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Martins Motorsports to compete full-time in Xfinity in 2020

Tommy Joe Martins

FORT WORTH, TX - MARCH 30: Tommy Joe Martins (99) BJ Mcleod Motorsports Toyota prior to the start of the My Bariatric Solutions 300 NASCAR Xfinity Series on March 30, 2019 at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, TX. (Photo by Lawrence Iles/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Tommy Joe Martins’ Martins Motorsports will attempt to compete in the Xfinity Series full-time in 2020, the team announced on Tuesday.

Martins, 33, will be the initial driver of the No. 44 car.

The native of Como, Mississippi, has 57 career Xfinity Series starts. He made 18 combined starts in 2019 for B.J. McLeod and Carl Long.

Long-time sponsor and family friend Rodney Riessen will join Martins Motorsports as a co-owner.

Martins Motorsports hasn’t competed on-track since the 2017 Gander RV & Truck Series season. It last attempted a full NASCAR schedule in 2014 before shutting down mid-season.

“It’s so exciting,” Martins said in a press release. “Extremely nerve wracking but also really exciting. We’ve learned so much over these last few years about this series & the business as a whole. I’ve improved a lot as a driver. Having Rodney [Riessen] as a partner in this thing is a game changer. He’s just as passionate about the success of this team as dad (Craig Martins) & I are.”

The team will have sponsor Diamond Gusset Jeans on the No. 44 car for an undetermined number of races.

Martins would “gladly” get out of the car if a funded driver was available.

“I love driving these cars, but the best thing financially for this race team is to have me as a part-time driver, not a full-time one,” Martins said in the press release. “Right now I just want to focus on starting this year strong, getting us up in the points, & proving to everyone this is a competitive race team. I think everything takes care of itself from that point on.”