Mark Martin to serve as NASCAR Sprint Cup Series mentor to Danica Patrick at Stewart-Haas Racing
Mark Martin said Tuesday he expects to continue to work with Stewart-Haas Racing in 2014, after Tony Stewart returns back to the cockpit of the No. 14 SHR Chevrolet SS.
Martin and his wife, Arlene, were at SHR’s shop in Kannapolis, N.C., on Tuesday during Stewart’s first press conference since breaking his right leg in two places in a sprint car accident in August.
Afterward, Martin told FOXSports.com he likely will do testing for SHR next year, as well as work with Danica Patrick on helping her get more comfortable behind the wheel of her No. 10 SHR Chevy.
Martin is currently filling in for Stewart, driving the No. 14 as the team driver/co-owner recovers from his injuries.
Stewart hates to test and said he would welcome having Martin continue on with the team next year — and with Stewart not expected to get back in the car before Daytona in February 2014, SHR needs someone to test. Martin is the logical candidate.
“I'm all for Mark Martin doing all the testing he wants to do,” Stewart said. “I've never been a big fan of testing, anyway. It's like watching paint dry to me...I definitely hope he would be willing to do that, and would love to have him do that for us because he's been around the sport so long and he's so detail-oriented. You couldn't ask for somebody better to go into a test that probably would pay more attention than [he] would about what's going on with every detail. That would definitely be a great option for us.”
Martin said discussions with SHR on continuing testing and consulting have been ongoing.
“We were already talking about working together next year before Tony got hurt,” Martin said.
As for working with Patrick, Martin said he could work as a go-between with Patrick and her crew chief, Tony Gibson — who used to be Martin’s crew chief — in getting Patrick up to speed. The idea is Martin could help explain to Gibson how Patrick’s car is reacting so he can make the proper adjustments to help it go faster.
“Danica doesn’t need a driving coach,” Martin said. “She already knows how to drive.”
Martin also would bring one other critical asset to the team: He has a strong relationship with Kurt Busch dating back to the days the two both drove for Jack Roush, and Martin could be a very positive force in what surely will be a team with a lot of high-intensity personalities.