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Kickin The Tires

Opinion: Tommy Joe Martins first NXS Top-10 will still happen in 2020

Photo By: Barry Cantrell / NKP

By Sarah Handy, Staff Writer 

After announcing new sponsor Market Rebellion just a few short days ago for Charlotte, Tommy Joe Martins was on pace to earn his NASCAR Xfinity Series top-10. 

The top-10 should’ve happened at Charlotte Motor Speedway with his own Martins Motorsports but an unfortunate yellow flag with four laps to go changed all that in a split second. 

Charlotte Recap 

First off, let’s recap last night’s event.

Martins rolled off the starting grid for Monday evening’s Alsco 300 from NASCAR’s backyard at Charlotte Motor Speedway in the 32nd position.

However, even starting towards the back of the 37-car field, he didn’t stay there long.

After the conclusion of Stage 1, Martins found his No. 44 Market Rebellion Chevrolet in the 23rd position. By the time Stage 2 came to an end on lap 90, he was all the way up to 16th – a gain of 16 positions since the drop of the green flag.

With a melee of cautions during the final 50 laps of the race, he was able to avoid any potential disaster and was on pace to earn his first top-10 in the series, running in the ninth position with four laps to go.

Then a caution happened and the 44 was part of it, the one scenario no driver wants to be involved in. As they started wrecking in front of Martins, he unfortunately had nowhere to go as his Market Rebellion Chevrolet hit the inside wall hard.

Following the crash, Martins radioed to his crew saying he wasn’t sure how his Chevy was still running, “That’s the hardest hit I’ve ever taken.”

As the checkers waved, Martins would finish 24th but his Martins Motorsports team acknowledged on Twitter post-race what a strong run it was.

It most certainly was a strong run, and everyone knew that 44 was there today. If you didn’t, perhaps catch a replay of last night’s race and follow the scoring ticker.

32nd to 9th…single car team, that’s impressive.

Martins and crew will look to rebound as the Xfinity Series heads to Bristol on Saturday but as expected, Martins felt the devastation that followed.  

Top-10 will happen in 2020 

It may seem as if it’ll never happen, disappointment is at the forefront right now. But mark my words now, Martins will claim his first series top-10 this season. 

Why? There’s no reason for it not to happen. Hear me out. 

People knew they were there. As the broadcast crew reeled off the top drivers in the running order towards the end of the race — they mentioned Martins. TV knew he was there, fans at home knew he was there (and Market Rebellion), and more importantly him and his crew knew the kind of night they were having — a career one.

They came from 32nd to 9th — again a single car team, and with a new sponsor. A new sponsor brought on even though the country is still reeling with the whole COVID-19 pandemic. 

The team has heart, Martins has heart.

If you follow Tommy Joe on social media he is one of the most fan friendly drivers out there. He does live Q&A’s regularly and he does a fantastic job at Marketing his sponsors on all social media platforms. 

Martins went live shortly after the race ended and you could hear the heartbreak in his voice, but I somehow knew he would chose to do this.

He acknowledged the people who reached out to me him — whether it was on social media, a phone call or a text message…it’s just the kind of guy and race car driver he is. 

Oh, and he was congratulating other drivers in Tweets post race on how well they had been running, like fellow competitor Brett Moffitt who finished in sixth.

After the heartbreaking night he had, he continued to show just what a kind human being he is. It was nothing short of a class act. 

Market Rebellion

Not many people can bring on a sponsor during a global pandemic , let alone a sponsor who has never stepped foot in the NASCAR world before. 

Really, who does that?

Well, Tommy Joe Martins did that with Market Rebellion. Surprised? I’m not. He isn’t known to tear up equipment, sometimes the wrong place, wrong time thing happens to any of us. 

If you aren’t sure what Market Rebellion is they’re a leading provider of trading education, content and tools for independent investors. 

Market Rebellion joins Tommy Joe Martins, Martins Motorsports for Charlotte

I obviously don’t know all of the details on if or when Market Rebellion will return to the No. 44 Chevy but I think they most certainly should. 

First race as a sponsor in NASCAR and the guy you chose to go with nearly brings home a career best NASCAR Xfinity Series finish. If that was me as a sponsor, I’d be saying, “Sign me up again!” I think they’ll be back on the 44, it’s just a matter of what race it happens. 

He’s done a fantastic job of making them known on all his social media platforms to both fans and media. 

Also, the amount of people I saw reach out to TJM on Twitter following the race was amazing to see and should be duly noted by any sponsor of his.

And you know what? That honestly showed exactly the type of guy he is and how likable he is. 

One can only hope they realize what a great face they have representing their brand both on and off the race track and will adorn his Chevy again this season.

Bristol 

Next up the series heads to Bristol Motor Speedway this Saturday for the Cheddar’s 300 presented by Alsco. 

Top-10 on the horizon? I most certainly think so. 

You can look at the stats sheet and say well, he hasn’t finished better then 26th (twice) in his four previous NXS at the fan favorite track. 

I’ve got something to tell you, throw that stat sheet out the window — at least for this week. 

I know but why Sarah, it happened. Well, he also hadn’t finished better then 22nd at Darlington in four previous starts and then who came to party on Monday night? 

I’m saying it, and maybe I’ll be wrong after all I’m not psychic but I truly believe Tommy Joe Martins will finish inside the Top-10 more then once this season, and Bristol most certainly could be the place.

Even with a disappointing end result at Charlotte, the passion and skill are there. And the fact that him and his team know they can run that solidly should still provide some momentum heading into Saturday. 

Remember, stat sheets don’t always mean much.

 

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