Even casual NASCAR fans know the name Mark Martin. But his name was almost introduced to the masses yesterday after a crash sent him careening into a wall. And just wait until you see how it happened and how lucky Martin is to be alive.
How bad was it? Brad Keselowski was in the middle of a news conference after his second-place finish Sunday in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race when he became distracted by a replay on TV.
It was Mark Martin's car slamming violently into the end of a short, narrow barrier on pit road during the first half of the race.
"Whoa. Damn," Keselowski said, stopping in the middle of an answer to a reporter's question. "That's the first time I'd seen that. Jeez. My God."
Martin's car was essentially impaled by the end of the wall just behind where the driver sits. And while Martin walked away, the crash raises questions about whether that spot - a gap in the barrier on pit road that leaves the edge of the wall exposed - creates a safety risk.
Watch it below:
"Could have been a lot worse than it was," Keselowski said. "Over the course of time, we get complacent and think that we've hit all the buttons on the safety side. Then you see something like that. It shows why you have to never quit working at making these cars and tracks safer because that could have been a lot worse, whether it was for Mark or for the crew members or anybody."
MIS later released a statement.
"The safety of the drivers is paramount," a spokeswoman said. "So we will seek NASCAR's opinion and work with them on any recommendations they may have on how we can improve any part of the competition area - that includes pit road, pit wall, the track, anything competition-related."
Martin was the pole sitter and led most of the first 65 laps of the race - which ended abruptly for him.
"I was hoping that I was going to miss the pit wall completely and not tear the car up, but then I saw that the angle I was going that I was going to hit the end of pit wall," Martin said.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.