Twenty years after Harry Gant - at the tender age of 52 years, seven months, and six days - set the record for the oldest driver to win a top-level NASCAR race, 53-year-old Mark Martin is looking to eclipse that mark set by NASCAR's original ageless wonder in the same event Gant won two decades ago.
After starting from the pole in the Pure Michigan 400, Martin's No. 55 Toyota has led all 30 laps thus far at the Michigan International Speedway. Matt Kenseth, Martin's former teammate at Roush-Fenway Racing - and soon to depart the team himself - runs second, followed by Martin's current teammate at Michael Waltrip Racing Martin Truex Jr., Kasey Kahne, and Paul Menard.
Completing the top-10 in the race's early stages are Carl Edwards, in desperate need of a victory, Clint Bowyer in the third Waltrip-owned Toyota, Trevor Bayne in the famous Wood Brothers Ford, local favorite Brad Keselowski, and Jeff Gordon.
After starting from the rear of the field thanks to an engine change during Saturday's morning practice, Jimmie Johnson has already driven into the top-20 in his No. 48 Impala. Teammate Dale Earnhardt Jr., who crashed the same car he won with in June in the waning moments of the final practice Saturday afternoon, is shown in 26th.
There has been one caution flag thus far, for a spin on lap five by David Gilliland. GIlliland didn't hit anything, sliding harmlessly through the grass, and he has continued in the race.