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#700 career start for Martin: Mark Martin will make his 700th career Sprint Cup start this weekend when the green flag drops at California Speedway, becoming only the 13th driver in NASCAR history to reach the milestone. The Principal Financial Group will serve as the sponsor of the #8 Chevrolet and will feature a paint scheme that showcases a special 700th-start logo in tribute to Martin's accomplishments. Martin started his first Cup race on April 5, 1981 at North Wilkesboro Speedway. He started fifth and finished 27th. During pre-race ceremonies at California Speedway, the Principal Financial Group and DEI will present Martin with a commemorative green flag emblazoned with the same 700th start logo that will appear on DEI's #8 Principal Financial Group Chevy. Following the race, this same green flag will be signed by Martin and auctioned on e-bay with proceeds benefitting the Dale Earnhardt Foundation. If Martin, who is running a partial schedule of 24 point races in 2008, stays on schedule he will end the year with 722 Cup starts.