Friday, November 4, 2011

Martin to Drive 00 for Michael Waltrip Racing

The news has become official: Mark Martin will drive the 00 for Michael Waltrip Racing in 2012.  The news was leaked earlier in the week, but until now, the details of the deal hadn't been known.  The deal puts Martin in the No. 00 car for 25 races in 2012; 24 points races and the All-Star Race.  Martin will make his MWR debut in the 2012 Daytona 500.

From left to right: Ken Butler, Mark Martin, and Michael Waltrip (photo courtesy
 Aaron's will sponsor Mark Martin in all 25 of his races, and 5 more races for Michael Waltrip.  Waltrip will race in the Budweiser Shootout, the other 3 restrictor plate races, and the race at Kentucky.  The deal will have Martin in the car for 25 races not only in 2012, but also 2013.  Aaron's also has an option to return to the car in 2014, in which Mark Martin will be the driver once again. Mark Martin said he had other options, but they were all "wait and see."

Mark Martin will now be teammates with Martin Truex Jr. and Clint Bowyer, whom Martin calls "two of the brightest stars in NASCAR."  The contract talks did not take long.  The contract has been worked on the past three weeks, and it was signed on Wednesday.  One thing many Martin fans were hoping for will not happen; Mark Martin will not race in the Nationwide Series or Truck Series.  Many believed that he could drive a truck for Kyle Busch Motorsports.  "I've got plenty to do and get to do what I really love to do," says Martin.

Mark Martin and Michael Waltrip during the announcement (photo courtesy
 As a Markaholic, I am very happy to see Mark Martin continuing to race for the next two, possibly three, years.  Michael Waltrip Racing statistically has not been a great team, but they have gone through an entire facelift in their driver lineup.  I am optimistic that Mark Martin could possibly win a race in a car owned by Michael Waltrip.  I think this is the end of Martin Watch: 2012, for now.  The page will still be up, and continue to check back; I will be linking to stories there in the coming days.

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