Roush Fenway Racing announced Thursday that NASCAR driver Mark Martin is returning to the team he once raced for as the team’s driver development coach. Martin was the first driver hired by team owner Jack Roush when he founded his NASCAR operation in 1988. The two went on to become one of the most successful duos in sports history, earning 83 NASCAR wins, four NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship runner-up finishes, and building Roush Fenway into the winningest team in NASCAR history.
“I’m excited to return to Roush Fenway Racing, as it feels like I’m going home to where I belong,” said Martin. “I was fortunate to help build this team from the beginning and it’s very humbling to be a part of Jack’s team again. When Jack first hired me in 1988 we didn’t talk about salary or benefits or perks, we talked about testing, tires and putting the right personnel into place to win on the track. That commitment is what stood out to me then and it’s still what stands out to me today.
“Nobody does a better job at developing young talent than Jack Roush,” he added. “Roush Fenway has an abundance of young, talented drivers and I’m looking forward to working with each of them going forward. I am very proud of what Jack and I were able to accomplish together and I am excited to expand on those accomplishments.”
“The thing that always stood out about Mark was his unmatched drive to win,” said Roush. “Mark put us on the map and I am pleased to have him as a part of our team again. Mark is not only a good friend but he’s also a fierce competitor and I truly admire his passion and dedication to racing. I have no question that you will be able to see his influence on our young drivers. He understands what it takes to win and to be able to do that on a consistent basis and he’ll, once again, be a great asset to have back within our organization.”
Martin raced Roush Fenway’s flagship No. 6 Ford from 1988 until 2006. During that time he scored 35 NSCS victories. At the end of his tenure at Roush Fenway he held a record five prestigious IROC (International Race of Champions) Championships and a then record 47 NASCAR Nationwide Series wins. For his career Martin posted 96 career NASCAR victories. Martin raced for the now defunct Ginn Racing, Dale Earnhardt Incorporated, Hendrick Motorsports, Michael Waltrip Racing, Joe Gibbs Racing and finally Stewart-Haas Racing. Martin’s last Sprint Cup race came at Homestead-Miami Speedway at the close of the 2013 season. It was there that Martin told reporters that he had no plans to race in 2014.
Martin will now use his experience to mentor other drivers at the team he called home for nearly two decades.
“I understand what it takes to succeed in this business and appreciate the hard work, dedication and focus required to compete at the highest level week in and week out,” Martin said. “We have a great crop of young drivers in Ricky (Stenhouse Jr.) and Trevor (Bayne), as well as with the rookies Chris Buescher and Ryan Reed and of course the veteran leadership with Greg Biffle. It will be a key part of my job to help them develop their skills behind the wheel and get the most of their exceptional ability.”