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The latest update as of June 23, 2010

Chris Martin   (1947 - 2010)   R.I.P.

Even though we knew it was coming, and soon, the news this morning of the passing of Chris Martin was still a shock. For those not familiar with his voluminous body of work, here's just a few of the highlights: his career started more than three decades ago at NHRA's National Dragster, continued with Drag Racing Online from the start of that internet drag racing magazine, and included one of the most statistically detailed books in the history of the sport, The Top Fuel Handbook.

Over the years, starting from the 1960's, he wrote for nearly everybody and was considered by his peers to be among the best in the business, able to combine a healthy dose of completely irreverent humour with copious amounts of hard facts and strong opinions to produce some of the best motorsport writing of his era. Ranked in the upper echelons inhabited by the likes of Bret Kepner, Cole Coonce, and Jeff Burk, among others, he was consistent in his output and views, despite a personal life that was well-known for an excess of excessiveness in all things weird and wonderful.

I, among many, many others am going to really miss his writing. I'll miss his sometimes completely over-the-top articles that left me chuckling and shaking my head in admiration for days aferward. I'll miss his ability to dig up facts thought long lost to the passage of time and turn them into a story so richly detailed that it literally came to life on the page. To know that his style and ability to turn words into magic has been stopped forever is going to leave a substantial void in me for a long time.

While the accolades and anecdotes from people who knew him will keep rolling onto the 'net for quite a while, Bret Kepner has put together a fine and fitting obituary that is posted at Drag Racing Online. Give it a read and then spend a few minutes reflecting on the all-too-soon passing of one of the truly unique individuals from a sport that seems to breed such characters.

Chris Martin. Gone too soon. Godspeed.

Here's the word of his passing, courtesy of his good friends at Drag Racing Online:

Chris Martin, who turned 63 on May 24, succumbed to diabetes, pancreatitis and liver failure early in the morning of Wednesday, June 23, 2010.

For Jeff’s Burk’s last words on Martin, go to Don’t play the bass notes on the piano for Little Chrissy

He is survived by his mother, two brothers and a sister. A celebration of his life will be held later. We will let you know when and where.

Rest easy, dear friend.

To see previous updates go to the What's Old page