The ultlmate driver coach

Mark Martin is bringing his talent and experience back to Roush Fenway Racing.

The ultlmate driver coach
Jack Roush Jr.
Jack Roush Jr.
Mark Martin, Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet
Jack Roush
Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Roush Fenway Racing Ford
Mark Martin, Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet
Mark Martin, Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet
Mark Martin, Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet
Carl Edwards with Jack Roush
Trevor Bayne, Wood Brothers Ford
Jack Roush Jr.

 He’s back.

And did we ever really doubt that Mark Martin and Jack Roush would not be reunited?

Martin, 55, was named Roush Fenway Racing’s driver development coach on Thursday.

“The thing that always stood out about Mark was his unmatched drive to win,” said Roush. “Mark put us on the map and I am pleased to have him as a part of our team again. Mark is not only a good friend but he’s also a fierce competitor and I truly admire his passion and dedication to racing.

I have no question that you will be able to see his influence on our young drivers.

Jack Roush on Mark Martin

“I have no question that you will be able to see his influence on our young drivers. He understands what it takes to win and to be able to do that on a consistent basis and he’ll, once again, be a great asset to have back within our organization.”

Still curious

Some of us are still wondering why Roush let Martin go in the first place. Arguably, Martin is the best driver Roush Fenway Racing ever had in its stable. He won 83 NASCAR races while under RFR’s roof – and finished second in the No. 6 Ford four times in nearly two decades.

No, he never won a championship, but Roush has accepted responsibility for that, too. In sports terms, this scenario is no different than a coach bringing back a former franchise player to work with the prospects.

Let’s face it; Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Trevor Bayne are nice guys but certainly not marquee drivers. After losing Carl Edwards, Roush Fenway Racing is in a rebuilding mode. Greg Biffle’s leadership skills have been well documented but one driver can’t do it alone.

While Martin’s chronic back issues preclude him from testing, his guidance and experience will be beneficial to the overall operation.

“I’m excited to return to Roush Fenway Racing, as it feels like I’m going home to where I belong,” Martin said in the release. “I was fortunate to help build this team from the beginning and it’s very humbling to be a part of Jack’s team again.

“When Jack first hired me in 1988 we didn’t talk about salary or benefits or perks, we talked about testing, tires and putting the right personnel into place to win on the track. That commitment is what stood out to me then and it’s still what stands out to me today.”

A second chance

Martin left the organization following the 2006 season and ran part-time with rookies Regan Smith and Aric Almirola at Ginn Racing until that folded and merged with DEI. After a season in the No. 8 Chevy, Martin replaced Casey Mears at Hendrick Motorsports in the No. 5 Chevy for the 2009 season.

Martin had undoubtedly the second most successful season of his career under the guidance of Alan Gustafson. While he won more races and posted better numbers in 1998, for Martin to compete at 50 against Jimmie Johnson in his prime with the same equipment was arguably the veteran and his best and final shot at a Sprint Cup championship.
 

The next chapter

In 2012, Martin went back to a part-time schedule at Michael Waltrip Racing. After Tony Stewart's injury last August, he signed on with Stewart-Haas Racing to sub for the injured driver. Martin was expected to stay on this season to test and work with Danica Patrick, but resgined this spring.

“I understand what it takes to succeed in this business and appreciate the hard work, dedication and focus required to compete at the highest level week in and week out,” Martin said. “We have a great crop of young drivers in Ricky and Trevor, as well as with the rookies Chris Buescher and Ryan Reed and of course the veteran leadership with Greg Biffle.

“It will be a key part of my job to help them develop their skills behind the wheel and get the most of their exceptional ability.”

Martin acknowledged that “nobody does a better job at developing young talent than Jack Roush.”

Let’s hope that is still the case. The organization’s future depends on it.

shares
comments
Code 3 Associates backing Stewart at Pocono

Previous article

Code 3 Associates backing Stewart at Pocono

Next article

Chase spots going fast, time is running out

Chase spots going fast, time is running out
Load comments
Why NASCAR's most resilient driver has landed on his feet at 23XI Prime

Why NASCAR's most resilient driver has landed on his feet at 23XI

In a career that has had many ups and downs, Kurt Busch has been written off many times before. But facing career uncertainty after the sale of Chip Ganassi's NASCAR team, the 2004 Cup champion has found a new berth at Denny Hamlin and Michael Jordan's 23XI organization - which underlines his enduring value

NASCAR Cup
Aug 31, 2021
From the archive: Dale Earnhardt’s final Autosport interview Prime

From the archive: Dale Earnhardt’s final Autosport interview

The death of Dale Earnhardt in the 2001 Daytona 500 shocked NASCAR to the core. At the Daytona 24 Hours, two weeks before his fatal accident, ‘The Intimidator’ shared his expectations of challenging for an eighth Cup title with JONATHAN INGRAM, in an article first published in the 15 February 2001 issue of Autosport magazine. Little did we know then what tragedy would unfold…

NASCAR Cup
Feb 18, 2021
The lasting NASCAR legacy after Dale Earnhardt’s death Prime

The lasting NASCAR legacy after Dale Earnhardt’s death

On February 18, 2001, seven-time NASCAR Cup champion Dale Earnhardt – the fearless ‘Intimidator’ – was in his element at Daytona International Speedway. While his own DEI team’s cars ran 1-2 towards the finish line, his famed #3 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet Monte Carlo was playing rear gunner to block any late runs from the chasing pack. As the cars tore through Turns 3 and 4 on that fateful final lap, Earnhardt maintained the strongarm tactics that encapsulated his persona… but his actions in those moments sadly proved to be his last.

NASCAR Cup
Feb 18, 2021
Inspired by Pitbull, the “revolution” sweeping through NASCAR Prime

Inspired by Pitbull, the “revolution” sweeping through NASCAR

The NASCAR Cup Series is changing. Whether it be the gradual morphing out the seasoned drivers of yesterday as the next generation step up, a radical calendar shake-up featuring more road courses than ever before and the prospect of an all-new car on the horizon, stock car racing’s highest level is nearing the end of a huge facelift.

NASCAR Cup
Feb 16, 2021
The NASCAR storylines to watch out for in 2021 Prime

The NASCAR storylines to watch out for in 2021

This weekend's Daytona 500 kickstarts a NASCAR Cup season that promises plenty of intrigue courtesy of new owners and a refreshed calendar. Here's what you need to know ahead of the new season…

NASCAR Cup
Feb 13, 2021
Why Kyle Larson can't blow his big shot at redemption Prime

Why Kyle Larson can't blow his big shot at redemption

From a disgraced NASCAR exile, Kyle Larson has been given a chance of redemption by the powerhouse Hendrick Motorsports squad. Effectively replacing seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson is no easy billing, but Larson has every intention of repaying the team's faith...

NASCAR Cup
Feb 11, 2021
Why Roger Penske is an American motorsport icon Prime

Why Roger Penske is an American motorsport icon

In this exclusive one-on-one interview, Roger Penske reveals the inner drive that has made him not only a hugely successful team owner and businessman but also the owner of Indianapolis Motor Speedway and IndyCar. He spoke to David Malsher-Lopez.

IndyCar
Dec 28, 2020
Why NASCAR's latest second-generation champion is just getting started Prime

Why NASCAR's latest second-generation champion is just getting started

Chase Elliott's late charge to the 2020 NASCAR Cup title defied predictions that it would be a Kevin Harvick versus Denny Hamlin showdown. While the two veterans are showing no signs of slowing down, Elliott's triumph was a window into NASCAR's future…

NASCAR Cup
Nov 18, 2020