Mark Martin will drive the No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series while Denny Hamlin recovers from an injury suffered March 24 at Auto Club Speedway.
Hamlin crashed hard on the last lap of the Auto Club 400 and will be sidelined while recovering from an L-1 compression fracture of his lower back.
"We’ve never been in this situation, with the need to find someone to fill in for an injured driver," said JGR President J.D. Gibbs. "A lot goes into a decision like this. We're pleased to have someone of the character and caliber of Mark Martin to fill in while Denny is out. We’re not sure how long that will be, but Mark’s career speaks for itself and our team knows it will have the opportunity to compete for a win every week."
Martin will make his first Cup Series start for JGR in the STP Gas Booster 500 on April 7 at Martinsville Speedway. Martin has made one previous appearance for JGR in the Nationwide Series, finishing second (to Ricky Stenhouse Jr.) in March 2012 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
"I’m happy to have this opportunity to help out JGR, FedEx and Denny," said Martin, who also runs a partial Sprint Cup Series schedule for Michael Waltrip Racing. "Hopefully, I can keep these guys up front and compete for wins while Denny heals."
"I hate not being in the car right now, but I appreciate Mark being able to fill in for me," Hamlin said. "Like everyone in NASCAR, I have a tremendous amount of respect for him and I know he'll keep the car up-front until I get back behind the wheel."