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MOORESVILLE, N.C. (AP) -- Ginn Racing replaced Sterling Marlin in its No. 14 Chevrolet with 23-year-old rookie Regan Smith on Tuesday, and released veteran Joe Nemechek.

Jay Frye, Ginn Racing's CEO and general manager, also said that Aric Almirola, another 23-year-old, signed with Ginn Racing from Joe Gibbs Racing and will become Mark Martin's co-driver in the No. 01 Chevrolet for the remainder of this season. Almirola will also share the ride with the veteran racer in 2008.


``A lot has been said about our program recently and this shows we've been working hard to solidify our future,'' Frye said. ``We are very excited about Aric joining our U.S. Army team to co-drive with Mark. He is a talented young driver, as is Regan, who has proved this season that he is ready to take full control of a Nextel Cup ride. These two 23-year-old drivers are the groundwork for future success.

``We appreciate everything that Joe and Sterling have done for us,'' added Frye. ``They have been a class act.''

Beginning with the July 29 race at Indianapolis, Smith will replace two-time Daytona 500 winner Marlin, who turned 50 on June 30. He was 29th in the season points with no finish better than 13th.

Frye said a lack of sponsorship forced to the team release Nemechek and evaluate the future of the No. 13 car. The 43-year-old Nemechek had one top-10 finish this season -- ninth in the season-opening Daytona 500 -- and was 33rd in the standings.

Marlin, a 30-year veteran in NASCAR, joined Ginn Racing following the 2005 season. Nemechek joined the team, then called MB2 Motorsports, with four races remaining in the 2003 season. He drove the No. 01 car before taking over the No. 13 ride at the beginning of this season. While in the 01 car, he had one win and three poles.

Smith, who has competed in five Nextel Cup races this season while sharing the ride with Martin, was ranked fifth in Busch points before his No. 4 team scaled back after the 16th race.

``I am ready to go and take advantage of another Ginn Racing opportunity,'' Smith said. ``This is a quality organization with great equipment. I have learned so much this year driving with Mark and you can bet that I will continue to seek his advice. I am also excited about having Aric as a new teammate.''

Almirola, a Tampa, Fla., native of Cuban descent, was one of Joe Gibbs Racing's first prospects in the company's diversity program founded by Gibbs and the late Reggie White, an initiative that traces its roots back to 2003.

He will make his Ginn Racing debut Aug. 12 on the road course in Watkins Glen, N.Y. As part of his contractual obligations, Almirola will also compete in five more Busch races for JGR this season.

``I am so excited about this opportunity,'' said Almirola, who has three Busch Series poles and a victory, as he co-drove with Denny Hamlin to win The Milwaukee Mile. ``To share a ride with Mark Martin and have him as a driving coach is awesome.

``I can't thank Joe Gibbs Racing enough for what they've done for me. They allowed me to get to this position by giving me a chance at a time when I had a lot of desire but little money. The equipment they gave me and the people they surrounded me with made me a better race car driver and a better person. They saw what this opportunity with Ginn Racing meant to me, and they didn't stand in the way. Joe Gibbs Racing will always have a special place in my heart.''
 

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Nah, I'd see it like this:

8: Mark Martin full-time
15: Paul Menard
1: Martin Truex Jr.
01: Aric Almirola

That's IF they dont' get Kyle Busch or another top driver.

send Regan Smith packing. He's just not that good.
 

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so if im following correctly, smith takes over in the 14, almirola splits with martin in the 01 and the 13 is done? if so i know theres some teams who could use there owner points i can see mikey driving that #13 just to get into races.
 

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Regan is a helluva driver. His first starts were at Talladega, Bristol, Martinsville, Sonoma and NH. He finished every single one without a scratch on the car. His finishes weren't great but neither are Mark's lately. Marlin and Nemechek are just out of shape, inconsistent and need to retire. I would love to have DEI and Ginn merge but I hate that Menard is still in the mix. He is terrible.
 

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I had a feeling it would come to this. Ginn is like MWR #2. They have 2 old guys and 1 young guy if you count Regan Smith instead of Martin. Marlin and Nemechek are past their prime and should hang it up. I know it must be extremely difficult to quit doing what you love to do but I can't imagine it's very fun running in 30th place and being constantly off the lead lap. I know I would get tired of that real quick. It also seems to me that Bobby Ginn is coming to the realization that he dove in too quickly. Sure multiple car teams are the way to go but Ginn expanded far too quickly and it came back to bite them in the ass. I would have tried to get 1 car running competitively and then expanded instead of starting with 2 cars that run mediocre and expanding to a 3rd mediocre team.
 

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That's the same problem with MWR right now, can't handle more than 1 car, but at least they get a car in the race!!
 
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