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Driver Spotlight: Tommy Joe Martins Interview

Tommy Joe Martins Competes in the Truck Series NASCARMedia.com

NASCAR

Driver Spotlight: Tommy Joe Martins Interview


NASCAR is a compelling sport, for a number of reasons. For one, it is the only sport where every competitor is on the field (or track, as it were) at the same time. Unfortunately, this also means that it is easy to lose sight of some of the smaller teams and drivers in the field. These are some of the hardest working people in the sport, and where some of the most interesting stories can come from. One of those stories belongs to Tommy Joe Martins.

 

For some context, Tommy Joe Martins and his family owned Martins motorsports have been around for a while. Martins made his Camping World Truck Series debut in 2009, and competed in 4 races that season. The team competed on and off at the national level for a number of years, but never in a full-time capacity. In 2016 however, Martins Motorsports returned to Camping World Truck Series competition, with the intent to run full-time.

I reached out to Tommy Joe Martins after the Atlanta race weekend, and he agreed to talk about a number of topics including his family, their team, and his thoughts on NASCAR as a whole.

2016: A Full-Time Effort

Tommy Joe Martins chronicled his experience in 2016 via his blog, and a very active presence on Twitter. As usual, when a public figure is so open, there will be a handful of negative responses. Martins doesn’t let this bother him though, saying:

“I don’t let that stuff get to me. I do this for me, and it happens to be public, but I don’t do it expecting any certain response”.

 

A lot of what is discussed in the blog involves parity, barriers to entry, money, and of course, sponsorship. Given the struggles the team went through, some took it as attention-seeking, but Martins says absolutely not.

“I don’t want people to feel bad for me, or for us. We choose to go out and do this. I’m lucky to be able to do this because it’s what I love to do”.

He credits his father for that ability, and recognizes that while in NASCAR terms he may be underfunded, in the grand scheme of things, he’s very fortunate.

“I’m fortunate in that, you know, my dad runs a construction company. It’s not huge, but it’s what lets me go out and do what I love. And when I’m not racing, I have a job just like anyone else.”

 

Of course, the hunt for sponsorship is fierce. Martins doesn’t want to have to rely on just his and his family’s income.

“It all comes down to money. There are so many expenses just on the vehicles that have gotten out of control. The chassis’ are pretty much the least expensive part. But engines run $40,000 a week, and they can only run one, maybe two weekends. We spend more money on tires in a weekend then we do on the chassis we bolt them to.”

NASCAR has come under fire in recent years for issues like this, which is another positive by-product of Martins’ openness.

For the Love of Racing

Still, the love of racing is what keeps Martins and his team going, and he is quick to credit the handful of people around him.

“We had some decent runs get spoiled last year which hurts, but it’s a credit to how dedicated these guys are that we showed that potential at all. I want those good results for them more than for myself. The work they put in to be competitive is awe-inspiring and it makes me want to be better on the track”.

Martins Motorsports returns to the track this weekend at Martinsville, with Brandon Brown behind the wheel. Tommy Joe Martins’ next race will be at Kansas in May. Deals like those are what help keep things moving forward as they try to grow the team in 2017.