Mark Martin reminisces on friendship and rivalry with Dale Earnhardt Sr.

Mark Martin and Dale Earnhardt Sr.
Mark Martin and Dale Earnhardt Sr.

Former racer Mark Martin opened up about his bittersweet relationship with Dale Earnhardt on his son Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s podcast. Martin and 'the intimidator' were contemporaries in the NASCAR arena back in the day.

Dale Earnhardt is known for having raced rivals hard. The way he drove alongside Martin was no different. However, Martin feels Earnhardt Sr. used to race him hard just to test him. Nevertheless, Earnhardt also used to treat Martin with much respect off the track, the former racer shared on The Dale Jr. Download.

"When you raced out there with him (Dale Earnhardt Sr.) on the racetrack, he had a snarl," the 65-year-old NASCAR vet recalled. "But he treated me with respect on the track, especially off the racetrack. Now, we did have a couple of brush-ups, but he was testing me to see what I would do, how I would react."

Martin described to Earnhardt Jr. how Dale Senior used to push his buttons whenever they crossed paths on the track, before noting how the host's father hated drivers who 'whined' about on-track incidents.

"Boy, he did not like the ones that would whine about it," Martin said as Junior broke into laughter.

Mark Martin on when he stood up to Dale Earnhardt Sr.

In the 2018 debut episode of his Mark Martin Podcast, Martin recounted how he was forced to wreck Earnhardt Sr.'s car a week after Earnhardt caused him to crash during a practice session at Michigan.

As Martin used to drive all by himself during practice, Senior preferred messing with him until he retaliated. Earnhardt would wait for Martin, veer to his outside, and force Martin's number 6 Valvoline Ford Thunderbird to get aero-loose.

“I would go out to practice and try to run by myself and he would come out. He would wait for me," Martin shared. "He would come out right beside me and he would get on the outside of me. That’s when the cars were just starting to get aero loose with a car on the outside. He would mess with me and mess with me and mess with me."

Martin finally retaliated after Earnhardt wrecked him during a practice at Michigan International Speedway. The following week, Martin nudged Earnhardt's #3 Chevy at New Hampshire. But as Martin explained, it was "just playing".

"Well, I finally got tired of it at Michigan... So, the next weekend on Friday, first thing we rolled out at New Hampshire, I go out and here he is. He does the same thing, and I put the wheel on him in practice. He comes in after practice and he looks at his p.r. guy and he said, ‘I think Mark has had enough.’"

Today, Mark Martin leads a retired life away from motorsports, and spends time traveling across the country and visiting friends. However, he is still passionate about late-model races.

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