Liberty Racing returns with Martin brothers By Dave Rodman LORAIN, Ohio (Jan. 31, 2000) Less than three weeks before the Speedweeks 2000 season opener, NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series charter team Liberty Racing announced Monday it would return...
Liberty Racing returns with Martin brothers By Dave Rodman
LORAIN, Ohio (Jan. 31, 2000) Less than three weeks before the Speedweeks 2000 season opener, NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series charter team Liberty Racing announced Monday it would return to the series in the NASCAR 2000 season. At the beginning of January, team owner Jim Herrick announced he would shut the doors of the team's shop here after five years and 122 NCTS races, due to the lack of a primary sponsor for the NASCAR 2000 season. Now, three brothers from Cleveland have become partners with Herrick in Liberty Racing and the team plans to return for a full 2000 campaign.
Kenny Martin of Broadview Heights, Ohio, a Cleveland suburb, will be the driver while his brothers, Johnny and Angelo, will share the duties of team manager for the operation that fielded No. 98 Fords and scored three race wins and two Bud Poles in 122 events. The team finished in the top-12 in the season point standings four of five seasons.
"I am very happy to have been able to find three people who are committed to continuing the tradition and history of Liberty Racing," Herrick said. "In Angelo, Kenny and Johnny Martin, the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series has added quality new participants."
The Martin brothers replace team manager Tim Stephens, who moved from Liberty Racing to a position in marketing with Herrick's Liberty Auto Group. Stephens said Monday that he would work this season as NCTS driver Terry Cook's race-day spotter. Stephens worked in that capacity for Martin at the ARCA finale last season at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
While Liberty has not tested this season up to the final Daytona pre-season test for NCTS teams on Jan. 14-15, the team plans to enter the No. 98 Ford F-150 in the season opening NCTS 250 at Daytona International Speedway Feb. 18. Kenny Martin, a veteran of the ARCA Bondo/Mar-Hyde Series, will drive the truck.
Martin failed to qualify for the 1999 Daytona ARCA 200 and placed 39th in the 1998 opener after qualifying 21st and being involved in an accident. He finished 23rd in the ARCA season finale at Atlanta after starting 11th and finished a career-best 13th from 16th last October at Lowe's Motor Speedway.
"The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series is going to be a big challenge for me," Kenny Martin said. "I'm looking forward to that challenge."
Stephens said the team did not yet have a primary sponsor in place, but was planning to run the full 24-race schedule after the Daytona opener.
Stephens said the new partners, who own Martin Enterprises, a demolition and site-preparation company in Cleveland, called back the previously laid-off crewmembers from the former Liberty team.
Oliver Allen becomes the crew chief. Bud Haefele, who had served as interim crew chief since November, is now the truck chief for the No. 98 effort. Crewmembers Bob Tebo, who has worked all 122 NCTS events and Jeriod Prince join Haefele as 1999 veterans who remain with the team.