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Martins Motorsports was an American stock car racing team that competed in the NASCAR Xfinity Series and Camping World Truck Series. The team was owned by Craig Martins, and primarily fielded entries for his son Tommy Joe. At various points, the team had partnerships with AM Racing, Faith Motorsports and Brandonbilt Motorsports. The team suspended operations on December 30, 2017, due to rising costs and little sponsorship.

Martins Motorsports
Owner(s)Craig Martins
SeriesXfinity Series
Camping World Truck Series
ManufacturerChevrolet
Opened2009
Closed2017
Career
DebutXfinity Series:
2014 Blue Jeans Go Green 200 (Phoenix)
Camping World Truck Series:
2009 AAA Insurance 200 (Lucas Oil Raceway)
Latest raceXfinity Series: 2014 Gardner Denver 200 (Road America)
Camping World Truck Series: 2017 JAG Metals 350 (Texas)
Races competedTotal: 42
Xfinty Series:11
Camping World Truck Series:29
ARCA racing :2
Drivers' ChampionshipsTotal: 0
Xfinity Series:0
Camping World Truck Series:0
Race victoriesTotal:0
Xfinity Series:0
Camping World Truck Series:0
Pole positionsTotal:0
Xfinity Series:0
Camping World Truck Series:0
ARCA racing:0

Contents

Xfinity SeriesEdit

Car No. 45 historyEdit

On April 14, 2017, the team announced a nine-race Xfinity slate for 2017[1] with Tommy Joe Martins,[2] car number 45[3] and sponsor Diamond Gusset Jean Co.,[4] starting with the spring race at Richmond and focusing primarily on short to intermediate tracks with the exception of the Indianapolis race.[5] After failing to qualify and withdrawing from the first two planned events, the No. 45's schedule was folded into a ride with B. J. McLeod Motorsports, which culminated with a career-best 11th place finish at Iowa for the driver.[6]

Car No. 67 historyEdit

This car was the team's secondary focus in their 2014 Nationwide Series (now Xfinity) foray, with Clay Greenfield behind the wheel at Daytona. However, he along with Willie Allen failed to qualify, making Martins Motorsports 0 for 2 in that race.[7] The car withdrew the next week after no driver was found to drive it. The team then took time off to prepare for the spring Bristol race, where Tommy Joe Martins crashed in qualifying and withdrew.[8] To recoup from that, the team did not return until Michigan, when Benny Gordon qualified the car but then switched to Martins when he failed to qualify the 76.[9]

Car No. 76 historyEdit

 
Tommy Joe Martins driving the No. 76 in the 2014 Gardner Denver 200 at Road America.

The primary focus in 2014, Nationwide veteran Willie Allen failed to qualify the 76 at Daytona and Bristol.[10] Tommy Joe Martins then took over the reins of what was left as the team's only entry after the demise of the 67, making eight races in the 76 and failing to qualify for four, including its last three attempts. The team primarily start and parked, but ran full races at higher-paying events like at Talladega and Charlotte.[11] The team's last attempt was at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.[12]

Camping World Truck SeriesEdit

Truck No. 42 historyEdit

The team debuted in 2011 at Lucas Oil Raceway with Tommy Joe Martins behind the wheel. The team returned at Iowa Speedway in 2017 with Matt Mills behind the wheel and additional races to be determined.[13] Though the car never hit the track that weekend, the scheme was included in the original version of NASCAR Heat 2. The additional races were in the team's No. 44 entry. Martins returned for the 2017 Jag Metals 350 but a possible suspension problem led to a wrecked truck in practice, and a blown right front tire three laps into the race ended Martins' weekend. The backup truck was loaned from fellow independent Mike Harmon.[14]

Truck No. 44 historyEdit

The first race for Martins Motorsports was in 2009, when Tommy Joe Martins ran a four race schedule, recording a best finish of 21st at Chicagoland.[15] The team and driver returned for one race as the No. 42 in 2011, finishing 33rd at Lucas Oil Raceway.[16] After taking all of 2015 off to recover from a failed Xfinity Series effort, the team returned in 2016 with Martins as the full-time driver except for a qualifying crash at Martinsville (spot sold to Austin Wayne Self),[17] Eldora (dirt racer J. R. Heffner),[18] and a DNQ at Homestead-Miami.[19]

On February 13, 2017, Martins Motorsports announced a partnership with another family Truck team, Brandonbilt Motorsports,[20] to put driver Brandon Brown in the 44 truck for "select races".[21] However, the operations of the 44 truck ceased with the 2017 Xfinity announcement except for Heffner again piloting the truck at Eldora.[22] After ceasing operations, owner points of the 44 truck were sold to Faith Motorsports. When that team ran into organizational trouble mid-season, Matt Mills drove the truck for a race at Kentucky but crashed out. The much-anticipated return of Heffner the following race[23] was derailed due to a blown engine early in the weekend, the entry never making it to the grid. After the Eldora race, the 44 became a joint-prepared effort between Martins and AM Racing.[14] That relationship lasted through the end of the season except for Faith and Ted Minor running a Las Vegas shooting paint scheme at Texas.[24][25]

ClosureEdit

Following reports two days earlier that longtime crew chief Kevin Eagle had left the team, primary driver and owner Tommy Joe Martins took to Twitter, Periscope and the media to announce the team's closure. The team had plans to compete in a full 2018 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series schedule; however, two drivers signed to drive on handshake deals failed to follow through, leaving the team's financial security in doubt.[26] Tommy Joe, commenting on the situation, noted the irony of the situation that the team had been founded as an underdog, family team and now had to rely on pay drivers to survive, the antithesis of what the team was founded on. Once those drivers with sponsors backed out, Martins said that his family was unwilling to take the $300,000 or $400,000 loss that the team took in 2017. At different points, he called the decision "hard" to give up on a dream, yet "easy" to make financially.[27] He also did not rule out a return to the Xfinity Series but the return did not seem likely at the time of closure.[26] Martins later disclosed that the team had approached Ford Performance to become a partner team but that the manufacturer turned the team down.

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Martins Motorsports Returns to NASCAR XFINITY Series". ESPN.com. Retrieved 2017-04-18.
  2. ^ "Martins Motorsports Announces Switch to XFINITY Series". Frontstretch. 2017-04-14. Retrieved 2017-04-18.
  3. ^ "Martins Motorsports Returns at Bristol – POPULAR SPEED". www.popularspeed.com. Retrieved 2017-04-18.
  4. ^ Staff, SPEED SPORT (2017-04-14). "Martins Motorsports Returning To XFINITY Series | SPEED SPORT". SPEED SPORT. Retrieved 2017-04-18.
  5. ^ Long, Dustin (2017-04-14). "Tommy Joe Martins moving from Truck to Xfinity Series". NASCAR Talk. Retrieved 2017-04-18.
  6. ^ "Eyes on XFINITY: Tommy Joe Martins Still Surviving in NASCAR". www.frontstretch.com. Retrieved 2017-12-31.
  7. ^ "02/22/2014 race: DRIVE4COPD 300 (NXS) - Racing-Reference.info". racing-reference.info. Retrieved 2017-04-18.
  8. ^ "03/15/2014 race: Drive to Stop Diabetes 300 (NXS) - Racing-Reference.info". racing-reference.info. Retrieved 2017-04-18.
  9. ^ "06/14/2014 race: Ollie's Bargain Outlet 250 (NXS) - Racing-Reference.info". racing-reference.info. Retrieved 2017-04-18.
  10. ^ "Driver Tommy Joe Martins 2014 NASCAR Nationwide Series Results - Racing-Reference.info". racing-reference.info. Retrieved 2017-04-18.
  11. ^ "Driver Tommy Joe Martins 2014 NASCAR Nationwide Series Results - Racing-Reference.info". racing-reference.info. Retrieved 2017-04-18.
  12. ^ "Martins Motorsports Making XFINITY Series Return". www.onpitroad.com. Retrieved 2017-04-18.
  13. ^ "Martins Motorsports returns to Truck Series competition with Matt Mills in Iowa". ESPN.com. Retrieved 2017-06-21.
  14. ^ a b "TRUCKS: Hard-luck Tommy Joe Martins' weekend a tale of two trucks". brock.lastcar.info. Retrieved 2017-12-31.
  15. ^ "Driver Tommy Joe Martins 2009 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Results - Racing-Reference.info". racing-reference.info. Retrieved 2017-04-18.
  16. ^ "Driver Tommy Joe Martins 2011 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Results - Racing-Reference.info". racing-reference.info. Retrieved 2017-04-18.
  17. ^ "Driver Austin Wayne Self 2016 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Results - Racing-Reference.info". racing-reference.info. Retrieved 2017-04-18.
  18. ^ "Driver J.R. Heffner 2016 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Results - Racing-Reference.info". racing-reference.info. Retrieved 2017-04-18.
  19. ^ "Driver Tommy Joe Martins 2016 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Results - Racing-Reference.info". racing-reference.info. Retrieved 2017-04-18.
  20. ^ "Martins Motorsports, Brandonbilt Motorsports Form Partnership – POPULAR SPEED". www.popularspeed.com. Retrieved 2017-04-18.
  21. ^ "Brandonbilt Motorsports, Martins Motorsports Combine For Select 2017 Races". Kickin' The Tires. 2017-02-13. Retrieved 2017-04-18.
  22. ^ "Fantasy Sports Breaking News - Rotoworld.com". www.rotoworld.com. Retrieved 2017-04-19.
  23. ^ "JR Heffner Heading Back To Eldora's Dirt Derby With High Hopes". Race Pro Weekly. 2017-07-14. Retrieved 2017-12-31.
  24. ^ "NASCAR Camping World Truck Series - Racing-Reference.info". racing-reference.info. Retrieved 2017-12-31.
  25. ^ "Minor, Faith Motorsports to run Vegas tribute at Texas". ESPN.com. Retrieved 2017-12-31.
  26. ^ a b "Martins Motorsports Closes Down Truck Series Team". www.frontstretch.com. Retrieved 2017-12-31.
  27. ^ Martins, Tommy Joe (2017-12-29). "Martins Motorsports Shutdown". Periscope. Retrieved 2017-12-31.