Orlando, Fla – 10/27/2005
Mark Martin to Return to No. 6 car in 2006; Todd Kluever Takes Wheel in 2007
AAA will become the primary sponsor of Roush Racing’s flagship No. 6 Nextel Cup Ford starting in 2006. In addition, veteran driver Mark Martin will extend his ‘Salute To You’ Tour and return to pilot the car for one more year in 2006, with Todd Kluever set to take over the reigns from Martin in 2007, Roush Racing announced today.
“AAA is very pleased to be associated with the winning team of Roush Racing and Mark Martin. With the growing popularity of NASCAR, AAA is excited about its ability to contribute to the success of a sport that has captured the imagination and loyalty of tens of millions of fans, including many AAA members,” said AAA President Robert Darbelnet.
With more than 48 million members in the United States and Canada, AAA is North America’s largest motor club and membership organization. The not-for-profit association is best known for its legendary roadside assistance, comprehensive leisure travel and information services and its support of improved traffic safety and other consumer issues.
“I’m real excited about AAA coming in with us,” said team owner Jack Roush. As one of the most well known and respected names in the country, “I think AAA can do a lot for the sport and be a cornerstone of our sponsorship group for years to come.”
Martin has been the mainstay at Roush Racing, teaming up with Jack Roush in 1988 to help start up Roush’s NASCAR operations. Since, Martin and Roush have teamed for what has become one of the most successful partnerships in NASCAR.
In 18 years on the circuit Martin has run to 35 Nextel Cup victories, 41 poles, 356 top-10 finishes and 224 top fives. He has started 633 Nextel Cup races and currently has a string of 575 straight Nextel Cup starts.
“It’s great to be partnered up with AAA,” said Martin. “They have a fantastic organization and a great reputation. My wife and I are both AAA members. I’m excited about the services they provide to many of our fans and I am looking forward to working with AAA.”
Martin has finished second in the Nextel Cup standings on four occasions and is firmly in the hunt this season for a run at the championship, currently sitting in fifth position as one of the 10 drivers eligible to win the chase.
In addition, Martin will capture his record fifth International Race of Champions title this season, after running to his record 13th career win at Richmond. Martin also holds the record for career Busch Series wins with 47, with two of them coming in 2005. In 2005 Martin currently has won twice in the Nextel Cup Series, with the first coming in the Nextel All-Star Challenge in May and the second in a dominating victory just two weeks ago at Kansas.
“Mark Martin has built a solid reputation as gentleman and winner on and off the racetrack,” said Darbelnet. “He is someone in whom AAA has confidence when speaking about the advantages of membership and AAA’s extensive highway safety activities.”
In 2006, Martin will drive the No. 6 AAA Ford Fusion and then give way to Kluever in 2007. During the 2005 Nextel Cup Series, the AAA Auto Club Group was a primary sponsor of Carl Edwards’ No. 99 car. This experience gave AAA valuable first-hand knowledge of the benefits of participating in NASCAR with the Roush Racing team
“I’m very excited to work with AAA,” said Kluever. “It’s great to see them move into a full-time sponsorship with Mark and the No. 6 car next year and then with me in 2007. It’s a dream come true for me and it’s great to have people here at Roush Racing and AAA that believe in me and I’m very excited about the opportunity.
I consider the No. 6 car to be one of the top-five most legendary cars in NASCAR history. I don’t think that anybody will be able to replace Mark Martin. He has big shoes to fill, but I’ll do my best to try. It’s just very exciting to be in that No. 6 car and to be partnered with a great organization like AAA.”
Kluever won Roush Racing’s famed ‘Gong Show’ in 2004. He is currently amongst his first year of racing in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, where he is 14th in the points. Kluever has posted five top-five and eight top-10 finishes in 20 races during his rookie season.
He is currently leading the Raybestos Rookie of the Year standings. Kluever plans on racing full-time in the Busch series next season, before graduating to the Nextel Cup Series and the No. 6 car in 2007.
Roush Racing is currently shooting for its third consecutive NASCAR Nextel Cup Championship, with Matt Kenseth and Kurt Busch bringing home trophies in 2003 and 2004. Roush currently has five of the 10 drivers in contention for NASCAR’s biggest prize.
Roush Racing is a subsidiary of Livonia, Mich., based Roush Industries that operates ten motorsports teams; five in NASCAR Nextel Cup with drivers Mark Martin, Matt Kenseth, Kurt Busch, Greg Biffle and Carl Edwards; three in the Busch Series with Martin, Kenseth and Edwards, and two in the Craftsman Truck Series with drivers Ricky Craven and Todd Kluever.