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Mark Martin-JGR deal falls through

Mark Martin will replace Denny Hamlin in the Joe Gibbs Racing #11 for one race only, with Brian Vickers taking over the seat for the rest of Hamlin's absence.
Joe Gibbs Racing has been forced to reverse its previously announced plan to put veteran Cup racer Mark Martin in their #11 Cup car as a replacement for the injured Denny Hamlin.

The JGR team had originally announced the deal late on Thursday, but on Friday evening was forced to issue a new press release admitting that the previous statement had been "premature", and that Martin would actually only fill in for Hamlin at the next scheduled event at Martinsville Speedway on April 7.

"We were a bit premature in determining Mark's status past Martinsville," said JGR president JD Gibbs of the apparent collapse of the deal to borrow Martin from Michael Waltrip Racing.

"For some reason, before we got it all figured out, a press release was put out," team owner-driver Michael Waltrip said later.

Instead JGR will now turn to their current Nationwide Series regular driver Brian Vickers to take over the #11 post-Martinsville, the team revealed.

"We're real happy to have the opportunity to get Brian in our Cup cars and with him driving Nationwide for us we think we have some continuity there that is beneficial," said Gibbs. "The good thing for us is that we have drivers the calibre of Mark and Brian to help fill in until Denny comes back."

The situation regarding Martin's status in the #11 had been thrown into confusion a few hours earlier, when MWR - Martin's regular Cup team - issued a statement bluntly contradicting Thursday's JGR announcement about a longer-term secondment of the 31-season veteran.

"Michael Waltrip Racing announced today that Mark Martin will fill in for injured Joe Gibbs Racing driver Denny Hamlin in the #11 Toyota Camry next weekend at Martinsville Speedway," the MWR press release read, before going on to state unequivocally: "Martin will return to the #55 Aaron's Dream Machine Toyota Camry at Texas Motor Speedway on April 13 and resume his previously scheduled run of events with MWR for the remainder of the 2013 NASCAR Sprint cup season."

It's not clear why JGR's hoped-for longer-term deal for Martin's services didn't work out. It's possible that the sponsors for the #55 car, US retailer Aaron's, did not wish to sign off on a change of driver; or it could be that either JGR or MWR were unhappy about sharing set-up secrets with a driver working for a potential major rival team in the Championship Chase play-offs.



Related Pictures

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Brian Vickers at New Hampshire - September 2012 (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Brian Vickers at Bristol - March 2012 (Photo Credit: Jared Tilton/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Brian Vickers with team owner Michael Waltrip at Martinsville - March 2012 (Photo Credit: Tyler Barrick/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Brian Vickers at Martinsville - October 2012 (Photo Credit: Rainier Ehrhardt/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Denny Hamlin and Darian Grubb, the crew chief of the #11 Joe Gibb Racing Toyota, consult in the garage area during testing at Charlotte Motor Speedway. (Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images for NASCAR)
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Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet SS, races to win Sunday, July 27, 2014 the Brickyard 400 Nascar Sprint Cup race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Indiana. Gordon, who leads the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings, has won at the Brickyard a record 5 times, the first one in 1994. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet SS, celebrates his win Sunday, July 27, 2014 of the Brickyard 400 Nascar Sprint Cup race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Indiana. Gordon, who leads the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings, has won at the Brickyard a record 5 times, the first one in 1994. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet SS, kisses the Brick after his win Sunday, July 27, 2014 of the Brickyard 400 Nascar Sprint Cup race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Indiana. Gordon, who leads the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings, has won at the Brickyard a record 5 times, the first one in 1994. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet, races the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Crown Royal Presents The John Wayne Walding 400 at the Brickyard Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 27, 2014 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/NASCAR via Getty Images)
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Ty Dillon, driver of the #3 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series Lilly Diabetes 250 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 26, 2014 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/NASCAR via Getty Images)
The Richard Childress Racing #3 Chevrolet Nationwide Series car driven by Ty Dillon. (Photo Credit: Getty Images for NASCAR)
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Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet SS, qualified 2nd fastest Saturday, July 26, 2014 for Sunday`s Brickyard 400 Nascar Sprint Cup race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Indiana. Next to him on the front row will be pole winner Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
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lynnN

March 31, 2013 11:22 PM

@need forspeed, I agree with you but it is about the sponsers money. Sponsers signed on for martin to drive the #55 for them and that is what they expect and not someone else, it is also about commitment



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