AVONDALE, ARIZ. – The NASCAR Xfinity Series wrapped up its season last Saturday at Phoenix Raceway with Daniel Hemric finally breaking through to win his first race and the NXS championship.
Just as contentious as the championship battle was the battle for the top 20 in each points standings to earn bonus money.
Toward the end, as Tommy Joe Martins faced issues, he and Brett Moffitt’s points totals were close for 20th in the NXS driver standings.
“We’ve been a top 20 team all season but at the very end we ended up having a valve stem come loose causing a flat tire as the field took the green,” Martins said.
In a lucky break, a caution fell shortly after Martins pitting which allowed him to have one more chance at Moffitt.
“Brett, who is such a badass, was up in the top 10 and we were 28th,” Martins said, setting up the final restart, “then we gained four spots, finishing 24th in the race and beating him by two points.”
“This is the happiest I’m ever going to feel in my life to finish 24th,” Martins elaborated.
Martins’s 20th-place finish in NXS points matched his points finish in 2020 – Martins’ Motorsports’ first season.
“It’s just a payoff this crew and sponsors have put in all year to have a driver – which is me – finish in the top 20,” Martins said, “and it speaks to what we’ve built at Martins Motorsports as I close this chapter of my racing career.”
In 2022, Martins Motorsports will become Alpha Prime Racing – a joint effort between Martins and Caesar Bacarella featuring Rajah Caruth, Andy Lally and Ryan Ellis who will join Martins and Bacarella on the team’s driver lineup.
“I feel like our program is going to be in a really good place and we want to be a really good one-car team featuring some really talented drivers,” Martins said. “We want to put everyone in a good spot to succeed and we want to keep some continuity. We think we have some great chemistry and we want to build toward next year.
“I’m so excited to have Rajah a part of this, I’m so excited to have Andy be a part of this. Caesar calls me everyday,” Martins elaborated excitedly. “We’re ready to get next year started and we have renovations starting soon – no off season for us!”
Martins earned a career-best 10th-place finish at Texas in Oct. 2020 and a non-superspeedway, team-best 13th-place finish at the Daytona road course in Feb. 2021.