Caesar Bacarella is partnering with Tommy Joe Martins to form a new NASCAR Xfinity Series team beginning in 2022. Starting with the 2021 season, Martins Motorsports will become Alpha Prime Racing (APR).
The team’s first driver signing: ARCA standout Rajah Caruth.
The news comes just weeks after Martins Motorsports owner/driver Tommy Joe Martins announced he wouldn’t compete full time in the No. 44 car next season, opening up the seat to other potential drivers. For APR Racing CEO and NASCAR Xfinity Series part-timer Caesar Bacarella, it was an opportunity too good to pass up.
“I want to build something,” Bacarella said. “I love this sport. That’s why I do it. I’ve known Tommy and his dad since 2018, and when I saw the news about them going part time, I started asking questions. It led to a discussion about ownership, which is something I’d already been thinking about.”
Martins shares the excitement with his new co-owner.
“Caesar is such a great dude. “He actually called me asking about what would it take to start a team. I told him a whole lot,” Martins laughed.
“I mentioned my dad and Rodney [Riessen, co-owner of MMS] wanting to take a step back and proposed the idea of a partnership,” Martins continued. “It’s a perfect situation for both of us. He brings so much business knowledge and marketing savvy to the table for us, and obviously I’ve been through the school of hard knocks racing wise. I think we complement each other really well.”
The first order of business for APR? Filling out the driver roster for the 2022 schedule. Bacarella will run a limited NASCAR Xfinity Series schedule while competing for a Lamborghini Blancpain World Challenge America GT3 championship with TR3 Racing. Martins expects to run between 10-15 races for the team. But both owners seem to be most excited about their new prospect, Rajah Caruth.
“Rajah is the future for us,” Martins said. “I’ve had the privilege of getting to know him and his dad, Roger, over the last few months and they are exactly the type of people we want to be a part of Alpha Prime Racing. Rajah has his whole career in front of him. I’m just honored they trust us to be one of his first steps.”
Bacarella was more matter of fact about the young driver.
“He’s going to be a star,” Caesar said. “No question about it.”
Rajah’s confirmed schedule in the No. 44 car includes Martinsville Speedway, Dover International Speedway and Richmond Raceway. Martins left the door open to additional races for the young driver at Pocono Raceway and Kansas Speedway pending additional sponsorship.
A focus of the schedule is maintaining Rajah’s rookie status in the NASCAR Xfinity Series heading into the 2023 season, as he will continue competing in the ARCA Menards Series in 2022 for Rev Racing as part of the NASCAR Drive for Diversity Program.
“I’m extremely honored to have the opportunity to continue my progression as both a racer and a young man in the NASCAR Xfinity Series in 2022 with Tommy, Caesar and Alpha Prime Racing,” Caruth said. “I’ve had the great fortune of having such great people surrounding me thus far in my career, and I’m ecstatic to add some more to that circle with APR.”
Caruth, 19, has been a member of the NASCAR Drive for Diversity Program since 2018. He currently competes full time in the ARCA Menards Series East for Rev Racing where he has scored four top 10s and two top fives in six starts. He has also competed part time in the NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series, scoring wins at Hickory Motor Speedway and Tri-County Motor Speedway this year.
“2021 has been a great season for us at Rev Racing in both the NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series and the ARCA Menards East,” Caruth said. “I’m excited to finish out our year stoutly.”
Martins currently sits 18th in the NASCAR Xfinity Series driver standings with four top-15 and 13 top-20 finishes in 22 starts. Bacarella said the strong performance of the small family team is what drew him in.
“They’ve been running so good,’ Caesar said. “I mean, they’re fast every week. They’ve got great people. They’re doing it the right way. That’s what I want Alpha Prime Racing to be. I want to help take it to the next level.”