March 22, 2013; Fontana, CA, USA; NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Denny Hamlin (11) during practice for the Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Mark Martin, Joe Gibbs Racing Deal Falls Apart

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Forget everything and anything that has happened over the last few days in regards to Joe Gibbs Racing hiring Mark Martin to substitute drive for the injured Denny Hamlin. Finding a driver to drive in Hamlin’s place is turning into more drama than Joey Logano’s feuds leaving Auto Club Speedway last weekend.

It was set up for Mark Martin to drive all five races that Hamlin is expected to miss, until Friday. Apparently, the logistics team at Joe Gibbs Racing got too excited and prematurely announced the deal and it caught up to them.

The AP’s Jenna Fryer is reporting that the deal fell through when the announcement was made prematurely because Martin’s sponsor at Michael Waltrip Racing, Aaron’s, had not given their approval of the decision.

“We were a bit premature in determining Mark’s status past Martinsville,” JD Gibbs said in a released statement.

Now, it appears that Brian Vickers will be the replacement driver for Hamlin in at least four races. Vickers is committed to the No. 55 next weekend at Martinsville while Martin is committed to the No. 11 Toyota.

Gibbs wanted just one driver to fill in for consistency, but that clearly won’t be the case for the first two races.

Vickers is a Joe Gibbs Racing teammate to Hamlin, where he drives the No. 20 Toyota in the Nationwide Series. Their other teammate Elliott Sadler, won’t be driving the No. 11 as he already has a few races scheduled in a fourth Gibbs car later this season in the Sprint Cup Series.

Gibbs did take the time in his released statement to thank Waltrip and his team for allowing them work with them and allowing Martin to drive for them next weekend. Martin, wasn’t scheduled to drive for Waltrip next week.

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Tags: Brian Vickers Denny Hamlin Joe Gibbs Racing Mark Martin Michael Waltrip Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series

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