Any still photo of Martin is at risk of coming out blurred. He fidgets and jiggles his foot through a two-hour conversation in his Batesville office. He wears dark jeans, blue-suede Adidas sneakers, a polo shirt and his iPhone—a hip look—but he doesn't try to hide his age. He embraces 50. His face is marked by deep lines that seem like a road map of where he has been and where he is going. He has placed second in the championship series four times, including a 26-point loss to Dale Earnhardt Sr. in 1990, an excruciating ending. Martin had been penalized 46 points that season for a minor mechanical violation. He was screwed, racing fans say. "I'm not going there," he says. "It didn't bother me because I thought there would be more [points titles]." It's not over, yet. It may take him an extra split second to react in a race, but his solutions to the situation are keener. He may have difficulty seeing the gauges on his dash without glasses, but he has an answer for that too. "I got a marker where 210 [mph] is, and then I know," he says. "I just make it easy. I'm working with it, you see?"
He is happy. Can't you see that?