So now we know. Mark Martin lives in Daytona Beach, Fla., an hour's drive up Interstate 95 to reach the coastal town of St. Augustine, where about 12,000 people reside and you can find more than 20 species of crocodile at the local zoo.
It is also where Ponce de Leon in 1513 claimed possession of the land and discovered a legendary spring that reputedly restores the youth of anyone who drinks from it.
I suppose, then, Martin makes weekly trips and bathes in the Fountain of Youth.
Either that, or he is just a supremely conditioned athlete with a vast amount of skill.
Yeah. That's probably it.
If you turn on the NASCAR Sprint Cup race from Dover, Del., on Sunday, Martin will make most within sight of age 50 feel more like a relic than anything at Stonehenge.
There can't be enough of these stories throughout sports history, of Tom Watson flirting with a British Open title at 59 and Jimmy Connors advancing to the U.S. Open semifinals at 39 and Jack Nicklaus winning his final major at 46 and Bill Shoemaker taking the Kentucky Derby at 54 and George Foreman capturing the heavyweight championship at 45.
Martin is doing the impossible. Oh, not for leading the 10-race Chase for the Sprint Cup with nine events remaining. He is a physical marvel at 50, in his 27th NASCAR season, and has finished second in the championship standings four times. He has a mind and body conditioned for competing with anyone who drives in circles for a living.
But it's no secret how those who follow NASCAR feel about their favorite drivers. The fans are beyond insane in a mostly productive way, a billboard-wearing faction that would no sooner welcome bad luck upon their idols as wear a T-shirt not splattered with corporate logos.
Martin, though, has caused many who live and die with others drivers' accomplishments to offer at least a small part of their rooting interest to his quest. It's mostly the age thing.
Why shouldn't it be?
The good news is, Dale Earnhardt Jr. (who continues to be NASCAR's most popular driver) only seems to make the Chase every other year now, so there are thousands upon thousands of fans without a driver running for the championship in 2009.
You figure most are in Martin's corner until the current Chase plays out.
"Mark is a freak about conditioning," said Mike Skinner, who owns a home near Martin in Daytona Beach and who, at 52, remains one of the top drivers in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, whose annual Las Vegas Motor Speedway event is tonight. "How many times have you heard, 'I wish I was 20 again and knew all that I know now'? Well, that's Mark at 50. He has all the physical tools of a younger man and all the experience of racing so many years.
"He knows when to hold 'em on the track and knows when to fold 'em. He knows when to race hard. Mark will lollygaggle around back in 35th place and then by the end of the race, here he comes. I'm a big fan of his.
"Obviously, I'd like to see a Camry win because I drive for Toyota. But if a Camry can't win, I want to see Mark win it."
Todd Bodine also will race in tonight's Las Vegas 350k and is certain things will sway more and more toward the older drivers in Cup now that NASCAR owners are growing sick and tired of young guns with no concern for the economic climate wrecking cars worth $100,000 out of sheer inexperience.
He thinks the time is near when those writing massive checks will choose drivers of advancing years over unruly youth. Martin, though, is simply a different breed.
Hendrick Motorsports didn't sign him through 2011 merely because his age might mean a few more TV spots or newspaper articles. It's the talent, is all.
"Mark will go down as one of the smartest drivers ever in NASCAR," said Bodine, 45. "He's a racer's racer. Very calculating. A great understanding of his place on the track. He gives up more than anyone out there during a race, but when it comes time to take, he knows how. Mark leading the Chase wouldn't surprise one driver out there."
Martin's lead is 35 points over three-time champion and Hendricks teammate Jimmie Johnson and Denny Hamlin. Nine races remain, a lifetime's worth of laps. Martin could win it. He also could crash Sunday, relinquish the top spot and never see it again.
But not winning the Chase won't be for a lack of ability and will have nothing to do with age.
"I don't know what you're supposed to feel like at 50, but I feel pretty good," Martin told reporters recently. "I feel really good about where I am right now because I don't feel desperate. I just feel lucky to have this tremendous opportunity."
Drinking from the Fountain of Youth is a nice memory for tourists, but Mark Martin instead will rely on what got him to this point.
There is nothing mythical about it.
Las Vegas Review-Journal sports columnist Ed Graney can be reached at email@example.com or 702-383-4618. He also can be heard weeknights from 11 p.m. to 1 a.m. on "The Sports Scribes" on KDWN-AM (720) and www.kdwn.com.