Vickers fills void while Hamlin out
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) -- A deal to loan Mark Martin to Joe Gibbs Racing as a replacement driver for injured Denny Hamlin fell apart Friday, when Michael Waltrip Racing said Martin will fulfill his commitment to its team.
When the dust settled for both teams, Brian Vickers wound up as Hamlin's replacement driver for at least four races. He was already scheduled to drive Martin's car for MWR at Martinsville next week and will keep that commitment, with Martin driving Hamlin's car.
Then Martin will go back to MWR, and Vickers will drive Hamlin's car until he's medically cleared to return from a fractured vertebra in his lower back.
The about-face came down from MWR roughly 24 hours after JGR said Martin will take over the No. 11 Toyota until Hamlin returns. He's out at least five races.
It means Martin can now only drive Hamlin's car at Martinsville, a track not on his schedule.
MWR said Martin will return to his regular car after Martinsville and "resume his previously scheduled run of events with MWR" for the rest of the season.
"I think it is great that a driver of Mark's caliber is available to support our fellow Toyota team during this difficult time for them. We wish Denny a speedy recovery," said MWR founder and co-owner Michael Waltrip. "Mark is a big part of our organization and is committed to our sponsors.''