Danica Patrick announced yesterday that she would be making the switch to NASCAR full time in 2012. As of now, her plan is to run in the Nationwide Series full time for JR Motorsports in the No. 7 Chevy, sponsored by GoDaddy.com. She also plans to run eight-to-10 Sprint Cup Series races next season for Stewart Haas Racing, presumably with sponsorship from GoDaddy.
There has been some speculation that SHR owner Tony Stewart wouldn’t want to go through the hassle of fielding a third car to run it part time. If that is indeed the case, he would be in the market for a part time driver. Mark Martin’s name has been rumored as a potential candidate.
Martin, who will leave Hendrick Motorsports’ No. 5 Cup team at season’s end to make way for Kasey Kahne, has said in the past that he is looking for a part time ride next season, and that he has nothing in the works. So, it would seem that Martin is available.
Plus, for SHR, it would be good to have a driver with Martin’s knowledge of how a successful team should run behind the wheel of one of their cars. That’s not to say Stewart, a two-time champion, doesn’t know. But, how could it hurt to have Martin providing feedback as well?
It would also give the pit crew more on-track reps so that they can be at the top of their game when Patrick is in the car. This is very important because Patrick is sure to have a bullseye on her back thanks in part to her meteoric rise to the top ranks of NASCAR without much experience.
But, in order for Martin to join SHR, a sponsor would need to be found. That seems to be the main concern. But, is it really?
Martin currently drives the No. 5 Chevy, which is sponsored by GoDaddy.com so he obviously has a relationship with them. Given their relationship with both he and Patrick, they could step up and sponsor races for both drivers. But this, of course, is speculation.
When asked about sharing a ride with Patrick, Martin said:
There are some scenarios that could be perfect for me. But for right now, that’s pipe dreaming. For now. … I’m cool. I’m 100 percent at peace.