NASCAR: Ginn Racing Fantasy Preview

2006 Team Performance
The Artist Formerly Known As MB2 Motorsports needed a fac- lift. Joe Nemechek was this team's marquee guy but he finished a woeful 27th in points, while newcomer Sterling Marlin mumbled his way to a 34th-place finish in the standings. Considering NASCAR's overall trend toward Young Guns, you could legitimately wonder whether the company's old name stood for "Two Mature Bulldozers." "Front Row Joe" and crew chief Ryan Pemberton lost whatever chemistry they developed in 2005 and Nemechek's winless streak now stands at 78 races. Marlin, taking literally the fact that he was driving for a sponsor whose business is waste disposal, was far worse, logging exactly one top-10 finish. What's worse is that it's been 167 Nextel Cup races since Marlin's last win. Whereas you could make a case that at least Nemechek was a few strokes of bad luck removed from some very high finishes in 2005, 2006 was pretty much completely a lost season from a team that was hanging from a shoestring. There was no reason to use either of these guys on any fantasy teams. Ever.

2007 Team Outlook
On the face of it, landing Marlin to drive Scott Riggs's former car (with the number changed from No. 10 to No. 14, to honor Sterling's dad, Coo Coo Marlin) was a coup coup. After all, the guy has won the Daytona 500 twice and almost won a points championship as recently as 2002. But the past few years haven't been too good to ol' Sterlin'. He hasn't won since the spring 2002 Darlington race and hasn't really even been close. Things got so financially bad at MB2, there were rumors of a merger with DEI this offseason. Instead, Ginn Clubs & Resorts bought an 80 percent stake in the team, replacing Nelson Bowers. The cars are still Chevy bodies with Hendrick engines, so it's not like the Mature Bulldozers are being asked to drive go karts out there. What the freshly crowned Ginn Racing needed was some new blood, so they rushed out and signed ... Mark Martin? The mercurial Martin has been retiring for about a decade now, but, like Rasputin and Ashlee Simpson, he won't go away. The 48-year-old will drive half the races for Ginn this season, helping his new team avoid having to qualify for every race on time. The other half of the year will go to young Regan Smith, a legitimate pup at the ripe age of 23. Nemechek leaves the No. 01 team to start a brand new one, which leaves Martin and Smith to drive the U.S. Army car. You can't argue that Ginn didn't go out and get one heck of a solid driver. Having made the Chase in each of three seasons it's existed, Martin's as consistently good as they come. And Ginn is committed to pumping cash and technology into this moribund group. The fact is, this is still a fledgling team and expecting regular contention is expecting too much.

01 - Mark Martin / Regan Smith
Wins: 0
Best Finish: 2nd
Poles, top-5s, top-10s, DNFs: 0, 7, 15, 2
(Note: the above stats apply to Martin only)