Published on July 3rd, 2008 | by Michael J Smith2
Martin, Hendrick Motorsports: A Match Made In Heaven?
With Mark Martin expected to be announced as the driver of Hendrick Motorsports No 5 Chevy next season, I can’t help but wonder if this really is a match made in heaven.
When your stable of drivers includes Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, and Dale Earnhardt Jr, adding a driver of Martin’s caliber seems to be a great match. He’s a driver just as talented and proven as the other three Hendrick drivers. He should fit in perfectly. Right?
Theoretically, yes. He’s got the skills to get a good car to victory lane. He brings a level of experience that few drivers have. But, will this be the best thing? Will moving to the No. 5 give him one last effort to run for the championship?
When Jr. was added to Hendrick, both the No. 24 and No. 48 started to struggle immensely. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying Jr.’s to blame for their struggles. I just think it is hard to distribute resources evenly among teams, especially when all four have the potential to be great. That’s why we see Hendrick Motorsports struggling.
Adding Martin to the mix seems like it will only further dillute the resources and hinder the performance of all teams.
But, Hendrick is a smart businessman. He’s probably learned from his experience with Casey Mears. I think Mears lost his ride, not because of his performance (well, not totally) but because Hendrick couldn’t give him the attention he needed to grow as a driver.
Mears has quite a bit of talent, but he needs attention and he needs time. Two things Hendrick can’t and couldn’t give him. That’s why, I think, he was let go. Why would Hendrick add another driver that needs time and attention?
Enter Martin. He’s not going to need a lot of attention because he’s experienced. He knows the business and he knows how to drive. Martin also brings a ton of experience that can help improve the No. 5 team. And, he’s shown he still has driving ability by running well in Dale Earnhardt Inc.’s No. 8 U.S. Army Chevy.
So, Martin plus Hendrick is a match made in heaven.