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AUBURN THE RUBBER: Placer High grad recognized for racing success

By: Ike Dodson of the Auburn Journal
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Thomas Martin Racing History

2014

Sixth place, K&N Pro Series West Points

Third place, Kern County Speedway, Super Late Models

2013

One K&N Pro Series start, 14th at All American Speedway

​2011

Four K&N Pro Series Starts

2010

14th, Kalispel, Montana

2009

Crew Chief – four fast times, 18 top-five finishes

2008

Cre Chief – three fast times, 10 top-10 finishes

2007

Five K&N Pro Series starts, 14th Fontana Road Course

2006

Eighth overall in points for NASCAR Autozone Elite West Series

Featherlite most improved driver award

Second in Toyota All Star Showdown qualifying race

Second in Toyota All Star Showdown finale

2005

10th overall in points for NASCAR Autozone Elite West Series

Second in Toyota All Star Showdown qualifying race

2004

15th overall in points for NASCAR Autozone Elite West Series

2003

Bud Pole award, Tuscon Raceway

Rookie of the Race

Poweraid Move of the Race

15th overall in points for NASCAR Autozone Elite West Series

2002

NASCAR Southwest Tour events

The trophy case at Thomas Martin’s Auburn home is going to need a special permit to support expansion.

The 36 year-old racecar driver finished a fantastic 2014 racing season at the Pheonix International Raceway Nov. 6 and has the hardware to prove it.

Martin was sixth in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series overall point championship, landed the Coca Cola Move of the Year trophy and was given the Driver Achievement award by NASCAR officials.

Not bad for his first full season in a grand national car.

“You could say it was a pretty good year,” Martin said Thursday from his desk at Folsom Lake RV. “I can’t complain. I really focused on being in the right place at the right time and it helped to have a good crew.”

Martin, a Placer High graduate, began his career in mini stocks as a 16 year-old Hillman. His treks to Grass Valley for races transitioned to pro 4s and a hand-built stock car as the family traveled across the United States to participate in a variety of races.

He made the NASCAR Southwest Tour at 19 years-old and enjoyed races until the tour closed shortly after. One of his races, a 40-car Toyota showdown, was televised live across the United States. He was second in that race.

No one had a closer view than his father, then-crew chief, John Martin.

“It’s been a whole family deal,” John said. “My wife and I owned race cars even before Thomas started driving and our daughter Betty was our tire specialist.

Thomas competes in a three-car trio for the Jack Sellers Racing Team of Sacramento. The staff includes crew chief Jake Koens (Santa Maria), team manager John Krebs (Roseville) and tire specialist Josh Sweat (Auburn).

The race schedule includes stops in Washington, Colorado, Utah, Pheonix and a host of California raceways. Roseville’s All American Speedway is the second-to-last race of the season.

The chance to excel so close to home is just one of many thrills for Auburn’s speedway warrior.

“I love auto racing,” Thomas said. “The camaraderie with teams of people... and nothing is better than going in high speed, getting contact.

“It’s always fun.”

Thomas is currently chasing sponsors for his 2015 season. He can be found at martinracing.com or on Facebook under “Martin Racing”.

Email Ike Dodson at iked@goldcountrymedia.com. Follow him on Twitter, @Ike_Dodson.