When Tommy Joe Martins said that Martins Motorsports would have a major new look for 2022, he wasn’t playing around.
It was just over a month to the day where Tommy Joe Martins exclusively confirmed to TobyChirsite.com that he would step back to a part-time driving role in 2022, with a new focus on the team’s future in mind. The bombshell revealed that Martins was eyeing a number of part-time drivers that could bring funding to the team to help grow the organization in the future.
On Monday at the NASCAR Hall of Fame, Martins revealed that not only will there be a slew of part-time drivers in his No. 44 Camaro, but new ownership as well.
Fellow Xfinity Series driver Caesar Bacarella will partner with the Mississippi driver for a brand new Xfinity Series team – Alpha Prime Racing. Bacarella is the CEO of Alpha Prime and has been on his No. 90 Camaro for DGM in previous races. Martins Motorsports will take on the new name starting in 2022.
“I want to build something,” Bacarella said in a media release. “I love this sport. That’s why I do it.” Caesar continued, “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.”
“I mentioned my dad and Rodney [Riessen, co-owner of Martins] wanting to take a step back and proposed the idea of a partnership,” Martins added. “It’s a perfect situation for both of us. He brings so much business knowledge and marketing savvy to the table for us, and obviously, I’ve been through the school of hard knocks racing-wise. I think we complement each other really well.”
But one of the biggest pieces to the announcement is the addition of Rajah Caruth, an ARCA Menard Series and late model standout, who will compete in multiple races for APR in 2022. A student of Rev Racing and NASCAR’s Drive for Diversity program, Caruth has turned heads in recent years with his on-track performance.
“Rajah is the future for us,” Martins said. “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.”
Caruth will focus on short-tracks for 2022 for APR, a style that Martins told TobyChristie.com back in July. Martins wants to break the season “into chunks,” bringing in drivers who specialize in specific tracks such as short tracks and road courses. The 19-year-old’s schedule will include Martinsville, Dover, and Richmond Raceway. Should additional funding be found, Caruth will also race at Pocono and Kansas. Martins himself will take 10-15 races, while Bacarella is expected for some part-time driving duties as well.
“I’m extremely honored to have the opportunity to continue my progression as both a racer and a young man in the NASCAR Xfinity Series in 2022 with Tommy, Caesar, and Alpha Prime Racing,” Caruth said. I’ve had the great fortune of having such great people surrounding me thus far in my career, and I’m ecstatic to add some more to that circle with APR.”
Martins eyes Caruth as the organization’s future, with an extreme focus being placed on his rookie status for a potential busier 2023 season at APR. Caruth will continue to race for Rev in the ARCA Menard Series for 2022 in addition to his APR driver duties.
More drivers are expected to be confirmed for APR in the near future. As for the slick paint scheme designed by Ryan Pistana, Alpha Prime is expected to serve as the primary sponsor in at least one race for 2021 with Martins behind the wheel.