NASCAR's Mark Martin Turns Mentor For Turner

Sandra MacWattersCorrespondent IJanuary 13, 2011

LOUDON, NH - SEPTEMBER 17:  Mark Martin, driver of the #5 GoDaddy.com Chevrolet, looks on during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on September 17, 2010 in Loudon, New Hampshire.  (Photo by Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Todd Warshaw/Getty Images

Mark Martin has wasted no time lining up his future after his final year with Hendrick Motorsports.  He is beginning this year by establishing an alignment with Turner Motorsports.

Turner Motorsports and Martin just announced he will drive this season in the Nationwide Series and Camping World Truck Series for the expanding team.

The respected driver with 40 Sprint Cup wins will be behind the wheel of the No. 32 Chevrolets in both series with Dollar General sponsorship.

Martin said, "I get to extend my relationship with Chevrolet and continue to have Hendrick horsepower under the hood which is really, really good."

Martin holds the record of 48 wins, the most in the second tier of NASCAR.  He has picked his favorite tracks with two of the five Nationwide races being at Las Vegas.

Martin joked, "I've got to get back to Victory Lane in the Dollar General car so I can keep Kyle [Busch] from breaking my Nationwide record."

With the guidance of crew chief, Trent Owens, Martin will run Nationwide races at Auto Club Speedway, Michigan International Speedway and Kentucky Speedway.  His two scheduled Camping World Truck Series races will be at Michigan International Speedway and Pocono Raceway.

Turner Motorsports is owned by Steve Turner, an executive with companies involved in oil and gas pipe drilling, but he knows racing inside out and has driven dirt tracks.

Turner has a tough work ethic, is very competitive and likes to win.  With the purchase of Braun Racing, he is establishing himself as a major player in NASCAR with four Nationwide teams in addition to his truck teams.

His sponsors include Great Clips, Monster Energy, Dollar General and others.  The stable of drivers include James Buescher, Brad Sweet, Justin Allgaier, Jason Leffler, Ricky Carmichael, Reed Sorenson and now Mark Martin.

Turner appears to be building a substantial operation that will eventually include one or more Cup teams.  He may be one to contend with the major owners at some point like JGR, RFR and HMS.

Sorenson and Leffler currently have experience in the top series of NASCAR.  Allgaier looks to be a prime candidate to move up to Cup at some point.

Martin will work as a mentor with these young drivers in the Nationwide series.  Should Turner develop a Cup program, it would hardly be a surprise to see Martin behind the wheel again in that series beyond the 2011 season.

Turner said, "We are thrilled to announce the addition of Mark Martin to our stable of drivers."

Turner added, "Mark shares my same passion for helping groom young talent and has expressed interest in helping us get our young drivers to the Cup level.  I can't think of a better mentor than Mark Martin."

As the 2011 season unfolds, Martin is embarking on a new adventure with crew chief, Lance McGrew, at Hendrick Motorsports.  How that plays out is anybody's guess, but hopefully they will prove to be a successful pairing.

Regardless of what happens in the Cup series this season, Martin has secured a niche job that should be fun and productive for him and for Turner.


The latest in the sports world, emailed daily.