martins motorsports

Chances by Thomas Martins

Until last year, I had only driven for one person – my father.

I’ve been a professional racecar driver since 2009, but when your dad owns the team, it’s easy to sense the skepticism from the other folks in the garage. That changed for me at Daytona in 2017, when Shane Huffman gave me a chance to take our speedway truck over to MDM Motorsports. It was exciting. I knew for the first time in my NASCAR career I was going to the track with an opportunity to win.

But on the second lap of the race, I was involved in a crash. For the second year in a row, I finished dead last at Daytona. It was the only last place finish MDM had during the entire 2017 season.

I finally got my big break, and it was over in less than two minutes.

It’s amazing I got any break at all. In 2016, I had the most DNF’s in the NCTWS. I blogged repetitively about our team’s struggles, my family’s finances, & my desire for recognition in our sport (if you want to get the full effect, you can read all the posts here). I felt like we had a tremendous amount of bad luck, but there’s no denying the reputation I had in the garage was a 30 year old, back of the pack guy with a knack for tearing up equipment – I was better known for writing than driving.

I drove the second race of the year for Martins Motorsports – we finished 20 something at Atlanta. Brandon Brown, who DNQ’d at Daytona for us, qualified well but struggled through a spin in the third race at Martinsville. My dad and I weren’t sure how the team was going to make it through the year.

Instead of shutting down, we decided to sell our trucks & take a chance on a partial schedule in the Xfinity Series, our first attempt in the series since a horribly failed season in 2014. With the higher payout, we figured we could make the same amount of money with a lesser schedule. Of course, we didn’t qualify in our first attempt at Richmond - a $20,000 whiff. Leaving the track that day, my father and I didn’t speak. It was yet another disappointment in a career filled with them. I broke down crying when I finally got back to my apartment.

I was ready to walk away from the sport.

I was off a few days that week. I slept late. I didn’t eat much. I don’t think I was watching anything on tv. I might’ve been scrolling through twitter on my phone when it rang. It was my dad. He asked me if I wanted to drive the Pocono Xfinity Series race for BJ McLeod.

I knew BJ from early 2016. We purchased a couple SB2 engines from him when we started our truck team. We raced against each other a couple times. He was a nice guy that looked like a walking affliction ad. I knew he bought cars & points from Roush at the end of 2015, and tried to run 2 teams in 2016. I didn’t remember them having a ton of success. Then again, neither did we.

 “What’s the catch,” I asked him. There’s always a catch – usually cash. I’ve been offered cup rides, truck rides, late model rides, and every offer ends with how much money it’s going to cost for me to hop in the seat. I’m always flattered, but I can’t ever afford it. We ran our own team because when things went well (which was rare, admittedly) we came closer to breaking even than we ever could throwing money to another team. At that point, you’re just a revenue stream, not a driver.

There was no catch with BJ – he was just nervous.

His #78 car had underperformed over the course of the year, and now had slipped so far down the owner point standings that it was in danger of missing races to provisional-backed teams. It had already missed a couple of events.

BJ needed a driver. He had been behind the wheel of the #8 car, and his regular teammate, Jeff Green, was now running with Ryan Sieg. When my name was suggested as a replacement, he hesitated. He called around to a few other owners & managers. They immediately brought up my history for crashes. They thought he was crazy. Wrecked equipment on a small team like BJ’s is a death-blow. There are no backup cars. No shop crew. There was a huge risk.

Luckily for me, BJ McLeod is a guy that likes to take chances. I think he liked the idea of picking a guy that no one else wanted. He was convinced some of my struggles were tied to my father – not because of parental pressure, but because of our management of the team. I knew how much things cost when we had a bad break. I put that pressure on myself.

How good could I be if all I had to worry about was driving the racecar?

I found out later that BJ looked up my results from 2016. Not just the finishes - nothing spectacular there. Two top-15’s in 20 races didn’t jump off the stat sheet. He looked up practice times from every race. He told me I consistently outperformed my equipment on the time sheets. For him, that was key. He needed someone that could outperform a few of the cars that could knock him out of the race, and someone that was willing to stick their neck out for a team that could get sent home at anytime.

Most drivers won’t.

Guaranteed starting spots are golden tickets. They allow teams to sell rides & sponsorship with promises – not hopes. No matter how fast a team is, anything can happen in qualifying. Parker Kligerman – who won the race at Talladega this past year – didn’t qualify for the race the year earlier. Our truck team shut down in part because I couldn’t guarantee a starting spot at Daytona to potential drivers. No one was willing to sign a deal with us on the hope we’d bring a truck fast enough to qualify on speed alone.

For me though, the decision was easy – BJ McLeod believed in me. If he was willing to take a chance on me, I was willing to take a chance on him.

BJ made it clear who our competition was: Johnny Davis, SS Greenlight, Jimmy Means, Carl Long, & Mario Gosselin. In the nine races I drove for BJMM, I scored the second most points of anyone from those teams – tied with BJ himself. I only had 1 DNF, when a left front lower control arm broke at Bristol.I also finished 11th at Iowa, which is my highest career NASCAR finish.

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Hopefully I helped BJ McLeod Motorsports out of a rut. BJ finished 11th at Daytona. Josh Bilicki finished 11th at Road America. I know BJ McLeod Motorsports helped me. I had owners & drivers in the garage congratulating me on a weekly basis. I had a reporters speaking to me that had never known my name.

For the first time in my life, I feel like I truly belong in a NASCAR garage. I have three people to thank for that: my parents and BJ McLeod.

He’s going to let me drive for him again in 2018. I’ll be a spectator at Daytona, but I’m sure I’ll be in the seat plenty this season. I’m not sure what my schedule will be this year, or what number I’m going to run, but BJ & his team have given me something I’ve always longed for in our sport: respect. And for that, I’ll never be able to thank him enough.


The Team by Thomas Martins

Martins Motorsports had the most successful day in company history Wednesday night at Eldora Speedway.

We qualified fourth overall. We won a heat race. We were running third in the main when the exhaust got knocked off the truck, putting us two laps down. Caution after caution, we couldn’t get the break we needed to get a lap back until later in the race, when we were positioned as the only truck two laps down, then the only truck one lap down. We finished the race as the last truck on the lead lap in 15th place.

J.R. Heffner was driving.

A lot of people tweeted, texted, and prodded me thinking I’d be upset seeing someone else have that much success in my truck. Nothing could be further from the truth. I was cheering harder than anyone! I haven’t met J.R., but from everything my father and our Crew Chief Kevin Eagle have told me about him, he’s a great guy. He’s humble, professional, & best of all, a terrific racer. He deserved every bit of praise he got for his performance Wednesday. He took a truck that was 29th in final practice, qualified it fourth overall, and ran the 5th fastest time of anyone during the race. He ran 75% of the race with the exhaust knocked off & fumes getting into the cockpit. It was a gutsy race from him and our crew.

That’s what makes me so happy. I’m happy for our guys. I’m happy for our team. We all deserve nights like Wednesday night. Even though in typical Martins Motorsports fashion they had to battle through some crazy circumstances, they proved just how competitive our team can be when all things are equal at a place like Eldora. That’s awesome.

But...I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t jealous.

It’s my truck. They’re my guys. It’s my number. It’s my dad’s team. And J.R. did more with them in one race than I’ve been able to do in ten. Sure, Eldora is different. But of course I want to be the guy that has those big days for our team. So far this year, I haven’t been able to have any.

So, why did we let someone else come in and drive for me in one of the most prestigious races of the entire truck season? The short answer is simple. We have to put the team first. As for the long version, there were several factors.

Number one, we couldn’t afford it. Eldora is an awesome event, but it’s also a very unique event. Top teams build dirt-specific trucks to run it. As a small team, we can’t afford to buy or build a truck for only one event per year. Besides that, it’s a well-known fact that you’re going to completely tear your truck up when you go to Eldora Speedway. That’s dirt racing. Matt Weaver posted a great picture on twitter of the carnage in the post race inspection line. We’ve already got two torn up trucks, and another new one that needs a body. That’s enough fab work for us. We certainly couldn’t afford more.

J.R. owned the truck he raced at Eldora. Bobby Pierce ran it last year and nearly won in it. J.R. had run it in 2014 and finished 18th with it. The only problem was that J.R. didn’t have a team that could help get it ready and take him to the event. He wanted an experienced team that had been in the truck series all year. That’s where we came in. It was a perfect marriage. It was the only track he wanted to race at, and it was a great race for us to sit out and save our stuff for another week. It wasn’t an off week for my guys, that’s for sure. Our whole crew prepped, traveled, wrenched, & pitted just like any other week. The only difference was the guy behind the wheel.

J.R. is obviously a really good dirt racer. I’ve only run one dirt race in my entire life. It was a disaster. I literally hopped the back tire on top of the wall, dropped it back off the wall, and kept driving. The crowd loved it. I hated it. I wasn’t looking forward to Eldora. I wasn’t sure how I’d do. I think I’m a good driver and I’d adapt, but would I be as good as a guy like J.R. who’s run dirt for years? Probably not. He was a dirt track ringer, and he brought a lot of experience and knowledge to our race team.

The team comes first.

Not just because we couldn’t afford to buy a new truck. Not just because we couldn’t afford to wreck our only good truck. Not just because J.R. gave us the best chance to do well. We made this deal because it was the best thing for the company and the best thing for me.

It might seem like those are separate entities, but I assure you, they’re the same. My career has lived and died with our race team twice already. No one has ever called me to drive their car without asking me for money, and I’m not foolish enough to think anyone ever will. That’s the business. Even if it wasn’t, I haven’t ever had any major success in NASCAR. Sure, I’ve never had a chance on a competitive, front running team, but the facts are the facts. I’ve run 10 races this year in the truck series and I have one top-20 finish.

Even if someone did call, it wouldn’t be a top team. Those teams make drivers bring crazy money to race for them. I don’t have any money. And with my results so far this year, sponsorship is pretty hard to come by. I haven’t done anything this year (or in my entire career for that matter) to make my name stand out.

Start and park teams could call me, but why would they? They’d have to pay me. I’m not going to go out and finish dead last or drive a piece of junk for free. Plus, they could get someone more experienced than me for the same amount of money (a la Jeff Green in the Xfinity Series).

A mid-level team like JD Motorsports or JGL could have me race for them, but that’d be about the same sort of situation I’m in right now. Those teams both cap out around 15th in the Xfinity Series. With all the cup drivers and teams in that series, notoriety is pretty hard to come by when you’re finishing 15th.  And again, why me? They can get former cup guys to race those cars. And they’d much rather have someone bring them money than have to pay anyone themselves.

My only chance in NASCAR is with our team. I don’t get to race if we’re out of business. J.R. Heffner lifted our team up, got us some recognition, and made us some money. I can’t thank him enough for what he did for us and our company.

Maybe one of these days I’ll be able to prove that I’m a good driver. I’ve been waiting a long time for that moment. I think a lot of the guys in the garage respect me as a driver, but I don’t think I’m the first name that comes to mind when you think of racing overachievers. I want to be Ryan Sieg. I want to be Landon Cassill. I want to be the guy that people look to as the guy that’s doing the most with the least. I hate the idea that my career could end because of some bad luck this year, and I might never get that one big break that could lead to more NASCAR opportunities.

I don’t just want to be a driver. I want to be an owner. I want to be involved in this sport for a long time. I want to be able to give someone a shot to race at the highest level. I love NASCAR. Maybe the reason I’ve been so vocal & critical is because of how much I care. I think it’s the best sport in the world, and I’m constantly seeing ways to make it better for everyone involved.

I know that I’ll never make enough money to start my own NASCAR team. Luckily, my dad did. But, Martins Motorsports is a business, and just like any business, it has to be profitable to keep the doors open. So far, in the seven-year history of the company, we’ve never made a single dollar from it. I’ll never make enough money to be able to lose hundreds of thousands of dollars per year just to be involved in the truck series. I think it’s ridiculous that anyone should have to. Yeah, we do spend a lot less money than other teams, but it’s still a big time losing proposition without a sponsor footing at least some of the bill. Make no doubt about it, if we make it through the end of the year without a sponsor on the hood, it will have cost my father and my family a tremendous amount of money.

Hopefully it won’t be in vain.

I'm not begging for sympathy. We gambled. We thought if we got decent equipment, good people, and had a little luck, we could have a successful, break even, mid-pack NASCAR race team. So far we've done two out of three. Now, because of our bad luck, we're going to need more sponsorship or a bigger checkbook to make it through the rest of the year. Eldora helped. Not just financially, but mentally. It was a proud moment for all of us.

I’m looking forward to my next chance to get behind the wheel at Pocono. It’s a track I’ve always thought I’d be good at. Of course, we’ll be battling all the same challenges we normally face: less horsepower, no tires, yada yada yada. We’ll do all we can do. I’ll do all I can do. I want to be the one to give Martins Motorsports it's next big moment.

Each race is another opportunity.

Relevance by Thomas Martins

I think I’ve lost my mind. For some reason, every time we show up to the racetrack, I think we’ve got a chance to run in the top 10 and compete for good finishes.

Crazy right?

You see in my head I think that despite the fact we run older SB2 Chevrolet motors – motors that are at least 15 HP off of the $20,000 to $30,000 per race lease engines – we can still qualify in the top 15. Despite the fact we have a 2-man team that works out of a shop that doesn’t even have a setup plate, I think we’ll be just as prepared when we unload as any of the big teams like ThorSport or GMS. Despite the fact that we can’t afford to buy new tires at $2,200 per set, and instead have to buy scuff tires off of other teams, I think we should be just as fast as them on restarts & long runs. I’m so stupid that I think despite the fact the truck series is having the most deep, competitive field it’s had in it’s entire 20 years of existence, that I’m a good enough driver to compete for wins with an underfunded, understaffed, & overworked team.

I’m an idiot.

But, luckily, this idiot had an epiphany this past weekend at Texas Motor Speedway. I finally got a grip on where Martins Motorsports is as a NASCAR race team. And the truth is, we’re average. That’s it. We’re average. Average might even be stretching it a bit. We’re below average. We should be finishing in 25th place every single week. It shouldn’t disappoint us or frustrate us. In fact, we should be excited about it. Heck, we qualified seven tenths off the pole at TMS and wound up 24th on the board. The field is really deep. The fact that we’re able to be average at this level with a team this small is pretty damn impressive.

The simple fact is, hard work and talent in this sport can only separate you when everything is equal. Things are rarely equal in racing. More than that, people like to embellish just how unequal things are for how it suits their own narrative.

I try my absolute guts out every time I’m in that racecar. I think I’m a pretty good driver. Kevin & Steve work their asses off each and every week. They’re both good, knowledgeable workers. But, it’s completely unrealistic to think that we’re going to consistently beat teams with good drivers and way more resources, experience, & people than we have at our disposal. Our misses are bigger. We don’t have the equipment to afford us room for any mistakes. When Cole Custer is really loose, he’s still running 15th and on the lead lap. When I’m really loose, we lose 2 laps in the first caution clock run and wind up completely out of the race (ie: Texas).

It really irritates when I hear people that cover this sport talking about guys being on small teams or running without a sponsor or being underdogs or blah-blah-blah. I think John Hunter Nemecheck is awesome. He’s friendly, has an unreal knowledge of the trucks we race (he’s basically an engineer), & he might be the best driver in the whole field. But to say he’s underfunded? Gimme a break! Undersponsored? No doubt. Underfunded? Psh. Ryan Truex can wheel it, but Hattori Racing is hardly an underfunded team. Jordan Anderson is an awesome dude with an awesome story, but he would grimace to tell you how much money his new team Bolen Motorsports spent this offseason. Parker Kligerman is killing it this year. But, they’re still showing up in a full rig, with 8-10 guys, buying the full compliment of tires, & leasing motors for every speedway race.

When you lease a motor & buy a full allotment of tires every week, that’s a minimum of $30,000 every race; it could be as high as $50,000 per race. Maybe I’ve been on the skid row side of the garage too long, but when you’re driving for a team with that kind of budget, you’re not an underdog. Top-10 finishes shouldn’t be surprising - they should be expected.

Which isn’t to say that Bolen Motosports, Hattori Racing, NEMCO, & RBR aren’t small teams. They are! They certainly don’t have the resources of KBM, Red Horse, GMS, ThorSport, or BKR. Those multi-truck teams are commanding per-race prices of upwards of $75,000 per race in sponsorship – for KBM I’ve heard as much as $150,000! I But, they are able to do what it takes to put a good, competitive truck on the track. Sure, they may cut a corner or two. Ricky Benton actually runs old style D3 Ford motors at some of the smaller tracks on the schedule to save money. Bolen Motorsports has run a short track truck at a few mile and a half races. Maybe they don’t have a 10+ person staff in the shop full time, but they aren’t underfunded. They’re just small.

We’re smaller. Smallest even. To quote the movie Moneyball, “There’s big teams, there’s small teams, then there’s 50 feet of crap, and then there’s us.” We’re literally relying on the prize money of [roughly] $15,000 a race to completely cover our expenses. Payroll included! I’m certainly not getting paid. Diamond Gusset has been an unbelievable partner to us, but they’re a small company who can’t afford to be a full-time, big team NASCAR sponsor. Fortunately for them, we don’t have a primary sponsor. We’ve been able to put them in a primary position, improve the look of our team, and give them some occasional TV coverage for the cost of an associate level sponsor. It’s been beneficial to both sides. I can’t say thank you enough to David Hall for his continued support.

I guess the thing is, if I’m not sending out press releases every week and complaining to the media about how rough the sport is or how we’re having to do it with less, then nobody should be. Besides, you never want to come across as if you’re begging for money. If anything, you always want to act like you’re doing it with less than the other guy! The guys I gave examples of - they all absolutely deserve every opportunity they have in front of them. I’m not bitter about their success. Far from it! Obviously my family had enough money to be able to buy some equipment and give me a shot in NASCAR. Believe me, we didn’t have that much. And what my family had, we spent too much of. My parents have risked their futures to put me in a racecar more times than I’d like to talk about. But, that’s still more than millions of hopeful drivers around the world will ever get. It’s just the business of racing. Teams with bigger budgets are going to run better than teams with smaller ones. We don’t have to continually exaggerate the truth to the fans of this sport.

I get so caught up in how other people look at me as a NASCAR driver. I doubt myself all the time. Do I deserve to be here? That’s the wrong question to ask in racing. Lots of guys deserve to be here. Unfortunately, they’re not. Most of them won’t ever be. The only thing we can do is judge the guys that are here based on the opportunities they’ve been given.

Tommy Joe Martins is a known quantity in this sport by now. I ran 4 races in 2009. My best finish was 21st. I ran 13 Xfinity races in 2009. I start and parked a lot. My best finish was 14th at Talladega but everyone knows anyone can get a good finish at those things. My average finish for the year was somewhere around 34th. This year I’ve raced 6 times and had an average finish of 25th place (the Martinsville race Austin Wayne had to sub for us because we crashed out of 8th in qualifying). To everyone that covers and watches this sport, Tommy Joe Martins is a slow driver. Yeah, our team is what it is - but it’s still my name above the door. My entire NASCAR career I’ve done nothing but finish in the back of the pack. I’m irrelevant. And it burns me to no end. Everything my family and I have been through just to get to this level and despite all our effort we don't have anything to show for it. Not even recognition. No one cares who finishes 25th. Nor should they. Will that be my racing legacy? Will all of that time, money, & sacrifice never be rewarded? I know I’m a good enough driver to compete for wins in this series, even if I’m the only person in the whole world that believes it. But, if that win, that top 5, that moment never comes simply because I was never in a truck good enough to do it – then was it worth it?

Kevin Eagle is a good Crew Chief. He’s got a reputation in the garage area as being one the hardest working, nicest guys you’d ever meet, but where has it gotten him? He’s been kicked around, fired, underpaid, worked countless hours for teams & drivers he knew had no shot at ever winning races or even competing for quality finishes. He actually said to my father and I that Martins Motorsports is the best team he’s ever had the privilege of working for (which oughta tell you a lot). He’s mostly worked in the Xfinity & Cup series, and he’s still learning more about the truck series, but he’s picking it up pretty quick. I know nobody is working harder than he is, and I can say that literally because he has to prepare the trucks & drive the hauler to every single race with only 1 other guy to help him.

It’s not a fair sport.

Our hands are tied. Until we’re able to get more funding, we are who we are. We’re a small team that can occasionally overachieve and run in the top-20.

That’s okay.

I don’t have to be happy running 25th; I wouldn’t be a racecar driver if I was. But, I’m blessed to even be a part of this wonderful sport, and I’m going to try a lot harder to appreciate the opportunity that I do have, instead of being irritated by an opportunity that someone else has. Maybe my time will come. Maybe it won’t. Either way I’ve learned more about myself as a driver and a competitor this year than I have in my entire racing career, and I’m going to enjoy the ride.

Bad Breaks by Thomas Martins

It seems like we’ve had a couple weeks worth of bad luck to start out the 2016 season. Before I get into the weekend in Atlanta I want to be sure to thank our wonderful sponsors - Diamond Gusset Jeans, our NEW sponsor, RPM Trailer Sales, & Riessen Construction.

I think the Diamond Gusset Chevy might’ve been the best LOOKING car in the entire field. This was the first race we ran our silver paint scheme, and I think it really popped. Big thanks to Brett Frankovich from Diamond Gusset & Rick Gaskins from Frontline Designs for their work on the scheme.

Also, it was a dream come true for me to be able to race at Atlanta Motor Speedway. I saw my first NASCAR race ever at AMS in the early 90’s. My dad took me up to the turn four wall just as Darrell Waltrip was making a qualifying run in his Western Auto Chevy. He ran high off the corner, shooting tire rubber & dust up through the fence and all over my face. At that point, I was hooked. I wanted to be a NASCAR driver.

My dad and I attended more than a dozen races at Atlanta over the years. My grandmother lived in Atlanta, so we made a family trip out of the spring and fall races there. Through all my racing career, I’d never had the opportunity to race at Atlanta until this past weekend. My grandmother passed away this last year, and my mother and father were both sick with the flu, and were unable to attend the race. I hate that none of them were able to see it in person. But, this past weekend allowed me to check one of the final boxes off my racing bucket list.

It’s been rare in my NASCAR career that I’ve been able to hop in a really nice piece of equipment, but I can certainly say our Silverado was as nice of a race car as I’ve ever had the privilege to sit in. Kevin Eagle & Adam Deem did an awesome job prepping our truck for Atlanta, and it showed in how we unloaded.

We missed first practice because of a tech issue as well as a fifteen-minute time penalty we had to serve from Daytona. Being my first time at Atlanta, I was conservative the first few laps we ran in practice, which really hurt our chances of posting a GREAT lap time. With the tire fall off at Atlanta, your first two laps of a run are the best you’re going to get. We didn’t have another set of tires to make a mock qualifying run, so we just worked on race runs throughout the second and third practices. We wound up 23rd & 28th in practice times, which I didn't think was that bad given the fact that we never changed tires. I was expecting us to make a big pickup in qualifying.

We did…it just wasn't quite enough. We ran a 31.71 – only 8 tenths of a second off the pole speed – with our SB2 motor. I never lifted off the throttle the entire lap. Unfortunately, that was only good enough for us to finish 28th in qualifying. The reason that’s important is the top 27 trucks get locked into the race based on qualifying times. So, just like at Daytona, we “officially” made the race because of our position in the owner’s points standings. We need to somehow find a little more speed in qualifying, and that’s something Eagle and I talked about after the session ended. We’re really close! With our motor situation, it just becomes so important to maximize every other thing you can out of your setup & line in qualifying.

Disappointing. That’s the best way I know how to describe the race. I felt really good about our setup heading into the race, it was so consistent during practice, but as soon as the green dropped, we started getting really tight. It was also really tough for us to pass people. Every time I would pull up behind another truck, we would get even tighter because of the aero push.

To make things even worse, we had ANOTHER tire issue. About 25 laps into the race, we had just gone a lap down. As our spotter, Toby, called out 5 minutes left on the clock, I started feeling a vibration. This is where I made a terrible mistake as a driver. Instead of bringing it up, and letting the crew chief make a call, I kept my mouth shut thinking we’d be able to fix it at the caution.

Only a few laps later, the tire gave way in turn 4. I managed to keep the truck off the wall, but couldn’t get down to the inside quick enough to make it into pit lane. Instead, I had to get going back up to semi-speed and make an ENTIRE lap back around. It wound up costing us two laps. So, 35 laps into the race we were already 3 laps down.

From that point on, we made some pretty conservative calls and just focused on bringing the truck home in one piece. I felt another vibration around lap 70 or 80, and we decided to change tires under green just in case. That cost us another two laps.

Realistically, we should’ve finished one or two laps down. We didn’t have the speed to stay with the lead lap trucks. But, we were definitely faster than some of the trucks that finished in front of us, which is really frustrating. One of our biggest goals as a small team is to beat some of the other small budget teams. Two races into the year, we haven’t achieved that goal yet.

I’m encouraged by the communication Eagle and I are developing. He’s sharp. We’ll get better each race. I’ve been encouraged by all of our friends and supporters telling me to keep my head up through our struggles. We’ll bounce back. It’s a long season. And I’m looking forward to having a solid run at Martinsville.

Tommy Joe