to go the other 45 percent and they knew another person, Mooney Starr (who is now the general manager of Mark Martin Ford) and he was going to go the other 10 percent.
Shortly after all of this was being planned, Mark’s dad was killed in a plane crash and little was said about it after that. It was not until 2003 that Mark suggested to Mooney Starr to resurrect the idea. The two of them teamed up and opened up Mark Martin Ford on Harrison Street in Batesville Arkansas. Shortly after that had opened and they were running out of room was when Lance Landers five year non-compete was up on his Ford store. Mark then came to Lance with the idea of a merger. Now Mark, Lance and Mooney all have partnership in Mark Martin Ford. Mark and Lance share the bigger parts of the percentage.
When I asked Mooney Starr what Mark Martin’s plans were and if he might sell the dealership after he retires from racing, he replied that he thought Mark would intend to keep the dealership and plans on making about 10 custom limited edition Mark Martin cars a year, much like Ford does with the Roush Ford editions. I also asked Mooney Starr if the trademark name Mark Martin helps influence the sale of a vehicle, he said no. He says that it is all about customer service and price. However, Mark Martin Ford did just ship a car to Pennsylvania to a lady just so she could have the Mark Martin stick and license plate on her car.
Mark Martin Ford currently employees * Lance Landers: Co-owner * Mooney Starr- General Manger * Robbie Howard- Sales Manger * Tim Harris- Finance Manger * Mark White- Internet Sales Along with other various employees such as sales representatives, receptionist, mechanics, and other book keeping employees. As mentioned above, Mark Martin Ford currently has a staff of 47 employees. After all the many years of racing, Mark Martin wanted to bring his love for cars back to his home town and open a car dealership, much like many of the other Nascar drivers do with their personal lives.
Mark said, “Growing up, I couldn’t wait to get out of Batesville and go out and see what I could do. I went seeking fame and fortune, and I was fortunate to work with a lot of great people and have a lot of success. Now it’s time to bring all of that back home where it belongs to Batesville. It’s just an awesome thing to be able to bring back all of these cars and to trophies to the place where it all started and the place I consider home. We have a lot of stuff on display in the museum, and I hope that all of the fans will get a chance to come out and share in all of the memories with us.
We could have put the dealership anywhere, but I wanted to bring all of it home. It means a lot to me, and I’m excited to share what I’ve been lucky enough to experience with everyone. ” Mark Martin is now residing back in Batesville, Arkansas. Inside Mark Martin Ford is also the Mark Martin Racing Museum where you can see many of his racing cars, trophies, racing suits and other racing memorabilia. Some of the cars inside the museum are: * Number 6 Viagra car used to win the Coca-Cola 600 * 1989 Stroh’s Thunderbird * 1990 Folgers Thunderbird Number 60 Winn Dixie Bush car * 2005 car used to win fifth IROC Championship Since Mark now lives in Batesville he is at the store quiet frequently but only does special promotions a couple of times per year. These promotions include bringing in other Nascar drivers to sign autographs and such. A promotion for Mark Martin Ford can bring in as many as 10,000 people to the dealership to see the cars for sale, the museum, meet Mark Martin and/or any of Nascar driver he may bring in for the event. The 9th annual Mark Martin
Ford Fan Day is scheduled to be May 4, 2013 from 9 AM to 5 PM with Mark Martin; he will be bringing his #55 Aaron’s Dream Machine Toyota along with a special guest. A tent and stage area will be set up for a question and answer session with Mark Martin and the special guest, after the autograph session. Mark Martin Ford is located at 1601 Batesville Blvd in Batesville Arkansas. They are open Monday through Friday 8:00 am – 6:00 pm, Saturday 9:00 am- 5:00 pm and can be contacted via telephone at 800-566-4461 or view on the internet at WWW. MARKMARTINFORDMERCURY. COM