2017 Year in Review: Conner Martell
FINISH: 4th in GRC Lites points
2017 RESULTS: 11 starts, 3 wins, 6 podiums, 14 heat wins, 656 points
2016 RESULTS: 11 starts, 2 wins, 3 podiums, 4 heat wins, 416 points
THE GOOD: 2016 was a respectable, if slightly uneven, season for Martell in his first year with DirtFish Motorsports, and it showed plenty of promise for the future. It didn’t take the Vermont native long to capitalize on that promise as he won the season opener in Memphis and backed it up in Louisville with another podium finish to keep control of the points lead into New England.
As the season continued, Martell established himself as one of Cyril Raymond’s top threats for the points lead on a weekly basis. He held Raymond off one-on-one in Atlantic City, and capped the year with a perfect weekend in Los Angeles for his third victory of the season. When all was said and done, he was one of only two drivers to earn double-digit heat wins on the season, with 14 in all.
THE BAD: No driver ever wants to miss a race, but Martell suffered a hard wreck in the final laps of the first Seattle final and sat out the second round at Evergreen Speedway. As such, last year’s Seattle winner found himself unable to defend that victory on either day, and he slid back to fourth in the championship—although his Los Angeles win almost forced him back up to third.
There were a handful of other races Martell would have liked a second chance at, however. He wasn’t able to take a podium at his home event in New England, taking a championship-altering last place finish on Saturday, and a sixth-place finish in the Indianapolis final enabled other title contenders to grab a few extra points on him. However, he still earned eight top fives on the year.
IN THEIR OWN WORDS: “I’m happy with how the season went—the Dirtfish team and I were a lot more consistent, and we were second for most of the time. Unfortunately, we had a bad wreck in Seattle and it caused us not to be able to race the next day. Our championship kind of blew away there. But I’m really happy with how we did this year. We’ve stepped up our game, and it’s gone really well.”
2018 PROGNOSIS: Martell would’ve been one or two spots higher in the standings if not for the race he sat out. He’s ready for a Supercar drive.
Photo credit: Louis Yio