Ginn Makes Changes
July 17, 2007 | 11:02 P.M. EST
Marlin will be replaced by Regan Smith in the No. 14 Chevrolet. The team has yet to make a decision on the No. 13, which has suffered from a lack of sponsorship.
Smith's part-time duties with the No. 01 team are being assumed by Aric Almirola. Almirola, the 23-year-old Busch stalwart and a member of the Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) program for the past four years, has signed with Ginn Racing. He will partner with Mark Martin for the remainder of the 2007 season and will also share the ride with Martin in 2008. His first race in the No. 01 will be Aug. 12 at the road course in Watkins Glen, N.Y. As part of his contractual obligations, Almirola will compete in five remaining Busch races for JGR this season.
"We are starting our future now," said Jay Frye, Ginn Racing's CEO and general manager. "A lot has been said about our program recently and this shows we've been working hard to solidify our future. We are very excited about Aric joining our U.S. Army team to co-drive with Mark. He is a talented young driver as is Regan, who has proved this season that he is ready to take full control of a NEXTEL Cup ride. These two 23-year-old drivers are the groundwork for future success.
"We appreciate everything that Joe and Sterling have done for us," added Frye. "They have been a class act."
Nemechek joined the team with four races remaining in the 2003 season. He drove the No. 01 car before taking over the No. 13 ride at the beginning of the 2007 season. While in the No. 01 car he had one win and three poles.
Marlin, a 30-year veteran in NASCAR, joined Ginn Racing following the 2005 season.
Smith, who has competed in five Cup races this season and was ranked fifth in Busch points before his No. 4 team scaled back after the 16th race, is looking forward to the new challenge.
"I am ready to go and take advantage of another Ginn Racing opportunity," said Smith. "This is a quality organization with great equipment. I have learned so much this year driving with Mark and you can bet that I will continue to seek his advice. I am also excited about having Aric as a new teammate."
Almirola, a Tampa, Fla. native of Cuban descent, was one of Joe Gibbs Racing's first prospects in the company's diversity program founded by Gibbs and the late Reggie White, an initiative that traces its roots back to 2003.
"I am so excited about this opportunity," said Almirola, who has three Busch Series poles and a victory, as he co-drove with Denny Hamlin to win the June 23 race at The Milwaukee Mile. "To share a ride with Mark Martin and have him as a driving coach is awesome. I want to thank everyone at Ginn Racing for believing in me and also to all of the people who have supported me along the way. I just can't wait to get on with this ride. It's going to be such an honor to represent the U.S. Army and all of our soldiers. Wearing the Army uniform will mean so much to me."