HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. – Joe Gibbs Racing announces today that Mark Martin will drive the No. 11 FedEx Toyota Camry in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series while Denny Hamlin recovers from an L1 Compression Fracture suffered during an accident on March 24 at Auto Club Speedway.
“We’ve been real fortunate to have never been in this situation with the need to find someone to fill in for an injured driver,” said J.D. Gibbs, president of Joe Gibbs Racing. “A lot goes into a decision like this but we are really pleased to have someone of the character and caliber of Mark Martin to fill in while Denny is out. Obviously we’re not exactly sure how long that is going to take, but Mark’s career speaks for itself and our team knows it will have the opportunity to compete for a win every week.”
Martin will make his first start for JGR in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at Martinsville Speedway on Sunday, April 7. Martin has made one previous appearance for JGR when he started in the NASCAR Nationwide Series last March at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and finished second.
Martin has one of the most distinguished careers in NASCAR history having made his first Sprint Cup Series start in 1981. Over his 31 years in the sport he has made 858 starts in the Sprint Cup Series and compiled 40 wins, 271 top-five and 449 top-ten finishes. He has earned 56 pole awards as well. He also has 49 career wins in the NASCAR Nationwide Series.
“I’m happy to have this opportunity to help out JGR, FedEx and Denny,” said Martin. “Hopefully I can keep those guys up front and compete for wins while Denny heals up.”
In 48 career starts at Martinsville Speedway Martin has earned two wins, 12 top-five and 25 top-ten finishes along with two poles. He has a career average finish of 13.3 at the famed short track known as the paperclip.
“I just hate not being able to be in the car right now, but I really appreciate Mark being able to fill in for me,” said Hamlin. “Like everyone in NASCAR, I have a tremendous amount of respect for Mark and I know he will keep that FedEx Camry up front until I get back behind the wheel.”