A TUMS MOMENT
(For each of the 36 races during the 2011 Sprint Cup season, TUMS will provide a glimpse of a previous event at that track, one that could easily be described as A TUMS Moment. This week, the focus is on Bristol Motor Speedway).
MISTAKE ON FINAL LAP COSTS MARK MARTIN A WIN AT BRISTOL
The date was April 9, 1994. Mark Martin started from the pole and was on cruise control most of the afternoon in the Goody’s 250 Nationwide Series (then Busch Series) race at Bristol Motor Speedway. Then the unthinkable happened.
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The race was slowed by the 10th caution with two laps remaining. The race ended under caution as that was before the era of the green-white-checkered finish. The white flag was displayed with Martin leading his 195th lap of the 250-lap event. When other drivers pulled alongside and waved to him along the backstretch, a normal gesture to the winner, Martin mistakenly thought the race was over and pulled off the track out of turn four and did not cross the start-finish line 300 yards away. The win went to David Green, who had already accepted what he thought was a second-place finish.
“I can’t believe anyone could be that stupid,” Martin said after the event. “I’ve been pulling for David Green to win really hard, but not like that. That’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever done and there’s nothing else I can say. I thought the race was over when the guys pulled up beside me waving. I thought it was over.” Now, that was a TUMS moment. For the record, Martin has 49 career wins in 232 Nationwide Series starts,the most victories in the series, which started in 1982.