NASCAR »

Martin to stand in for injured Hamlin

Veteran Cup driver Mark Martin is to move into the Joe Gibbs Racing #11 Cup race seat while Denny Hamlin recovers from his compression fracture.
Mark Martin is the surprise choice of Joe Gibbs Racing to take over the race seat of the team's #11 Cup car for the next few weeks starting with Martinsville Speedway on April 7, while regular driver Denny Hamlin is sidelined with a compression fracture in his lower back following a crash at the end of Sunday's race at Fontana.

"We are really pleased to have someone of the character and calibre of Mark Martin to fill in while Denny is out," said JGR team president JD Gibbs on Thursday evening. "Mark's career speaks for itself and our team knows it will have the opportunity to compete for a win every week."

Martin has competed in NASCAR at the top level for 31 years ever since his d├ębut in 1981: his 858 race include 40 wins, 56 pole positions, 271 top fives and 449 top tens. He's also recorded 49 career wins in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, and has one start in that series for JGR last March at Las Vegas, in which he managed second place.

"A lot goes into a decision like this," continued Gibbs. "We've been real fortunate to have never been in this situation with the need to find someone to fill in for an injured driver."

"I'm happy to have this opportunity to help out JGR, FedEx and Denny," said Martin. "Hopefully I can keep those guys up front and compete for wins while Denny heals up."

Hamlin is estimated to be out of racing for the next six weeks, which covers five Cup races as the series takes a week off over Easter, but that depends on how quick his recovery actually proves to be.

"Obviously we're not exactly sure how long that is going to take," acknowledged Gibbs. "Really, we don't know how long it will take," he'd told reporters earlier in the day. "It's kind of up to Denny's body. He's been through it before. He's a tough dude. He's fighting to get back in that car as fast as he can."

Martin currently races a partial season of 26 races per year with the Michael Waltrip Racing squad, which like JGR is a Toyota-powered operation. Martin shares the #55 car with Brian Vickers and Michael Waltrip, and Vickers is expected to step up his involvement and helm the #55 while Martin is on secondment. That would suggest Vickers is very much in line to take over that car on a full-time basis when Martin finally decides to call time on his illustrious career.

There's a slight question mark over whether Martin will drive at Talladega on May 5 if Hamlin is still out: Martin specifically opted not to include the superspeedway in his MWR programme. Waltrip himself is due to drive the #55 that week, so Vickers could be moved over to the #11 for that outing unless Hamlin has returned by then.



Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota,comes to rest on pit road after a collision with Joey Logano (not pictured), driver of the #22 AAA Southern California Ford, during the final lap of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway on March 24, 2013 in Fontana, California. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Freight Toyota, walks down pit road during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway on March 15, 2013 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
Mark Martin at Las Vegas Motor Speedway for the Kobalt Tools 400. (Photo Credit: Cliff Hawkins/Getty Images)
Mark Martin at Auto Club Auto Club Speedway, Fontana in California - March 2013 (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images)
Mark Martin at Daytona International Speedway for the Preseason Thunder (Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet SS, finishes in ninth place racing with Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Farmer`s Insurance Chevrolet SS who finishes in eleventh place Sunday, March 29, 2015 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Martinsville Speedway in Ridgeway, Virginia. (Photo by Andrew Coppley/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John`s Chevrolet SS, finishes in eighth place Sunday, March 29, 2015 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Martinsville Speedway in Ridgeway, Virginia. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Danica Patrick, driver of the #10 TaxAct Chevrolet SS, finishes in 7th place Sunday, March 29, 2015 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Martinsville Speedway in Ridgeway, Virginia. (Photo by Andrew Coppley/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Martin Truex, Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Visser Precision Chevrolet SS, finishes in sixth place Sunday, March 29, 2015 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Martinsville Speedway in Ridgeway, Virginia. (Photo by Andrew Coppley/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway on March 29, 2015 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Rainier Ehrhardt/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway on March 29, 2015 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)
Paul Menard, driver of the #27 Pittsburgh Paints/Menards Chevrolet, Aric Almirola, driver of the #43 STP Ford, Greg Biffle, driver of the #16 Ortho Ford, Trevor Bayne, driver of the #6 AdvoCare Ford, and Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet, are involved in an on-track incident during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway on March 29, 2015 in Martinsville, Virginia.  (Photo Credit: Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Crew members work on the #25 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet, driven by Chase Elliott, after being involved in an on-track incident during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway on March 29, 2015 in Martinsville, Virginia.  (Photo Credit: Daniel Shirey/Getty Images)
Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway on March 29, 2015 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Nick Laham/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Ricky Stenhouse Jr., driver of the #17 Fastenal Ford, is involved in an on-track incident during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway on March 29, 2015 in Martinsville, Virginia.  (Photo Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, takes the chequered flag to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway on March 29, 2015 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Nick Laham/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #29 Cooper Standard Ford, poses in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Kroger 250 at Martinsville Speedway on March 28, 2015 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Daniel Shirey/Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #29 Cooper Standard Ford, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Kroger 250 at Martinsville Speedway on March 28, 2015 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Daniel Shirey/Getty Images)

Start the conversation - Add your comment

Please login or register before adding your comments.

Although the administrators and moderators of this website will attempt to keep all objectionable comments off these pages, it is impossible for us to review all messages. All messages express the views of the poster, and neither Crash Media Group nor Crash.Net will be held responsible for the content of any message. We do not vouch for or warrant the accuracy, completeness or usefulness of any message, and are not responsible for the contents of any message. If you find a message objectionable, please contact us and inform us of the problem or use the [report] function next to the offending post. Any message that does not conform with the policy of this service can be edited or removed with immediate effect.




© 1999 - 2015 Crash Media Group

The total or partial reproduction of text, photographs or illustrations is not permitted in any form.