Batesville, Ark. — The 10th annual Mark Martin Fan Appreciation Days take place Friday and Saturday, May 2-3, at Mark Martin Ford-Kia, 1601 Batesville Blvd. (Hwy. 167), Batesville.
Friday will be a day of family fun with bouncy houses, a Ferris Wheel, race cars, food, concessions and more. No racers will be there Friday.
NASCAR’s Mark Martin, Danica Patrick and Buddy Baker will be on hand Saturday. Mark will be signing autographs off and on all day Saturday. No wristbands will be required.
Buddy Baker will be signing autographs starting at about 11 a.m. to those holding wristbands. There will be 250 wristbands each for Baker and Patrick given out Saturday morning, first come first serve.
Buddy Baker, nicknamed “Leadfoot,” won at Talladega four times (twice in 1975, 1976, and 1980), Charlotte four times (1967, 1968, 1972, and 1973), Darlington twice (1970 and 1971), and Daytona twice (1980 and 1983). At Talladega in 1970, Buddy became the first driver to race over 200 mph on a closed course. Since retiring Baker has been a television commentator for TNN Motorsports, runs a racing school with his brother in Rockingham, NC, and test cars for the Penske Racing Team.
Danica Patrick, who placed third in the 2009 Indianapolis 500 (the highest finish ever by a woman), will be signing autographs starting at about 2:30 p.m.
She drives the #10 GoDaddy.com car for Stewart-Haas Racing in the Sprint Cup series. Before racing in NASCAR’s Nationwide Series in 2012, she ran in the IRL series starting in 2005 winning the 2008 Indy Japan 300 and placing third in the 2009 Indianapolis 500.
A question-and-answer session with all three drivers will follow the autograph sessions in the service department.
The Mark Martin Museum will be open throughout both days, and Mark Martin merchandise will be available for sale.
Martin, who won 40 Sprint Cup races in 1989 through 2013 and has been described by ESPN as “the best driver to never win a championship,” in 2014 is a consultant for Stewart-Haas Racing and at this point is not scheduled to race this year. As part of his consultant role Martin will offer help and advice to Danica Patrick, but he insists he would not be her “coach.” She doesn’t need one, he says.
Saturday will be a great day for racing fans. Be there!