In the Pits- MB2
Mark Martin headlines MB2 Motorsports’ 2007 program
Veteran driver to co-pilot U.S. Army Chevy with Regan Smith
MB2 Motorsports has announced that NASCAR icon Mark Martin and rookie Regan Smith will co-drive the team’s No. 01 U.S. Army Chevrolet during the 2007 Nextel Cup season.
Joe Nemechek, current driver of the Army Chevy, will pilot a third MB2 entry in 2007 that will carry the number 13; the sponsorship will be announced at a later date. Sterling Marlin will continue to drive the No. 14 MB2 Chevrolet.
Martin, who will be leaving his longtime ride with Roush Racing after the 2006 season, signed a multiyear contract with MB2. The agreement calls for Martin to drive the 01 Army car in 20 Nextel Cup races in 2007 plus the Bud Shootout (Daytona, Feb. 10) and the Nextel All Star Challenge (Charlotte, May 19). Martin’s first points race will be the Daytona 500, Feb. 18.
Smith will drive the Army car in the remaining 16 Cup point races and also drive an MB2 car in the NASCAR Busch Series.
Along with driving in 22 races in 2007, Martin’s extended role with MB2 will be as a mentor to the 23-year-old Smith and to MB2’s development drivers.
“Our goal at MB2 is to reach a new level, and with Mark joining our organization, it not only elevates our presence, but his knowledge and credibility will be a viable asset to all of our race teams,” explained team owner Bobby Ginn.
“While Mark brings a wealth of experience to MB2, we are also thrilled with the acquisition of Regan,” Ginn added. “He’s eager, talented and will be groomed by one of NASCAR’s greatest drivers of all time.”
Martin, who is currently in the Chase for the Nextel Cup championship points battle, feels his new role with MB2 offers him an excellent opportunity for doing what he enjoys most and that is to compete as a driver and serve as a mentor.
“Joining MB2 is a win-win situation for me,” said Martin, a native of Batesville, AR. “I not only get to drive, but I also get to teach and I love doing both. I have had a great 19 years with Roush Racing. It was a difficult decision to move on, but right now I welcome the opportunity to drive the U.S. Army car and represent our brave soldiers who are fighting the global war on terrorism.”
“This is an exciting time for me,” said Smith. “Driving an Army-sponsored car in Nextel Cup competition with Mark Martin as your coach is an incredible opportunity for me. I’m going to listen well and take advantage of what has been presented to me. I am ready to give it all I have in both Cup and Busch.”
Smith has been competing in the Busch Series this season, driving the No. 35 car for Team Rensi Motorsports. In his new MB2 Busch ride for 2007, Smith is expected to compete full time in the series.
“Mark Martin is one of NASCAR’s greatest competitors, and having him come on board will greatly enhance and accelerate our development,” said Jay Frye, MB2’s CEO and general manager. “This is definitely a red-letter day in MB2’s 10-year history. We have the best of both worlds with Mark and Regan—a Hall of Famer, who will work closely with a talented and aggressive young driver.”
Frye also indicated that Ryan Pemberton will continue as crew chief for the Army car in 2007.
Since his first Cup ride in 1981, Martin has totaled 667 starts, 35 wins, 234 top fives, 372 top 10s, 41 poles and more than $57 million in career earnings. He has finished second four times in the NASCAR Cup final point standings—in 1990, 1994, 1998 and 2002.
Martin, at 47, is one of only three NASCAR Nextel drivers who have made the Chase each season since the championship format began in 2004.
It has also been announced that Kraig Kinser and Jesus Hernandez will continue with their MB2 developmental programs in 2007. Kinser’s schedule will include NASCAR Craftsman Truck, Busch and Cup races. Hernandez will continue to run the late model series as well as selected ARCA and Truck races.
Mark Martin announces that he will race in 22 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series races for MB2 Motorsports in 2007.