Mark Martin returns to track as pace car driver for Coca-Cola 600

(Photo by Todd Warshaw/Getty Images)
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Newly elected NASCAR Hall of Famer Mark Martin hasn’t been to a NASCAR race since the 2013 Sprint Cup finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. He’ll return in a big way Sunday at the Coca-Cola 600, serving as the race’s pace car driver prior to the green flag..

The honor will cap off a day for Martin that starts off in Indianapolis, where Martin will watch the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500. Then in his own version of “The Double,” the 2002 winner of the Coke 600 will fly to Charlotte to jump in the Toyota pace car.

“When the speedway called to ask me if I’d do it, my first reaction was ‘Hell, yeah!’” Martin said in a press release. “Originally I’d planned to be at Indy, but now I get to do the ‘double’ in a way, and I can say I’ll be driving at Charlotte. Charlotte Motor Speedway was always my favorite race track.”

In addition to his Coke 600 win, Martin won at Charlotte a total of four times in the Cup series and had 18 top fives. In the Xfinity Series, Martin earned another six wins at the 1.5-mile track.

“I was fortunate enough to have a lot of success there, including winning a Coke 600,” Martin said. “Bruton and Marcus (Smith) always put on a fabulous show, and this will be cool to lead the field to green in front of thousands of fans that I enjoyed racing for all those years.”