Report: Why Mark Martin couldn’t be Danica Patrick’s driving coach


When Mark Martin climbed out of Tony Stewart’s race car after last year’s season-ending race at Homestead-Miami Speedway, it was to be a quick transition.

Stewart was due back for the 2014 season and Martin was slated to semi-retire from racing and to become a driving coach for Danica Patrick.

We’re finally learning why the expected move never materialized, courtesy of a story by NASCAR Illustrated’s Kris Johnson.

The reason is simple: Martin, whose last career NASCAR race was at Homestead last autumn, has battled a back injury for much of this year that kept him from interacting with Patrick like he hoped to do.

“He was supposed to be my driver coach this year and he wasn’t,” Patrick told Johnson. “He was supposed to do it and then he got hurt, and I was like, ‘Is Mark gonna come to the track?’

“… His back hurt. I feel bad for him, obviously racing and working out is everything to him and then to be hurt and not be able to do … to retire and not be able to do the other, I know it’s been a tough 2014 for him.”

[RELATED: What would Danica Patrick look like if she had Boris Said’s hair?]

It’s unclear where or when Martin suffered the back injury. He’s noted for having a grueling physical fitness regimen.

“I really like Mark and I wish it would have worked out but it was circumstantial,” Patrick said. “But he was up for the job (of coaching her).”

Martin and Patrick had a plan of attack, but the back injury prevented implementation.

“Our sort of motivation and mission together was a lot less about turn in earlier or brake harder or deeper, it was more about the communication side of things, just how to translate the information from me to the crew chief in a beneficial way, in a productive way,” Patrick told Johnson. “And then kind of be the eyes and ears around a little bit and maybe (see) his side of things of what needs to be worked on to make things go better.”

Martin was recently introduced as a driver development coach for Roush Fenway racing, a role that is due to begin next season, presumably after he’s fully healed from his back issue.

He’ll work primarily with Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Trevor Bayne on the Sprint Cup circuit, as well as several Nationwide Series drivers in the RFR camp.

“I think he has a good understanding that every driver is a little different and you can’t just go tell him what to do,” Patrick said. “We had a good plan. Just didn’t see it through the way that I thought, but Mark is great guy and I know he would have done a good job.”

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Motocross: Chase Sexton to miss Hangtown after midweek practice crash

Sexton Hangtown practice crash
Align Media

Chase Sexton announced on Instagram he will sit out this weekend’s Pro Motocross race at Hangtown in Rancho Cordova, California after a practice crash on Tuesday left him with a concussion.

Sexton’s crash on Tuesday happened during a test session at Fox Raceway.

“Bummed to make this post but I’ll be sitting out this weekend,” Sexton said. “As you guys saw I had a big one during qualifying at Pala, then another one on Tuesday this week that banged me up pretty good. Nothing broken just need a few days to get back to 100%.”

Despite his crash in the first qualification session in Pala, California, Sexton mounted up for both motos and finished second in each race behind his teammate Jett Lawrence, who was making his Motocross debut and won with a pair of first-place finishes. Sexton padded his SuperMotocross points’ lead over the injured Eli Tomac, who is still second in the combined Supercross and Motocross standings despite missing the SX finale at Salt Lake City and the outdoor opener with a ruptured Achilles tendon.

Sexton has an advantage of 78 points over Cooper Webb and cannot give up his SMX lead by missing this round.

At stake, however, is the risk of losing ground to Lawrence in the Pro Motocross championship. Sexton currently trails his teammate by six points and is liable to lose significant ground this weekend.

In addition to his concussion, Sexton has also been diagnosed with mononucleosis and the combination of the two conditions caused the team to make the difficult decision to keep him out of the lineup at Hangtown.

“I’m super-bummed to miss this weekend’s race,” Sexton said in a press release. “I feel like I rode well at Pala, and I was really looking forward to Hangtown because it’s a good track for me. Unfortunately, I was already pretty banged up from my qualifying crash on Saturday, and now with mono and Tuesday’s concussion on top of it, I want to do the right thing and hopefully be back on the track soon.”

A return date for Sexton has not yet been announced.

Other 2023 Injury News

450 riders
Eli Tomac, Achilles tendon | It was just a freak deal
Justin Barcia,
collarbone and shoulder
Jason Anderson, vertebrae
Christian Craig, elbow
Marvin Musquin, wrist
Malcolm Stewart, knee | Signs two-year extension
Aaron Plessinger, hip | returned at Salt Lake City
Dylan Ferrandis, concussion | Will not return until Motocross
Cooper Webb,
concussion | returned at Pala

250 riders
Nate Thrasher, hip
Stilez Robertson, leg
Cameron McAdoo, shoulder
Seth Hammaker, arm and wrist
Austin Forkner, knee | Injury isn’t the hardest part
Jo Shimoda, collarbone | returned at Atlanta
Jalek Swoll, arm | returned at Pala