Dedication and Determination Gets Dylan Martin to Daytona

Dylan Martin headshotNo one can explain why the race fuel smells sweeter and the horsepower feels stronger at a NASCAR track, but that is something every driver knows. When the lights come on at every local short track across the US, there isn’t one strapped-in driver that doesn’t dream about taking the green flag at Daytona International Speedway. Well folks, this weekend Dylan Martin, the young driver out of Lakeland, Florida, will get his chance. He has worked extremely hard for this incredible opportunity that is coming in the shape of a 700 Horsepower ARCA car. January 15th, Dylan will be testing in an ARCA car for Empire Racing LLC/Grumpy's Performance on the high banks of Daytona. The testing will allow him to race in the ARCA series this season with Empire Racing LLC/Grumpy's Performance. You heard me correctly, Dylan Martin will be competing in the ARCA series this season and that is just the beginning of some phenomenal news. So sit back, buckle up and hold on as you take a ride on Dylan’s journey from local short track racing to the world renowned Daytona International Speedway.

DSC_0009This little boy put a helmet on in May 2009 without ever knowing if he would get a chance to be on a NASCAR track. Dylan started racing Midgets around the age of 10. He had tried different sports but nothing felt quite right. Then it happened, he saved his money to buy a dirt bike. Here he felt at home, with speed came the adrenaline rush he was looking for but after a bad wreck it seemed his dream of going fast dwindled. But Dylan wasn’t giving up that easily. He convinced his parents that 4 wheels were safer than 2 and he soon found himself racing Midget cars all over the Southeast. With great success, he quickly jumped into a Pro Truck at the age of 13. This is when Dylan teamed up with Chad Pierce Motorsports. It didn’t take long before Dylan’s famous #7 found itself in victory lane. With Chad as his crew chief the move to Super Late Models was the next obvious step. Dylan realized very quickly in his racing career that the only way to find success was to surround himself with a hardworking knowledgeable team and that he did.

Chad Pierce was more than Dylan’s crew chief. For over 3 years, he mentored him not only on how to drive his racecar but how to race his competitors. After many wins and taking on the challenge of a variety of tracks, it is time for Dylan Martin to take the next step to further his career. Chad smiled as he loaded up Dylan’s Super Late Model for the last time, “I have watched Dylan grow from a quiet, shy young man into a confident, personable, talented young man who is dedicated to his craft.”

DSC_0028As Dylan’s racing career was speeding forward, he was also learning that his racing could do more than just bring him checkered flags. The realization that his racing could actually help others was pretty cool to this young teenage driver. He worked just as hard off the track as his fans were seeing him work on the track. Within the first year, Dylan had made over 70 personal appearances at everything from children’s daycares to the Shriner’s Hospital. He became a regular site at numerous hospitals, schools and fundraising events. His charitable efforts include raising over $25,000 for the C.A.R.S. kids (terminally and seriously ill children) and because of the unbelievable amount of caring he has shown his community he was named a Bay News 9 Everyday Hero.

Dylan’s caring empathetic heart is another obvious reason Empire Racing chose him. The fan base that follows Dylan isn’t just because he can wheel a racecar but also because they have watched him truly make a difference in their community. It is perfect to see him team up with a racing organization that has a heart for giving back like he does. Empire has partnered with Warriors In The Workplace, an organization dedicated to helping our men and women who have served this country return to the workplace after being discharged from the military. They've also partnered with the organization B.R.A.K.E.S. in an effort to bring awareness to the dangers of distracted driving. Both of these partnerships will allow Dylan to continue the work of touching lives through his racing. He will also continue supporting the organizations he has grown to love like the Sunshine Foundation, The Shriner's Hospitals, C.A.R.S. Racing For A Dream, St. Joseph's Children Hospitals and the Anchor House.

DSC_0015"I am very excited to have Dylan in our camp here at Empire for the 2016 race season. I am looking forward to getting to work with Dylan and his family. Based on Dylan's past record, I expect he will progress rapidly up through our Driver-Development program. My goal for Dylan is to have him in one of our NASCAR CAMPING WORLD Trucks by the end of this year. Dylan, his family and I have mapped out an aggressive schedule for Dylan and I am confident he is up for the challenge,” Mike "Grumpy" Cheek, from # 82 Empire Racing Group said. To make this happen Dylan will be moving to Mooresville, NC the first week of February where he will be a driver in their Driver Development program. The aggressive schedule “Grumpy” discussed is looking like 8 Late Model Stock races; 7 Super Late Model races; 3 ARCA series races all leading up to a NASCAR Camping World Truck race at Martinsville in October. Dylan’s entire race schedule and personal appearances will be on his website

Orchestrating the introduction between Dylan and Empire was Dylan’s friend, Garrett Smithley, a NASCAR driver for Grumpy's Performance/Empire Racing in the 2015 season. This friendship developed through their mutual website designer, Daniel Lyon of LLC. They became good friends over the years and Garrett felt Dylan's driving skills and his desire to succeed in racing would make him a good fit for the program. Garrett said, "I've known Dylan for a while now as mutual clients, and it's been great to see him progress through racing. He has always impressed me with his driving ability, but even more impressive is how much he does for the Children's Hospitals and his community in Florida. I'm eager to see him make the jump to the ARCA series, and his progression throughout the year. I'm glad I was able to play a role in getting him to the next step he deserves.”

DSC_0004 (2)So as you can see it has taken dedication to his sport, a lot of determination and a team of good people to help get Dylan to Daytona. A true racer is more than just a driver who is a fierce competitor on the track. They will crawl out of the racecar, take their helmet off and when they shake your hand you feel the appreciation in their grip and see the passion and excitement in their eyes. Dylan’s heart may pump horsepower and he may breathe racing fuel but what drives him is wanting to compete against the best, wherever and in whatever that might be.

Dylan’s parents, Michael and Staci with tears in their eyes but smiles on their faces said, “We're excited about the relationship between Dylan and Empire Racing LLC/Grumpy's Performance. This is a new turn in Dylan's path and we are elated for what's ahead for Dylan. He couldn't have gotten here without the support of so many. The hundreds of people who believed in Dylan. The thousands of fans that support him and the many that poured their blood, sweat and tears into Dylan's career. It is with sadness that he leaves his hometown, but with incredible joy of knowing he is following his dreams and the path that he has worked so hard for.”

DSC_0026 (2)Lastly, Dylan wanted everyone to know, “I'm really excited to be a part of Empire and can't wait to see what this year holds for me and the team! I can't thank Garrett Smithley enough for all his help as well! This is going to be a huge step for me, from being a local super late model driver to moving into the hub of racing and racing as a Development driver for Empire Racing LLC. I know it's not going to be easy but I know whatever happens is going to be well worth it. I'm moving up there and I'm going to take every opportunity to learn as much as possible.”

To stay updated with all of Dylan’s events and races go to

(Press Release Credit to Kim Scheffler, “Good luck, my racin’ buddy. Be safe and have fun”)

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