2011 Stats: Points Finish 22nd, 0 Wins, 2 Top Fives, 10 Top Tens, Average Running Position 18.3, Average Finish 18.4, Laps Led 75, Driver Rating 75.9
In 2012 the “Crazy Old Man” will return to series once again, but things will be significantly different for the 30 year veteran. This season he’ll move over to Michael Waltrip Racing and become a part-time driver.
In 2007 when he was a part-time racer for Ginn Racing he found success early and often. He almost won the Daytona 500 and he was actually the points leader until he missed his first race of the season at Bristol. With all of his experience missing a few races here and there will not be a factor.
In 2012 he’ll race 25 races in the 00 car. A rule of thumb for knowing what races he’ll be in is
a) only plate race will be the Daytona 500
b) no short tracks
c) no road courses
d ) will skip some west coast races in the second half of the season.
Strengths- Mark Martin is at his best on intermediate tracks. He’s also a reliable driver on big flat tracks such as Indy and Pocono. In 2012 Mark Martin will not be racing at many of the tracks where I typically recommend people should avoid him. Another positive about Martin will be that his lame duck status is gone and I think MWR will try it’s best to make sure he succeeds.
Weaknesses- One concern will be his equipment. MWR is a mid tier team and their equipment is two notches below the best. In 2007 Martin overcame sub par Ginn equipment but can he do it again?
Intermediate Track Grade- B-, His 2011 showings on intermediate tracks races could be described as the good (Dover finished 2nd), the bad (only 8 laps led), and the ugly (12 finishes outside the top 15). A good way to put it is that his finishes are across the board. Despite his poor Hendrick performances I wouldn’t be surprised if he was better in 2012 on this track type. Intermediate tracks have traditionally been his best track type and David Reutimann won two races for MWR at these venues. Look for his part-time status to be a big plus when these races come down to fuel mileage.
Flat Track Grade- B, Although at this time his 2012 schedule isn’t clear but I think he’ll race at Indy, Pocono and the first race at Phoenix. I’m not expecting him to race at New Hampshire this year.
I like Martin at the big flat tracks. In 2011 he accumulated the 12th most points at these venues and had the 16th best driver rating. At Indy he finished 8th and at the second Pocono race he finished 13th. David Reutimann finished 13th in the first Pocono race so I don’t think things will be dramatically different for him on this track type. Also TRD Motors make good horsepower for these tracks.
At Phoenix this fall Martin finished 16th and had a 15th place average running position.
Restrictor Plate Track Grade- B-, Martin has always been a risky driver at plate tracks. In 2011 his drafting partner was Jeff Gordon but I don’t see these two pairing up again. I think his drafting partner will be Michael Waltrip dependent upon him qualifying for the Daytona 500. If he doesn’t qualify than Martin might have a hard time finding a quality drafting partner. In 2012 his only plate race will be the Daytona 500.
Short Track Grade- INCOMPLETE, it is not expected that Martin will race at any of these venues.
Road Course Track Grade- INCOMPLETE, it is not expected that Martin will race at any of these venues.
How to use Mark Martin from a Fantasy NASCAR Perspective in 2012? I would really focus on using Martin at the big flat tracks and intermediate tracks outside of the Texas/Charlotte/Atlanta mold.