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)
Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, practices for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 14, 2014 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, passes Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, to take the lead and win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford, pits during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, and team owner Tony Stewart celebrate winning in Victory Lane after the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Marcos Ambrose, driver of the #9 Stanley Ford, poses with his team before his last race, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet SS, celebrates his victory and the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship Sunday, November 16, 2014 winning the final NASCAR Sprint Cup race of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet SS finishes 2nd. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet SS, celebrates his victory and the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship Sunday, November 16, 2014 winning the final NASCAR Sprint Cup race of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet SS finishes 2nd. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet SS, celebrates his victory and the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship Sunday, November 16, 2014 winning the final NASCAR Sprint Cup race of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet SS finishes 2nd. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet SS, celebrates his victory and the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship Sunday, November 16, 2014 winning the final NASCAR Sprint Cup race of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet SS finishes 2nd. (Photo by Christa L Thomas/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet SS, celebrates his victory and the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship Sunday, November 16, 2014 winning the final NASCAR Sprint Cup race of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet SS finishes 2nd. (Photo by Garry Eller/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet, Miss Sprint Cup Kim Coon, Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford, and Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, pose for a photo prior to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)
Chase Elliott, driver of the #9 Napa Auto Parts Chevrolet, wins the EnjoyIllinois.com 300 race at Chicagoland Speedway on July 19, 2014 in Joliet, Illinois. (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Brian France, NASCAR President (Photo Credit: Rainier Ehrhardt/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 - 2014 Crash Media Group

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