Dylan Martin To Honor ‘The King’ In Petty Blue Ford At Chicagolandby Press Release September 15, 2016 0 comments
MOORESVILLE, N.C. – Taking to the track on Thursday, September 15, at Chicagoland Speedway for the ARCA Racing Series Scott 150, Dylan Martin (@DylanMartin07) will make his third start in the No. 48 Empire Racing Group/Richard Petty Motorsports Development Team Ford, in a special tribute to “The King,” Richard Petty.
The No. 48 car will don the famous “Petty Blue” paint scheme, celebrating a year-long tribute leading up to Richard Petty’s 80th birthday next July. The NASCAR Hall of Fame Inductee won 200 races in his time on the NASCAR circuit and currently owns Richard Petty Motorsports in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and NASCAR XFINITY Series. Petty continues to craft the future champions of the sport through the Richard Petty Motorsports Development Team by preparing future industry talent for the next step in stock car racing with top-quality equipment and an understanding of what it takes to be successful in the sport.
“All of the Petty entities are celebrating 80 years of the King in a special way,” said Rebecca Moffitt, daughter of Richard Petty. “We thought it would be fun for Empire Racing Group to get in on the celebration by running a paint scheme that mimicked the 1969 Ford Torino that the King drove.”
Empire Racing Group, LLC, owned by John Corr and operated by Grumpy’s Performance, Inc., and Richard Petty Motorsports have combined forces over the last year to create a development program, driven to bring successful young drivers up the ranks through late models, the ARCA Racing Series and into NASCAR.
Piloting the famed “Petty Blue” car can be a daunting task for any young driver. Dylan Martin is just one of the few drivers given the opportunity to carry his young career under the Richard Petty Motorsports Development Team name and will have the honor of driving the No. 48 car in Thursday’s ARCA Racing Series event at Chicagoland Speedway.
Martin is ecstatic for the opportunity to go race for a win with such a special paint scheme on his car. He explained, “It’s a really big honor to be able to run a Petty car and celebrate him. A lot of people will never get that opportunity.”
In 2016, Martin has made 11 late model stock starts with Empire Racing Group, as well as two starts in the ARCA Racing Series. His first start came at Fairgrounds Speedway in Nashville (Tenn.), where Martin said he took the opportunity to learn and figure out how the ARCA Racing Series cars differed from his previous late model stock starts. In his second start in the series, Martin battled all the way up into the top-five after starting 11th at Lucas Oil Raceway in Indianapolis (Ind.), before ending the race in an accident due to getting caught up in oil on the race track.
The team is constructing a brand new car for the upcoming race after making the switch from the older model steel-body car to the new composite-body cars, in order to be able to successfully compete against the top teams in the series. With the dedication and effort that comes along with making the change, the team also sees a change in goals as they head off to their first event with the new car.
Martin added, “Our goal with this new car is to win. With the steel-body car we didn’t have the speed of the composite cars since they had such a weight advantage on us. With the brand new chassis, we definitely think we can run up front. In our last ARCA Racing Series start, we were running up front with the steel-body car, so we should be pretty good in the composite car and have a good chance at getting the win.”
Crew chief Mike “Grumpy” Cheek, is positive in his outlook on Martin’s chances to be successful at Chicagoland Speedway. “Dylan’s got a very good chance to win at Chicagoland,” he said. “The car he’s running is the first in-house car for Empire. The boys have really showed up and this is the nicest piece I’ve ever been around. I think we’ll be good. We’re giving him every tool he needs to run up front.”
While changing over to the composite-body car requires significant work for every team member, Cheek added, “Updating our cars brings everyone up. We’ll have the latest greatest car and everything will be fresh and new. Everyone built this car and worked really hard. We knew when we did this it would turn out extremely nice. It’s just a sexy car. It means the world to me to be able to make this step.”
The team’s step up the ladder carries more significance to Cheek thanks to the cars being a part of a tribute to a Petty, a seven-time NASCAR Champion. “Every time we run a car for Richard Petty Motorsports Development Team, it will be a tribute to a car that Richard Petty drove. This car throws back to the 1969 Ford Torino, which Richard drove during the year of the Torino,” Cheek said.
Empire Racing Group’s dedication to the Ford marker continues to become stronger, showing a similarity to the 1969 season, when Petty Enterprises made the shocking announcement they would be making the switch to Ford. That year, Petty hopped behind the wheel of the Ford Torino and took home his first victory with his new car in Riverside (Calif.) at the 1969 Motor Trend 500. The Ford Torino had two variations on the track, including a long-nose and short-nose model for road racing and speedway racing. While Martin’s Ford Torino tribute car won’t be able to differ from the setup of today’s ARCA Racing Series cars, fans will still feel a sense of nostalgia as Martin’s No. 48 car roars around the track at Chicagoland Speedway on Thursday.
Cheek says being able to be the crew chief of a development team for Richard Petty Motorsports is like a homecoming. The tight-knit, close-family feel of Empire Racing Group mirrors the same principles and guidelines that Richard Petty Motorsports carries through every layer of their organization. He explained, “Working with Richard Petty Motorsports is like working with family. I got my start there as a crew chief on the No. 43 truck and it’s just been great for me to be a part of this.”
Watch Dylan Martin battle for the win with the best of the ARCA Racing Series in his flashy, new Petty Blue No. 48 Empire Racing Group/Richard Petty Motorsports Development Team Ford on Thursday, September 15 at Chicagoland Speedway. Live race coverage will be found on Fox Sports 1 at 8 p.m. ET.
Photo Credit: Empire Racing Group