Mark Martin has picked up his new number. And it carries a nod to the history of the team's sponsor.
Martin and teammate/team co-owner Michael Waltrip's NASCAR Sprint Cup entry will carry the No. 55 during the 2012 and 2013 seasons. Martin, 52, drove the No. 5 for Hendrick Motorsports in 2011.
The new number commemorates Charlie Loudermilk's founding of Aaron's, Inc., the Michael Waltrip Racing team's sponsor, in 1955.
Martin will drive in 25 Sprint Cup events each of the next two seasons, sharing the No. 55 Aaron's Dream Machine with Waltrip, who will drive seven events with the company's sponsorshup.
Martin, who has 40 career Cup wins to his credit, joins Clint Bowyer and Martin Truex Jr. in the MWR stable of drivers.
He will begin his schedule with the team in the season-opening Daytona 500. Waltrip will run the remaining restrictor-plate races, plus the race at his homestead track, Kentucky Speedway.
MWR plans to run a combination of drivers and sponsor partners to fill the remaining races when Martin and Waltrip are not behind the wheel.
"I love it, a new team, a new car and a new number," Martin said. "The car number means a lot to the driver. We talked about a lot of different number options, but the number 55 means a lot to Aaron's and to Michael, so I am proud to drive it."
Waltrip raced the No. 55 at Bill Davis Racing in 2006 and again in 2007-2009, the first three years of MWR's existence.
"This means a lot to me," said Waltrip. "I know how far MWR has come since we started with the No. 55 NAPA Toyota and how much we've grown heading into 2012. To get back into the No. 55 Toyota in 2012 and share driving duties with a first ballot hall of famer in Mark Martin is certainly an honor."