BRITT — Mark Noble was never much of a record keeper.
Fortunately, he had a fan from Day 1 who charted all of his success, dating back to 1973 when he began his racing career in a ’57 Chevy.
Now 60, Noble is nearing the end of a legendary racing career.
His win total sat at a staggering 609 when he pulled his No. 74 Modified into the pits Saturday at Hancock County Speedway for the Night 1,000 Stars.
“I still get wound up,” Noble said. “And I think the day you don’t get nervous and wound up is the day you don’t care.”
It’s clear one of the pillars of dirt racing in the Midwest still cares deeply for something he’s done since his teenage years.
He’s raced for 43 years and wheeled everything from a Hobby Stock, Modified, Late Model to a car in the ARCA series.
Along the way he won three IMCA Super Nationals titles, competed on the United States Modified Touring Series and even won a $25,000 Modified race.
There are many other accomplishments, too.
These days those wins get further apart but his spirit for auto racing hasn’t diminished.
“I love doing it. I just love it,” Noble said.
There was a time when Noble craved climbing the racing ladder.
He always wanted to reach NASCAR. When he drove in the ARCA Series—at one point competing against Matt Kenseth during his teenage years – he felt he was one set of eyeballs away from getting his big break.
“I just wanted to get seen and get a shot,” said Noble, who calls Blooming Prairie, Minnesota, home.
Although that shot never came, going back and racing tracks where it all began wasn’t a bad alternative.
Noble doesn’t have a win in 2016 – he has six runner-up finishes – and his schedule isn’t as demanding as it once was.
He races when he can these days and has a clear view of what it takes to last in an industry that can oftentimes be hard on drivers seeking longevity.
“It takes two things,” he said. “A lot of time, and it takes money. Everybody knows that. And if you want to be really good, you have to do it a lot. It’s just like any sport.”
For the past four to five years, Noble has followed a similar script. Those seasons, he thought, would be his last.
Yet, he’s still here, piloting a Modified against many drivers with better equipment and more resources. On Saturday, Noble was one of 66 Modified drivers chasing a Night of 1,000 Stars victory.
And for him, there was no other place he’d rather be than at a race track.
“I turned 60 on July 3, but I feel younger,” he said. “I said for the last few years this is my last year. I just can’t quit.”