HIGH POINT, NC -- Gil Martin has signed a three-year contract extension at Bill Davis Racing (BDR) to continue as crew chief for Amoco Ultimate Team 93 and driver Dave Blaney, a contender for the 2000 Raybestos NASCAR Winston Cup Rookie-of-the-Year award.
The 39-year old Martin, a former co-owner and crew chief of the now-defunct #81 FilMar Racing Winston Cup and Busch Series teams, came to BDR in August, 1997 to help build a partner program for the #22 Caterpillar-Polaris team and driver Ward Burton at Bill Davis Racing. As part of a graduated three-year plan by owner Davis and sponsor Amoco, Martin will now join Blaney as the #93 Amoco-Siemens Pontiac team competes with six other first-year drivers for top rookie honors in the 2000 Winston Cup Series points race.
"Gil has done a great job of building and managing the Amoco team over the last two years to get it to where they're ready for the Winston Cup Series next season," said Davis, who becomes the 11th multi-car Winston Cup owner next season after being the lone single-car owner in the Winston Cup top-ten (ninth) in 1999. "From the start, he's offered the kind of knowledge and stability that someone like Dave Blaney needed in making the tough transition he's made from open-wheel cars. The Amoco program has come a long way -- both driver and team -- to be where they are at this point. Gil understands what we want to do with our two-team system and he now has a chance to really build a competitive program for Dave in the Winston Cup Series."
Martin began the Amoco program from the ground up, building Busch Series cars in the race shop where Bill Davis introduced his first NASCAR rookie program with driver Jeff Gordon in 1991. Martin also started from scratch with Blaney -- the 1995 World of Outlaws champion -- who had only one previous start in fendered cars prior to the start of his limited-race 1998 schedule at Daytona. The #93 Amoco team finished sixth in the final NASCAR Busch Series point standings in 1999, finishing second at Atlanta and Rockingham, third at Michigan and Rockingham and posting top-tens at nine different Winston Cup tracks.
In 51 Busch Series starts with Blaney over two seasons, Martin's #93 team posted top-ten qualifying efforts in almost 60% of their starts and won five pole positions -- all in track-record time -- at Charlotte, Atlanta, Texas, Colorado Springs and Michigan. Blaney's four pole positions in 1999 tied him with Jeff Green for the Busch Series lead in that category. The Amoco team also posted top-10 qualifying efforts in the season-ending Winston Cup events at Miami and Atlanta, giving Blaney as many top-ten starts as 14 NASCAR Winston Cup Series regulars during the 1999 season.
"I've said several times that working with Dave Blaney has been the most rewarding experience I have had in NASCAR because it was a process that needed to be built from scratch," said Martin. "I believe we've still got a lot of progress to make with this team and I wanted to be a part of it. There's no question that the rookie race for next season will be one of the best in the sport's history. I believe that the resources we have here at Bill Davis Racing with Ward and the #22 team plus Terry Elledge's motor program will carry this program further than most people think."
Martin began his motorsports career building drag racing and stock cars for fellow Nashville native Bobby Hamilton, then the local track Late Model Stock Car champion. In 324 collective starts as crew chief for six drivers in the NASCAR Winston Cup and Busch Series, Martin's teams have won almost $3.75 million over 12 seasons and won 10 NASCAR Busch Series races with Kenny Wallace (5), Jeff Burton (2), Bobby Hamilton (1), David Green (1) and Rick Mast (1), each now a regular on the Winston Cup circuit.