A reflection on ‘Relevance’ Tommy Joe Martins practices for the NextEra Energy Resources 250 at Daytona International Raceway in February 2016.

Photo by Jeremy Thompson/The Racing Experts

By Zachary Lange
Staff Reporter
June 18, 2016


DISCLAIMER: Opinions expressed are solely those of the writer.

(NOTE: The following is a response to the blog entry “Relevance,” written by driver Tommy Joe Martins. For clarification, read that first.) 

Oftentimes, media and fans are not given an inside look at the financial hardship that drivers and teams face on a weekly basis. Onlookers see organizations merge, reduce schedule, or ultimately cease operations and wonder what the cause was.

While most keep mum on their organizations ultimate fate, one athlete gave fans an inside account for a small teams tribulations.

Driver Tommy Joe Martins, competing full-time in the Camping World Truck Series, wrote a blog Friday which you can read here detailing his at first overconfidence of running competitively, and his realization that his resources may not be able to do what he imagined.

Martins writes partially about his own team’s financial situation stating, “We’re literally relying on the prize money of [roughly] $15,000 a race to completely cover our expenses. Payroll included!”

Martins cites that his team in Martins Motorsports, is a small organization among the likes of Bolen Motosports, Hattori Racing, and NEMCO Motorsports. 

But, unlike them, his truck appears to carry less sponsorship and the aforementioned teams still have more resources than him. Martins writes in part, “Maybe they don’t have a 10+ person staff in the shop full time, but they aren’t underfunded. They’re just small.”

Teams may be small and still enjoy full funding and amazing success. In the Sprint Cup series, Martin Truex Jr. led the most amount of mileage ever for a NASCAR sanctioned event at Charlotte three weeks ago with single-car organization Furniture Row Racing. 

Tommy Joe Martins
Photo by Jeremy Thompson/The Racing Experts

In the XFINITY Series, SS-Green Light Racing and Ray Black Jr. are enjoying modest success as a single-car organization. Kaulig Racing runs top-ten weekly with Blake Koch and full sponsorship. There are other teams that are small, with full funding, and enjoy success. 

Martins main thesis is a team with sponsorship, fully funded no matter the size is instantly in a better position than a non-funded team. It is fully understandable that a largely unsponsored Martins feels this way and rightfully so, he is an unfortunate bystander of the economic hardship that currently impedes results.

For many. 

Yet, what Martins fails to realize, or doesn’t care to speak about in his blog, is the amount of drivers and teams in his exact same shoes. 

Just ask the owners of Obaika Racing, MBM Motorsports, MAKE Motorsports, Jimmy Means Racing, Premium Motorsports, or Mike Harmon Racing. 

Or how about Norm Benning, Jennifer Jo Cobb, B.J. McLeod, Derrick Cope, and Jeremy Clements? 
Blake Koch's pit crew services his racecar during the TreatMyClot.com 300 by Janssen at Auto Club Speedway in March 2015.
Photo by Marcus Leno/The Racing Experts

More examples can be named here. These are all drivers or teams on merely a shoestring budget all with varying levels of success. 

Paying the tire bill and worrying about the next race is upsettingly a harsh reality of this sport for quite a lot of teams. 

Not once does Martins state any other competitors who have it equally as trying. Understandably, the focus is on his team, but if he is going to bring up small teams better than his, or how much Kyle Busch Motorsports charges for sponsorship, or how John Hunter Nemechek doesn’t have it bad, why couldn’t he have brought up small teams equal or in worse shape than his?
Blissful ignorance? Sure seems like it.

Take one quick walk through the XFINITY or the Camping World Truck Series garages at any NASCAR-sanctioned event, and the separation of money is clear. 
Martins isn’t the only one who is a have not, and whether or not he wrote about it I’m sure he realizes this fact.


“I’m not sending out press releases every week and complaining to the media about how rough the sport is or how we’re having to do it with less, then nobody should be,” Martins wrote. 

Maybe not.

Parker Kilgerman and Ryan Truex address the media post-race of the 2016 NextEra Energy Resources 250 in February.
Photo by Jeremy Thompson/The Racing Experts
Writing to the near-point of victimizing oneself without detailing explicitly that you are one of many that have this problem, is a problem in itself. It gives a wrong idea. It selectively paints a picture for the reader to feel sorry for Martins.

Another area of problem with this blog is despite it being an inside account of his own team, Martins talks about other teams as if he is an insider on their own accounts.

“Parker Kligerman is killing it this year,” he wrote. “But, they’re still showing up in a full rig, with 8-10 guys, buying the full compliment of tires, & leasing motors for every speedway race.

“Sure, they (Benton and other aforementioned teams) may cut a corner or two. Ricky Benton actually runs old style D3 Ford motors at some of the smaller tracks on the schedule to save money.”

This tweet on the right came out after the blog post.

So, were Benton and team spending out of their means? Or are they cutting back to allocate their funds available to run competitive and not mired back in the pack?

Best bet, Martins doesn’t have a clue of their individual situation, but he wrote as if he did. 

Listen, understand that the weekly obstacles that small, underfunded teams have to overcome is a lot. But writing a blog entry detailing your blatant misinformation of other teams while not explicitly acknowledging others deal with the same stress too isn’t a genuine way to win people over. 

Wallowing in self-pity implicitly hoping for companies to read this shouldn’t be either. Martins glum estimation of how he can perform if current trends in result hold states the following.

“Until we’re able to get more funding, we are who we are. We’re a small team that can occasionally overachieve and run in the top-20.”

All woe is you, Tommy Joe Martins.

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