When the 2022 NASCAR Xfinity Series season begins, Martin Motorsports will no longer compete in the 33-race schedule. In the team’s place will be Alpha Prime Racing, a new collaboration between Tommy Joe Martins and part-time Xfinity Series driver Caesar Bacarella.
The two men unveiled their new team on Monday, Aug. 30, and then held a special press conference at the NASCAR Hall of Fame. They explained in a press release that Martin’s father, Craig Martins, and the team co-owner, Rodney Riessen, wanted to “take a step back” from the business, which opened up the opportunity for a partnership with Bacarella. They also confirmed that they will share driving duties, along with Drive for Diversity‘s Rajah Caruth, who races in the ARCA Menards and ARCA Menards East Series.
“I want to build something,” Bacarella said in a press release distributed to media members. “I love this sport. That’s why I do it. I’ve known Tommy and his dad since 2018, and when I saw the news about them going part time, I started asking questions. It led to a discussion about ownership, which is something I’d already been thinking about.”
Martins revealed in late July his intention to step back from full-time driving. He told media members that he would move to a part-time role and find more competitors who could get behind the wheel of the No. 44 Chevrolet Camaro. He would highlight their respective skillsets on the different types of tracks while simultaneously providing up-and-comers with new opportunities.
Caruth Will Run a Limited Xfinity Series in 2022
The men behind Alpha Prime Racing did not fully reveal the schedule for the drivers in the press release, but they provided some key information. Specifically, they noted that they both view Caruth as a rising star in NASCAR who will compete for years to come, but he won’t immediately head to Xfinity full-time.
The 19-year-old from Washington D.C. is currently gaining experience at NASCAR’s various tracks. He has made two starts in the ARCA Menards Series in 2021, finishing ninth at Iowa Speedway on July 24th and 13th at the Milwaukee Mile on Aug. 29.
Caruth’s list of starts also includes an additional five races on the ARCA Menards East Series schedule and four top-10 finishes. His best outing was third at Southern National Motorsports Park on June 12.
“Rajah is the future for us,” Martins said in the press release. “I’ve had the privilege of getting to know him and his dad, Roger, over the last few months and they are exactly the type of people we want to be a part of Alpha Prime Racing. Rajah has his whole career in front of him. I’m just honored they trust us to be one of his first steps.”
Alpha Prime Racing has confirmed that Caruth will drive the No. 44 at Martinsville Speedway, Dover International Speedway, and Richmond Raceway. He could make more starts if there is available sponsorship, but he will not go full-time in the Xfinity Series just yet. Caruth will continue to compete in the ARCA Menards Series for Rev Racing while Alpha Prime plans for his true rookie season to take place in 2023.
Martins & Bacarella Will Share Driving Duties
While Caruth is the future of the team, the two co-owners of Alpha Prime will help serve as drivers in the present. Martins and Bacarella will also share driving duties and strive to put together a strong season for the team.
Bacarella will make up part of the Xfinity schedule and add on to a career that already includes 20 starts spread across five seasons. He will also dedicate considerable energy toward competing for a Lamborghini Blancpain World Challenge America GT3 championship with TR3 Racing.
Martins, on the other hand, will aim to compete in 10-15 Xfinity Series races in 2022. Though this number could obviously change based on the availability of the other two drivers and whether Alpha Prime Racing adds more potential options.