Ken Gilreath Sponsors Tommy Joe Martins
Ken Gilreath Sponsors Tommy Joe Martins in the NASCAR Xfinity Race Series 2020.
Tommy Joe Martins
“I once heard Darrell Waltrip talking about a go-kart he saw in front of a department store. He had never raced before, but he knew if he could ever get in a seat, that he’d be good at it. I don’t come from a family of racers. I don’t come from a family with a lot of money. I’ve always tried to race as hard as I could with what I had, and I’ve been fortunate to be able to do it for a long time.
While I was in high school (a very late start for most racers nowadays) I raced dirt track go-karts regionally around my hometown of Como, MS. After a good bit of success, I moved up to racing part-time in the WKA Speedway dirt and pavement series. This is how I got my first taste of racing on a national scale.
From there, things took a weird turn. I laid off racing for over 3 years while I graduated high school and began attending Ole Miss pursuing a Journalism degree. But, in 2008, I got a chance to race a 350Z in the SCCA T2 division. It started off as a hobby, a fun thing to do with my father, but we found out pretty quickly that I had some talent.
All in all, we won five national events and six more regional events, setting three track records along the way. At the end of the year, we began to reevaluate racing’s place in my life and had to decide whether I should pursue it as a career. I knew I wanted to race in NASCAR. It was what I had dreamed of as a child. Luckily for me, it also fits my driving style.
A Deal Gone Wrong
I signed a driver development deal with Nashville based Baker Curb Racing in late 2008. Unfortunately, because of a lack of sponsorship, the deal fell through.
Thankfully, my family was able to pick up the slack and keep me racing late models locally at Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway. Also, eventually in the ASA Challenge Series in 2009. We came so close to race wins at Salem, Nashville & Memphis, but still managed to record a couple of top fives and a pole with very limited experience.”
Now, Ken Gilreath sponsors Tommy Joe Martins in the NASCAR Xfinity Race Series as he drives the AAN Adjusters car as well as the Red Angus car.