Mark Martin has never won the Daytona 500. In fact, he's winless in 55 starts at the 2.5-mile superspeedway.
But Martin, 54, has come close. In the 2007 Daytona 500, he trailed Kevin Harvick to the finish line by 0.02sec. In Sunday's Daytona 500, he pushed Dale Earnhardt Jr. into second place on the final lap, hoping against hope that he'd have an opportunity to race for the win.
But Jimmie Johnson held the top spot, Earnhardt followed in second, and Martin rolled across the finish line in third. Close again – but no trophy.
"First of all, I feel extremely grateful for the opportunity," said Martin, who has said he won't return to Michael Waltrip Racing's No. 55 Toyota Camry next year. "There are a number of drivers who didn't get to have a shot at the Daytona 500, and I was at least close enough to have an outside shot.
"I've told you guys over and over again, I'm not bitter about the things I haven't accomplished. I'm pretty damn proud of the things I have. That's how I feel about… If things would have got crazy enough, maybe we could have got the big trophy."