NASCAR

Deal could put Martin in Stewart's seat

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Mark Martin
Veteran Mark Martin at Michigan International Speedway on Friday.
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Lee Spencer

Lee Spencer is the Senior NASCAR Writer for FOXSports.com. She has provided award-winning coverage of auto racing over the last 15 years. Spencer has lent her expertise to both television and radio and is a regular contributor to SiriusXM Radio and the Performance Racing Network. Follow her on Twitter.

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BROOKLYN, MICH.

A deal is in the works that would offer Brian Vickers more seat time in the No. 55 Aaron's Toyota — and allow Mark Martin to pursue the opportunity to drive the No. 14 for the injured Tony Stewart.

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On Saturday, multiple sources told FOX Sports that Toyota offered Martin its blessing in order to enable Vickers — who was named the full-time driver of the No. 55 Michael Waltrip Racing Camry on Tuesday — additional races to gel with the team. Vickers is currently racing for the Nationwide Series championship with Joe Gibbs Racing. He is fifth in the NNS point standings.

Before SHR inquired on Martin's behalf, the plan was for Vickers to race at Bristol, Martinsville and New Hampshire, where he raced last month. Team owner Michael Waltrip is scheduled to drive the 55 at Talladega. Martin originally was signed up for the balance of races.

When Martin was asked on Friday at Michigan Speedway if he would be interested in driving the No. 14 Chevy for Stewart Haas Racing while Stewart recuperates he replied, “That’s real complicated. It sounds logical, but there’s a lot of complications that go with that."

Martin, who has shared a ride the last two seasons at Michael Waltrip Racing, added that while he had not spoken with Stewart "directly" (as of Friday), "Obviously the question came up early on. It’s just really a complicated, it’s more complicated than it looks at face value.”

IT ADDS UP

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Certainly, MWR and Aaron's would have to sign off on Martin before SHR can green light the deal. If everything goes according to plan, he could be part of SHR's roster announcement expected late Monday.

On Friday, Stewart-Haas Racing competition director Greg Zipadelli said he was "working under the assumption that (Stewart is) out for the next month or so or maybe longer."

Zipadelli added he was pleased with the progress of this weekend's sub, Austin Dillon, and expects him to run additional races depending how long Stewart remains sidelined.

Dillon will start 27th in the Pure Michigan 400 on Sunday. He finished 21st in the inaugural Nationwides Series race at Mid-Ohio Sports Car course on Saturday.

Tagged: Tony Stewart, Mark Martin, Michael Waltrip, Brian Vickers

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