Former NASCAR Truck Series team Martins Motorsports will compete in the NASCAR Xfinity Series full time in 2020, with Tommy Joe Martins as the primary driver for the number #44 Chevrolet. Long time sponsor & family friend Rodney Riessen will join Craig Martins as co-owners of the Mooresville based organization.
“It’s so exciting,” driver Tommy Joe Martins said, “Extremely nerve wracking but also really exciting. We’ve learned so much over these last few years about this series & the business as a whole. I’ve improved a lot as a driver. Having Rodney [Riessen] as a partner in this thing is a game changer. He’s just as passionate about the success of this team as dad & I are.”
The 2020 campaign will mark a return to the national series level for Martins Motorsports after the team ceased operations in 2017 following a partial season in the NASCAR Truck Series with Martins, Austin Wayne Self, & Matt Mills as drivers. The team also attempted a full season effort in 2014, but shut down mid-season after a series of DNQ’s.
Martins has run part time in the Xfinity Series since 2017, running 46 total races for both BJ McLeod Motorsports & MBM Motorsports with a best finish of 11th at Iowa Speedway in 2017 for BJMM. Martins’ last race for MBM came at Phoenix in 2019 where he finished 17th.
“We’ve done this before. We know how hard it is,” Martins said. “We’ve done it right & we’ve done it wrong. The biggest difference this time is my experience & the school of hard knocks both my dad & Rodney have had to learn from to get to this point. We’ve also got some great partners with Diamond Gusset, AAN Adjusters, & a few others that hopefully we’ll be announcing very soon. Everyone is all in to make this thing work.”
Martins #44 will carry the familiar silver & blue colors of his long time sponsor, Diamond Gusset Jeans. The Bon Aqua, TN based American apparel company has been a staunch supporter of Martins since his first Xfinity efforts in 2014. The total number of races hasn’t yet been confimed.
“Having David [Hall – DG owner] & Diamond Gusset as a part of this is special. They’re family. They’re as much a part of this as anyone on this team,” Martins said.
When asked about getting out of the seat if a funded driver was to come along, Martins was his usual outspoken self.
“Oh absolutely,” Martins laughed. “I’d gladly step out. I love driving these cars, but the best thing financially for this race team is to have me as a part time driver, not a full time one. Right now I just want to focus on starting this year strong, getting us up in the points, & proving to everyone this is a competitive race team. I think everything takes care of itself from that point on.”
A crew chief has not been named yet, but when asked about it Tommy Joe said the team is in, “discussions,” and wants to confirm the position after the first of the year. The team will run Rob Fisher Engines (formerly Collins Engines), & utilize a combination of GMS & KBM chassis.
The team has already hired some full time staff but is still looking for both full time & part time employees to fill out their organization. Open positions include car chief, mechanic, public relations, spotter, truck driver, & others. Volunteers are encouraged. Interested parties are encouraged to email resumes to firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
“Without a doubt, we’re going to be a small team,” Martins said. “We just want to be a good team. That starts with good people. We think we’re headed down the right path. This thing will succeed or fail based on the personnel we have involved.”
Martins is also realistic about their goals as a new team in the series.
“We just want to qualify for 33 races. That’s the goal right now,” Martins said. “Show up every week with a well prepared car & finish races. If we do that 33 times that will be a successful season. I’ve proven I can drive at this level. This team needs to prove we can be one of those 36 cars week in and week out.”
Fans can follow along with the team all season long on twitter @TeamMartins & @TommyJoeMartins on twitter, instagram, & facebook. More information about Diamond Gusset Jeans can be found at gusset.com.
— Martins Motorsports —