“I would love to have him,” Stewart said. “The biggest thing is us getting the financial backing to run the remainder of those races. I would love nothing more than Mark in all the races that Danica doesn’t run next year. I’ve been a Mark Martin fan for a long time and trust me I would love nothing more than to have Mark in one of our cars.”
The recent news Stewart-Haas Racing has signed Danica Patrick for eight to ten Sprint Cup races in 2012 begs the question, who will be the driver she’s partnered with?
Still needing financial backing for the third car, SHR will need to bring on a driver with a proven track record – pardon the pun.
While Patrick does have some “star power” since making the move to NASCAR, in a career 20 starts she only has one top five and three top ten finishes – one might argue those are fairly impressive stats; however, her average finish was 23.7 - with sponsors pulling out or pulling back, that may not hold the interest of a potential backer - but love her or hate her, no fan can deny the attention she has brought to the sport.
So what driver would make that “perfect match” SHR needs to be competitive? With Mark Martin leaving Hendrick Motorsports at the end of the year, he seems like the perfect candidate; with a career that has seen 40 wins, 266 top five and 435 top ten finishes Martin is a formidable force on the track.
When Tony Stewart was asked if Mark Martin was a possibility, he said he’s definitely “a leading candidate.”
Pretty impressive praise coming from a series champion himself.
With Martin determined to return in 2012, and SHR needing a driver, each may be the answer the other is looking for.