Kevin Martin is in this week’s DragChamp Racer Spotlight. Learn all about this DragChamp Pro Member in his spotlight below!
SPRINGTOWN, TX – Kevin has been drag racing since 1996, accumulating over 25 years of experience in the sport. His racing journey began at the age of 8 when his dad brought home his first Junior Dragster, a day before his 8th birthday. Introduced to racing through his father, who enjoyed racing himself, driving a ’67 Fairlane and ’67 F100, Kevin developed a passion for racing that just can’t be stopped.
Learn more about Kevin below!
Kevin got his start like many in a Junior Dragster. After aging out of Juniors, he went on to mostly race the family roadster, which was set up as a Top Bulb car. Division 4 raced two separate Top Bulb classes: Super Pro and Pro. So, his him and his dad would each race one of the classes in it.
After acquiring an ’89 Mustang, they decided to build a dedicated non-electronics/ Footbrake car. Kevin’s father played a huge role in the build, handling the cage, suspension, and engine. Unfortunately, Kevin faced a setback when his father passed away in 2010, prompting a break from racing as he focused on finishing school. During this hiatus, his grandparents built a small shop for him to store his race cars in.
In 2016, Kevin completed the roadster’s engine build himself, overcoming challenges to get it running. In 2017, the Mustang unfortunately had to be sold to fund the necessary upgrades for the roadster. Despite the challenges and temporary setbacks, Kevin’s dedication to racing has been a constant throughout his career.
His Race Car
Kevin currently owns two race cars: a roadster and a Vega, with the Vega being a recent addition to his collection in July. The roadster, originally belonging to Tommy Phillips, has seen a few ownership changes with Kevin’s dad acquiring it in 2004. The last time Kevin drove the roadster, it featured a 383 Small Block Chevy with a Powerglide, Ford 9-inch rear end, 4-link suspension, a-arm front suspension, and a 2×3 frame rail. While it has ran 5.70s, last year it ran 6.20s.
As for his Vega, it now houses that same 383 engine and also ran 6.20s, weighing in at 3,005 pounds. This true back-half car has stock front suspension, aftermarket 5-lug brakes and slightly adjustable shocks. It still has the pitman arm steering and features a ladder bar rear suspension with a Ford 9-inch rear end.
Outside of Racing
When Kevin isn’t behind the wheel of his race car, he enjoys working on race cars and spending time with his family and pets. His favorite sport outside of racing is baseball and he likes to cheer on the Texas Rangers. For work, Kevin is a contractor at Backlot Cars. His favorite music artist is the band, The Gaslight Anthem and his all-time favorite movie the Back to the Future.
In Junior Dragsters, Kevin won the D4 ET finals in 1999, 2003, 2005, and 2006. In 2006, Kevin and his younger brother both shared one Junior Dragster and went on to both win their respective age groups at the NHRA Jr ET Finals.
Transitioning to big cars, he has earned several victories, with the height of his racing career being the 2020 season. In 2020, he claimed two $5K wins at the 3rd Bulb Throwdown while driving Eric Sandlin’s Luv. He also secured a runner-up finish and win at the Cowpasture Nationals. Two weeks later, he also won a shootout and the main race in the No Box category at CP Promotion’s Halloween race.
What’s on your bucket list, future goals, what do you hope to achieve?
Winning. The. Lottery. Like one of the big ones. Or just a couple million. That would help get things moving along better.
What is your favorite race car, and why?
I really like the ’63 corvette roadsters, that Undercover built. I also like the super stock/super mod Cavaliers and Sunfires.
Who has made the biggest impact on your racing success?
Initially it would be my dad, since he got me started in this whole thing. Not sure where all this energy and obsession would be focused if it wasn’t in racing.
Who do you look up to in the sport?
People who manage to win raffles and giveaways.
How do you support your racing, side hustle, sponsor, partner, etc.?
Racing would definitely be harder without Mandee helping me out. I raced for a few years by myself, and winning is fun, but it’s a lot more fun when you have someone to share that success with.
Who do you hate to see in the other lane, and why?
My friends’ kids. I really want to see them succeed and win races. But I also want myself to win races. And when I pair up with them, knowing that only one of us is coming back, it’s bittersweet. Especially in like round 2 or 3. In the later rounds, it’s more of not wanting to lose to the “rookie” I guess lol.
What’s the hardest part of drag racing?
Getting to the track. Paying the tab. Keeping all the tires and wheel bearings maintained, maintenance on the truck. Also, figuring out why the car won’t go straight, making changes that make it worse, changing things the other way and it makes it even worse.
What’s your most embarrassing moment in a race car?
I staged with the wrong dial-in multiple times while driving Erics Luv.
Are you superstitious? If so, what are they?
Sure. Um I absolutely have to stage first, if people try to rush me, I get really flustered and cant focus and always screw up. If someone dials me heads up, I have to change mine, if it’s too late, then I never win.
Do you love to win or hate to lose?
love to hate and win to lose
Which are you better at the starting line or the finish line?
Depends on the day. On the rare occasion that I’m doing both of them good, then it ends up being a really good day.
What are you saying to yourself just before you stage the car?
Make sure its pointed straight and it’s in low. Also, make sure the track is clear ahead.
What motivates you to continue racing?
What else would I do if not racing?
How often do you use a practice tree?
Sometimes I use it a lot. Currently, I haven’t touched it in a few months.
What is your daily driver?
2017 Toyota Corolla.
Where do you spend the most time on the internet?
On my phone. Usually at home.
What are you really good at?
Learning new things.
Name one thing most people don’t know about you?
Would you rather hang out with a crowd or have a quiet evening at home?
Both. Depends on the crowd.
Who would you like to thank, who helps you the most?
What is a piece of advice you’d give to an aspiring racer?
Be open to advice from anyone. But just because someone is more experienced, doesn’t mean that advice is going to be helpful to you or your situation.
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