|Old man Martin may replace Stewart|
A deal is in the works that would offer Brian Vickers more seat time in the #55 Aaron's Toyota – and allow Mark Martin to pursue the opportunity to drive the #14 for the injured Tony Stewart. On Saturday, multiple sources told Fox Sports that Toyota offered Martin its blessing in order to enable Vickers – who was named the full-time driver of the #55 Michael Waltrip Racing Camry on Tuesday – additional races to gel with the team. Vickers is currently racing for the Nationwide Series championship with Joe Gibbs Racing. He is fifth in the NNS point standings.
Before SHR inquired on Martin's behalf, the plan was for Vickers to race at Bristol, Martinsville and New Hampshire, where he raced last month. Team owner Michael Waltrip is scheduled to drive the #55 at Talladega. Martin originally was signed up for the balance of races. Certainly, MWR and Aaron's would have to sign off on Martin before SHR can green light the deal. If everything goes according to plan, he could be part of SHR's roster announcement expected late Monday. FoxSports
08/17/13 Mark Martin likes to drive fast racecars, and Tony Stewart’s No. 14 car certainly would be on that list.
Whether Martin could drive Stewart’s Stewart-Haas Racing car in a substitute role for the remainder of the 2013 season is still to be determined.
Martin, who currently shares the Michael Waltrip Racing No. 55 car with Brian Vickers and Michael Waltrip, said Friday afternoon that he had been contacted by SHR officials about his availability while Stewart is recovering from a broken leg.
The idea became more plausible this week when MWR announced Tuesday that Vickers would drive the No. 55 car full-time in 2014 and 2015 with Aaron’s as the sponsor.
If Vickers could start driving the car full time immediately that would only help the team for next season.
“It sounds logical but there’s a lot of complications that go with that," the 54-year-old Martin said. “As of right now, I’m driving the Aaron’s Dream Machine (for MWR) and tickled to death.
“… Not directly from Tony, but obviously the question came up (from SHR) early on. It’s just really more complicated than it looks at face value."
Martin, who is running 24 races this season, is not scheduled to race at Bristol, New Hampshire, Talladega and Martinsville. He seemed open to running all of those races except Talladega.
“I haven’t thought of it," Martin said about running the No. 14 car in just those races. “We just really haven’t gone that road because there’s a lot of stuff that has been going on."
SHR Competition Director Greg Zipadelli said he hopes to have two drivers in the No. 14 car the rest of the year but wouldn’t mention who the other would be in addition to Austin Dillon, who is driving Stewart’s car this weekend at Michigan.
Stewart obviously has a healthy respect for Martin, who has 40 career wins in 869 career Cup starts.
“I’ve got contracts," Martin said. “It’s not as simple as you guys think. We’ve got Toyota involved, we’ve got Aaron’s, we’ve got Michael Waltrip, we’ve got teams and cars and stuff.
“I’m tickled to death to be driving a hot rod and will do what everybody wants."