(WOMR file photo)
As usual at this time of year, there is a lot of buzz filtering through the garage area about where some drivers might relocate to for the following year. This year is no exception! In fact, with the severely broken leg of Tony Stewart, there is an added intrigue as to who may be the fill-in driver for the remainder of the this season.
Mark Martin, who gives up his seat in the MWR #55 toyota at the end of this season, says he has been contacted by Stewart-Haas Racing to fill-in for Smoke. However, Martin says that this offer is very “complicated”!
“It’s more complicated than it looks at face value,” Martin said Friday about driving the #14 car while Stewart recovers from a broken leg suffered in a sprint car crash last week in Iowa.
Martin is in his last season driving for Michael Waltrip Racing, with his contract expiring after Homestead. Brian Vickers, who has shared driving duties with Martin the past two seasons, will drive Martin’s car full-time starting next year. That could make Martin available to drive Stewart’s car immediately, giving Vickers the chance to run the remaining races for MWR, in order to prepare for next season. Nevertheless, there are several roadblocks.
A key challenge is that Martin’s ride is with Toyota, and Stewart’s car is a Chevrolet. Both Martin’s car and Stewart’s car are battling to get into the Chase for the owners title. Additionally, there also are those pesky sponsor considerations, as well as other such contract intricacies. If Vickers were to take over for Martin, then he would need prior approval from Joe Gibbs Racing, since he’s running the Nationwide schedule for that team.
There are just as many questions about what Martin will do next season.
“The reason I haven’t talked about 2014 is because I felt like the landscape was probably going to change, and it’s starting to change rapidly,” he said. Martin says other competitors have asked if he’s going to share driving duties with Kyle Larson for Earnhardt Ganassi Racing next season, after the team decided not to retain Juan Pablo Montoya after this year. EGR has not made any announcement on who will drive that car next season.
Kyle Larson told Motor Racing Network on Friday that he’s focused on his Nationwide campaign. “I promise no one has talked to anyone on my side from Ganassi,” Martin said. “I know that its really churning out there. There hasn’t even been the first discussion about that. I’m as interested as you guys are about what Chip Ganassi has up his sleeve.”
One thing Martin can say for certain is that he won’t drive full-time in Cup next year. “I wouldn’t (run full-time) for the world,” he said. “I do love my schedule now.”(Motor Racing Network)
Over the next few weeks the whole EGR #42 driver situation for 2014 will, most likely, get much clearer.
WOMR is leaning heavily towards the idea of EGR making a big attempt at securing the knowledge, and the experience, of Mark Martin. The benefits are numerous for that organization. By doing that, hiring Martin on a part-time basis, Chip Ganassi’s operations would give the young phenom, Kyle Larson, someone to lean on, and someone that would impart a great wealth of knowledge to that organization, and to Larson, in particular!.
The garage rumors are heating up just as the temperatures are heating up! Stay tuned race fans. It will only get more exciting as the races click off this season!
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!