Veteran ARCA Racing Series & super late model driver Hal Martin, nicknamed the "Ragin' Cajun" from his Louisiana roots, will pilot a Toyota Camry in the TriStar Motorsports stable for three races during the 2012 NASCAR Nationwide Series season - Kansas Speedway; Texas Motor Speedway and Homestead-Miami Speedway. The 26-year-old driver, who has competed in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and ARCA Racing Series, also has funding to compete for the NASCAR Nationwide Series Rookie of the Year honors in 2013.
The sponsor portfolio & number will be announced at a later date but will showcase several companies from the Gulf Coast of Louisiana, Martin's home territory. As the sole Nationwide Series competitor to hail from "N'awlins," the young engineer expects to be a little unique. "I'm so proud to be from the Louisiana Gulf Coast, and it's exciting to be able to highlight a really diverse part of the country in my NASCAR career," said Martin. "I grew up going to Talladega, where a lot of Louisiana NASCAR fans call home and you can always find crawfish on the boil or seafood gumbo being cooked up in turns one and two. Now I get to bring that hometown pride to millions of fans around the country - it's really special."
Martin's first race will be the Kansas Lottery 300 at Kansas Speedway on October 20th; followed by the O'Reilly Auto Parts Challenge at Texas Motor Speedway on November 3rd and the Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway to finish out the season. He brings his crew chief from the ARCA Racing Series days, Nationwide Series veteran John Quinn, to Tri-Star Motorsports for his debut. "It's great to have John by my side on this - we're a great team and he taught me so much about competition at this level. I'm looking forward to learning more together this year as a great preparation for the Rookie of the Year competition next year."
There is no rest for the weary for Martin - after a 2011 season with 5 starts in the ARCA Racing Series with Venturini Motorsports, he moved to Huntersville, North Carolina and is staying in the seat by racing three entries in September with Coulter Motorsports in UARA-Stars. "It's been a whirlwind so far, but I can't wait to be in NASCAR and have the opportunity to learn from some of the best in the business at some very fast tracks. I'm grateful for the opportunity to race and know where I'm driving - something a lot of drivers can't say right now, unfortunately," said Martin.
Equally grateful for this opportunity is TriStar Motorsports Team Owner, Mark Smith. "We are really looking forward to having Hal as part of our TriStar Motorsports team," he said from his PME engine shop Tuesday. "I'm pleased that we were able to finalize our plans for next year so we can start to build our rapport before the season-opener in Daytona. Hal has proven to be a solid racer and is eager to learn and advance. I have no doubt that he has a promising career ahead of him in NASCAR. I am confident that he will be a strong contender for the Nationwide Rookie of the Year title next year."
Hal Martin PR