NASCAR Xfinity Series team Martins Motorsports will be getting an identity change for 2022. On Monday, the organisation announced it will rebrand to Alpha Prime Racing as part of a partnership between owner/driver Tommy Joe Martins and Caesar Bacarella. The two will share the #44 Chevrolet Camaro with Rajah Carruth, whose arrival will also mark his first foray into the Xfinity Series.
“I want to build something,” Bacarella said in a press release. “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.”
Bacarella, the CEO of the Alpha Prime sports apparel brand, has competed part-time in the Xfinity Series since 2017. Currently driving for DGM Racing, his best finish in twenty career starts is twelfth in the 2021 season opener at Daytona. He mainly races in sports cars, particularly the Lamborghini Blancpain World Challenge America GT3 class, and he won the GT World Challenge America Am class championship in 2019 a year after claiming the Pirelli World Challenge SprintX GT Am title. Bacarella will continue his GT3 slate in addition to his NASCAR duties.
Martins and the family-owned Martins Motorsports first appeared in the Xfinity Series in 2014, though a lack of stable funding resulted in periods of dormancy before finally being able to compete full-time beginning in 2020. That year, he scored his first NASCAR national series top ten when he finished tenth at Texas. After twenty-three races in 2021, he sits a career-best eighteenth in points with a best run of eleventh at Talladega.
In July, Martins told TobyChristie.com that he intended to scale back his driving schedule and allow for other drivers to pilot the #44. He asserted the decision does not indicate financial trouble for the team and rather the operation had “maxed out” its capabilities if Martins alone remained in the seat, and that the move would help elevate its performances. Nevertheless, his specific schedule for 2022 is contingent on sponsorship and tracks that he feels he excels at, and he is expected to run approximately ten to fifteen events.
“Caesar is such a great dude,” stated Martins. “He actually called me asking about what would it take to start a team. I told him a whole lot.
“I mentioned my dad and Rodney (Riessen, co-owner) wanting to take a step back and proposed the idea of a partnership. 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.”
The interview with TC.com also teased the arrival of Carruth, a 19-year-old Drive for Diversity member who races in the ARCA Menards Series East for Rev Racing. In seven rounds, he is sixth in the standings with four top tens, two top fives, and a best finish of third at Southern National Motorsports Park. He also made two starts in the national ARCA Menards Series, placing tenth in his début at Iowa in July.
“I’m extremely honoured 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 commented. “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.”
Carruth will race at Martinsville, Dover, and Richmond. Additional starts require sponsorship but can come at Kansas and Pocono.
“Rajah is the future for us,” added Martins. “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 honoured they trust us to be one of his first steps.”