FORT WORTH, TEX. – Michael Waltrip Racing announced today it has hired Mark Martin to share in driving duties of the No. 00 Toyota and extended its 30-race sponsorship with Aaron’s, Inc. through the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup season.
Martin will drive in 25 Sprint Cup events each of the next two seasons, sharing the No. 00 Aaron’s Dream Machine with Michael Waltrip, who will drive five events with Aaron’s sponsorship. Martin will join Martin Truex Jr. and recently acquired Clint Bowyer in the MWR stable next season.
“Aaron’s has been a part of Michael Waltrip Racing for more than a decade and I’m proud that we will be racing together into the future,” said Waltrip, co-owner of Michael Waltrip Racing with Rob Kauffman. “This is a big day for our organization, announcing a sponsorship extension and adding a future first-ballot Hall of Famer like Mark Martin.
“It is very rare that a young organization gets an opportunity to hire a driver with Mark’s incredible talent, experience and insight into what it takes to be a winner. Mark will be competitive but also a great teammate to Clint, Martin and me. I’m thrilled he will be in our cars, but just as thrilled he will be in our meetings.”
Martin said he’ll play a role in shaping the future of MWR.
“Aaron’s and MWR have given me a chance to keep doing what I love with a competitive race car and a perfect schedule for the next two years. I have studied their program and, man, are they going in the right direction. I’m so impressed with what they are doing right now and I wanted to be a part of it. I want to help this organization. This is like a rebirth. I just can’t explain how excited I am to get to work.”
Martin will begin his tenure with MWR at the 2012 Daytona 500. Waltrip will run the remaining restrictor plate races plus the race in his home state of Kentucky. MWR plans to run a combination of drivers and sponsor partners to fill the remaining races when Martin and Waltrip are not behind the wheel.
Waltrip and Martin, with nearly 1,600 combined Sprint Cup starts, are the only drivers to have won races in four different decades in the Sprint Cup, Nationwide or Camping World Truck Series. Waltrip said both he and Martin will play key roles in evaluating and selecting a full-time driver for the Aaron’s Dream Machine in 2014.
“Pairing a future Hall of Fame driver in Mark Martin and two-time Daytona 500 champion Michael Waltrip really is a dream come true for Aaron’s,” said Ken Butler, Aaron’s chief operating officer. “We have a lot of plans for Mark that I’m sure Aaron’s customers will enjoy in the coming months. We welcome Mark to the Aaron’s family and can’t wait to see him behind the wheel of the No. 00 Aaron’s Dream Machine.”
Aaron’s relationship with Michael Waltrip Racing began in 2000 when the Atlanta-based company sponsored six races for Waltrip’s Nationwide team. The relationship grew from a partial Nationwide program to one of the most recognizable Cup partnerships in the sport with aggressive activation and extensive usage of Waltrip and MWR in television and radio commercials.
About Aaron’s, Inc.Aaron’s, Inc. (NYSE: AAN), the nation’s leader in the sales and lease ownership and specialty retailing of residential furniture, consumer electronics, home appliances and accessories, has more than 1,900 Company-operated and franchised stores in 48 states and Canada. Founded in 1955 by entrepreneur R. Charles Loudermilk, Sr. and headquartered in Atlanta, Aaron’s has been publicly traded since 1982. For more information, visit http://www.aarons.com/.