Mark Martin struggles in first outing for Stewart-Haas Racing

BRISTOL, TN - AUGUST 24:  Mark Martin, driver of the #14 Bass Pro Shops / Mobil 1 Chevrolet, pits during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 53rd Annual IRWIN Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 24, 2013 in Bristol, Tennessee.  (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

BRISTOL, TN – AUGUST 24: Mark Martin, driver of the #14 Bass Pro Shops / Mobil 1 Chevrolet, pits during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 53rd Annual IRWIN Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 24, 2013 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

Mark Martin made his 871st career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series start at Bristol Motor Speedway Saturday night.  It wasn’t something he expected to do when the week started.

Martin in a part time role at Michael Waltrip Racing was called on to fill in for the injured Tony Stewart at Stewart-Haas Racing.  Stewart is out for the rest of the season with a broken leg caused in a crash while racing sprint cars in Iowa last month. The team needed an experienced driver to fill in for Stewart and the attention turned to veteran Martin. It wasn’t an easy task, however. Martin had obligations with sponsors at MWR and was racing Toyota’s. After some no doubt extensive negotiations behind the scenes, Martin headed to Bristol and his first start for Stewart-Haas.

The night didn’t go as well as hoped.  After starting 11th, Martin began to fade falling back as far as 32nd at one point. MORE>>>

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