Podcast: How to Make Fast Business Moves with NASCAR Driver Tommy Joe Martins

Tommy Joe Martins, driver of the SkyView Partners #44 Camaro in the NASCAR Xfinity Series joins Scott Wetzel and Mike Langford fun conversation about why fast cars are more fun than golf and the value of moving fast in business to capitalize on opportunities when they present themselves.

To listen to the episode simply click play on the audio stream below or listen and subscribe on your favorite podcast platform. You can find The Advisor Financing Forum on Apple PodcastsSpotify, and Stitcher.

Transcript

Mike:

Listeners, start your engines because we are going racing on this episode of the Advisor Financing Forum Podcast. My name is Mike Langford and today, Scott Wetzel and I are joined by Tommy Joe Martins, the driver of No. 44 SkyView Partner's Camaro in the NASCAR Xfinity Series. This is a departure from our earlier podcast episodes, which were all focused more on traditional topics relevant to financing, economics, and other concepts for RIAs and independent advisors. Here's the thing though, first, you're going to love this episode. The conversation is like next level from an engagement and an entertainment perspective. Second, I promise you are likely going to learn a few things that you could apply in your business. It's always good to expand your horizons and look outside our own businesses for new ideas and concepts so we can grow.

Mike:

So when Scott and Katie Bruner teed up the idea of having Tommy Joe Martins join us for a Zoom call to record an episode of the podcast, I was like, "I'm all over it. Let's do it." Now, a couple of quick observations before we get to it. You are going to get a feel for why Scott and the SkyView team are so successful. Pay attention to the vision and the mindset toward new ideas. Also, notice the willingness to move fast and aggressively. It's really good stuff.

Mike:

As for Tommy Joe Martins, mark my words, whether he becomes the next Richard Petty or Dale Earnhardt, or he decides to hang up his driving gloves before he's 30, Tommy is likely going to be in the lives of racing fans for a very long time. He is incredibly charismatic, smart, and a ton of fun. Of course, as Scott says, he's pretty handsome too, so that doesn't hurt. I have a feeling Tommy could make the jump to broadcasting any day he wants. I mean, he's a natural. So trust me, he's going to be around for a long time, so get to know him now while you're getting in on the ground floor with Tommy.

Mike:

Okay, you know the drill. Make sure you click that subscribe button and give the podcast a like and a share. You know some of the folks in your network are NASCAR fans and they are going to love this conversation. Also, if you have a question or suggestion for the podcast, make sure you ping us at podcasts@skyview.com or hit up the team on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram. If you want to see the car and its throwback design as we're going to be talking about, there's plenty of pictures on all of those social platforms. Okay? All right. I see the green flag waving. It's time. Let's hit it with Scott and Tommy.

Mike:

All right. Tommy Joe Martins. Scott Wetzel. Let's go racing! Good morning to you guys.

Tommy:

Morning, Mike.

Scott:

Well, I'm not racing anything. We leave that to Tommy. Let's leave that in the hands of the expert. I mean, I think he's at the wheel right now as we speak, right?

Tommy:

That's right. At the desk wheel and I was racing to the coffee machine first thing this morning, Mike. But it's good to talk to you.

Mike:

That's fantastic. It's funny, for those who can't see you, before we clicked record here, Tommy showed us that he's actually sitting at his Twitch setup. For those of you who don't know what Twitch is, it's a streaming service for gaming. Amazon bought it a few years ago for a couple billion dollars, so obviously it's a big deal. It's a really fancy setup, but he's got the actual racing steering wheel set up there. So we're kind of only half-joking about let's go racing. He could take us racing at any minute.

Tommy:

Oh, I could fire that up on another window right now, if you guys really want me to. We could be going in the background.

Mike:

That would be awesome. Very cool. Hey, so I think the fun way to kick this off, and kudos to Scott for suggesting this, is how did Martins Motorsports and SkyView Partners come together? Because at first glance, you're like, "Oh, well, SkyView is this relatively new company, only a few years old." Then next thing you're like, "We're sponsoring a NASCAR company. This is awesome. It's really cool." As a racing fan, just I'm a fan of all racing, it was really neat for me to see that.

Tommy:

Well, I can say it was the single handed luckiest sponsorship deal that I've ever had in my entire life. But as far as how that came together, I want to give it over to Scott to explain that because Scott, I still want a little bit of an explanation. So you guys decided to do this at Darlington on NASCAR's return, but you had 100 drivers to pick from and I wound up being the guy that got picked to represent SkyView. I'm very thankful for that, but just, I'm curious because I want to know.

Scott:

You're the only guy that would take us, Tommy Joe. Are you kidding me? No. So I have to give all the credit in the world to Oscar Zejdlik. He's one of our junior guys here. I will tell you that our credit and investment banking team here is run by a lot of policies and procedures, but fortunately, I've kept more control, I guess, overs sales and marketing decisions. That means that there's not a lot of policies and procedures about how we go about things. So over the weekend, I said, "Hey, Oscar, this is super cool. NASCAR's actually coming back." I've never been to a race. I don't think I've actually watched a NASCAR race to the end in my life. I've seen Days of Thunder and loved it and I had to re-watch it, and Talladega Nights, I re-watched that. I said, "Hey, let's do this. You need to do all the work though, Oscar, and go through and find a driver that you think would represent SkyView in a manner that is consistent with what we're doing and the optics that we desire."

Scott:

Your peers, Tommy, they're just not as good looking and not as smooth as you, so it was a pretty easy decision. We got on the phone with Tommy and felt like we had a great rapport with Tommy and really appreciate his level of maturity. He's certainly represented our organization in a manner that we're extremely grateful for. So it was a rather haphazard decision to start the process, and I just feel like we got really lucky.

Mike:

Tommy, how did you know it was a good fit? Because no, look, I mean, I understand it's a business, right? So you're just looking for sponsors. You're always looking to have money to make sure the team could race and so forth. Totally get that. But you do have a choice, right? Of what goes on the side of that car and who you represent and who you hitch your fast wagon to there. How do you know it was a good fit for you?

Tommy:

They came in with a mindset of trying to make something happen pretty quickly. I think the main hook for them, and for SkyView at the beginning of this, was they wanted to be a part of the return of NASCAR. They wanted to be a part of that first race back for our series, the NASCAR Xfinity Series. We were going to be one of the first ones on track. So that was it. They wanted to be part of that opening weekend. So we had a pretty finite amount of time to make that happen. It was like 10 days basically. So they were very motivated to get it done, but also I think they were really just intrigued by it. I mean, Scott made that really clear, that he's like, "Look, we've sponsored other sports before. I just don't know a lot about this. I kind of want to dip my toe in the water here and I'm trusting that you're not going to try to screw me over basically."

Tommy:

I feel like I've kind of been well-known in NASCAR over the last few years of being pretty upfront about what everything costs. I've been very outspoken about that. I've written blogs about it. I went to journalism school at the University of Mississippi. So that's the thing that I did, was speak openly about the prices of stuff. I think that's what led Oscar, and I think a few other people in the SkyView office, to me where they were like, "Well, he's not going to screw you over. He's going to at least be honest with how much this actually costs." I think that's kind of where it started.

Tommy:

Then obviously the timeframe that we had to work with and now staying in contact. We've talked so much week to week and race to race. I think Scott and everybody at SkyView have had a lot of fun with this, seeing a car on track with their logo on it, having somebody to root for in a pro sport that's on TV every week now like we are. I think there's just kind of a connectivity there where I feel like I'm representing them on a national scale and they've got somebody on a national scale that's competing.

Scott:

Well, all I can say is I would never have guessed that one guy from Northern Minnesota and another from Mississippi would just talk over the phone. We didn't even have the opportunity to have a handshake. We've never had a contract. But I'm picking up y'alls and a little bit of a Southern accent through this. I feel like I've got the excuse to finally do it for the first time in my life. So I put y'alls in emails and conference calls and my staff said, "You can't pull this off," and I said, "Hey, look. We're a part of Martins Motorsports. I can do whatever I want now, so y'all are going to have to deal with it." Right? We've never had a contract in place and that's allowed us to get this done in very short order, unlike the rest of our business which takes forever to get anything done. But mired with attorneys and investment bankers and everything else. Tommy's right, this has been a ton of fun for all of us. So we really appreciate the opportunity.

Tommy:

The speed of this, I want to follow up with this. This is the part of this that doesn't really happen. Like when I've done sponsorship deals in the past, it's a month, two months ahead of time. Pre-approval process with a car, back and forth. Okay, the money. All right. Well, we're going to pay you a little bit here and then it's going to be a payment thing and it's going to be all this. It was just, "Okay, here it is." I think we turned the car around in what? Like two days, Scott? It was basically two days?

Scott:

Yeah.

Tommy:

Yeah, he was like, "All right, where do I wire the money? Here it is." The whole process was done realistically in three days from when we announced it to the first phone call. So that's just kind of unheard of. So it was a lot of fun being a part of it and it was exciting. It was like this is a new sponsor coming to the sport and I'm the one getting to represent him. I told Scott when this happened. I said, "Scott, you're about to get a lot of phone calls from other people in NASCAR because they're going to want to know who the heck is this that's just stepping up and sponsoring a race car out of nowhere." True enough, they did and they been really cool with the... I think they still stay so supportive of me.

Tommy:

Now we put together another race where we're going to be up here in Road America, which I believe is the closest racetrack to you guys up there. It's in Wisconsin, but still, there's no racetracks in Minnesota. So we're trying to get as close as we can up there and putting this together to represent SkyView L.A. and the opening of that office out there. I think the car looks absolutely awesome. So this is just a case, Mike, of something getting thrown together really quickly that I think was kind of honestly a half-baked idea that clearly has gotten baked properly over the last few months. It's been a lot of fun for both of us.

Mike:

That's really cool, that serendipity stuff happens.

Scott:

Well, and we pride ourselves on acting with a lot of urgency at SkyView in everything we do and getting things done. It's rare that we find a partner... We do have partners that act with the same urgency, but it's rare, especially under this time table that we were dealing with, especially with this race. You came together really fast. So it's certainly been appreciated from a cultural and from a professional standpoint that Tommy's team, they're getting things done as quickly or faster than we are. I don't think we've ever turned over the creative aspect of actually designing anything from a branding standpoint to another organization. We've given some ideas and we hand it over to Tommy's team and they come back with just outstanding stuff that we are thrilled with every time. Like Tommy sent me the mock ups, I think maybe late Saturday, and it was the first line. I just said, "Well, I don't think we need to change this at all. Let's just do it." We were both in agreement that it looked good and, yeah, his team's been awesome to work with.

Mike:

That's fantastic. So Scott, you mentioned something earlier when we talked about how did you know it was a good fit and how did you guys come together that you were a novice at best. I would be generous, a novice at NASCAR. You had watched a little bit of Daytona, this and that, and watched some of the movies that were NASCAR-based, if you will. I think that's like many people in America are just... this is new, right? But I read your bio that you wrote, your autobiographical bio, Tommy, about how you love the sport, you loved racing in general, then you traveled throughout your career to NASCAR and the Xfinity Series. NASCAR feels a little bit like soccer for a lot of Americans, right? In other words, as an example, I've watched soccer. World Cup. I've watched the Olympics. But I'm not a raging soccer fan, right? Although we are getting a Major League soccer team here in Austin, Texas, so maybe I will become one at some point in time.

Mike:

So I have a feeling a lot of people are kind of like Scott. They know a little bit about it, but not a lot. What makes it so special? Like what's that thing that makes... Because you see the fan base, right? You watch a game under normal circumstances, and we have crowds in the stands and so forth. It's really off the charts. What makes it so special, not only for you as a driver, somebody that aspired to be in that sport, but also you think culturally across the country?

Tommy:

I think fast cars are always going to sell. I mean, I think that's... I think just as Americans, I think there's always going to be an attraction to that. Obviously there's a danger element to what we do and that's part of it. As a driver, that's something that obviously is part of the job, but also part of the thrill of doing something well, something that's really dangerous and being good at it and controlled on a car that you're driving on the edge of control. I mean, there's something kind of... For me as a competitor, doing that against the other best people in the world at it, I mean, obviously that's something that's fun for me. But I think you're talking more of the general sphere of what makes NASCAR so cool.

Tommy:

I think NASCAR's just part of Americana, especially in a region of the country. You're equating NASCAR to soccer, I think it's probably a more direct appearance than like hockey. Like hockey is a national sport and a lot of people care about hockey. But primarily hockey is more of a regional sport, right? It's more of a Northern sport where the diehards are and NASCAR is the same way. Like NASCAR is a national sport, but it's primarily a regional sport. Southeastern kind of side of the country. That's where the diehards are. That's a thing where our fans are probably some of the most loyal fans in the entire world. I think that's what led SkyView over to us, is this idea of NASCAR when they're planting their flag in the ground and said, "Okay, look, we're coming back. We're going to be the first sport coming back. We think we've got a plan to do this safely."

Tommy:

Honestly, NASCAR had a lot of advantages to do this safely where for me as a driver, I don't have to interact with dozens of other people like on a basketball court. Right? Like I can quarantine myself and just get in the car and go and get out and leave, and the rest of the team can wear face coverings and gloves and fire suits and separate a little bit more. So NASCAR had a lot of advantages with this in coming back and being that first sport to take that step forward. I just think NASCAR as a whole, it's not going anywhere. Are we a little bit of a niche sport? Yeah, but it's a pretty big niche. We were the biggest watched telecast on TV last weekend and that's with the NBA restarting, Major League Baseball restart, all this over stuff.

Tommy:

NASCAR focuses the attention on just a few things, right? Whereas other sports, it's spread out. There are 30 teams in the league and they're all playing, and yeah, there's a big game. But with us, there's only a couple of games a week.

Mike:

Yeah, yeah. That's a very good point.

Tommy:

So all the attention's right here. All the action's going to happen in these few spots at this track and you get to know the drivers pretty well off the track. I think that creates a little bit of the fun to this. I think that's when the fans really get loyal and when brands get loyal, when they're like, "Look, this is our guy. He's representing me out there on the track." When it becomes personal, I think that's when fans really get connected.

Mike:

Very, very cool.

Scott:

Mike, I'd like to add something to that, to the analogy train as well. I appreciate the soccer and the NHL analogy, however, I'd say maybe it's more analogous to a Kiss concert, right? You hear Kiss on the album, they're good, they're great. But then you go to a Kiss concert and you're in and you're in for life. You're buying all the albums, right? I had gone to the Indy 500 growing up as a kid and I'm still interested in the Indy 500, but that's the only race I've really been to and been a part of. If I had never been to the race, I wouldn't be watching it every year or going, right? If I had never gone to that Kiss concert, I wouldn't listen to Kiss when I work out. I mean, I just do. It works, right?

Mike:

That's a good one. I love that. I never thought about the analogy of that. It is true with a lot of sports, right? Like some sports, you got to go to just get the smell. You go to a race, you get the smell of the fuel, the rubber on the road, right?

Tommy:

Mike, that's the big thing that I am bummed about this year more than anything else. This is not just for our partners, but for just kind of everybody, that we can't have fans at a lot of these races now. It's coming back. Like this weekend at Road America, they're going to have fans. Scott, you're going to be there. This is going to be NASCAR race time for you.

Mike:

All right.

Tommy:

But I want to be able to provide that seat on the pit box on pit road and get everybody just right up in it because that... I talked to FedEx. I'm from Memphis, Tennessee and the Northeast Mississippi area, and FedEx, obviously based in Memphis, they sponsored Denny Hamlin, a driver in the Cup Series for a long time. I talked to the guy that was the VP of marketing for FedEx, so we're talking like high up guy. I said, "Man, you guys are probably spending 20, $30 million a year on this. What do you see as the return on this? I'm just curious. Obviously I'm a lot more small scale, but what are you doing?" He was like, "We can't quit." He said, "We've tried to quit multiple times."

Tommy:

I said, "Well, what do you do with spending the money?" He said, "Well, every time we try to quit, the other people that we give these perks away to get really pissed off." He's like, "Because we've sponsored the FedEx Cup in golf. We've sponsored the Super Bowl. We've sponsored the College National Championship. We sponsored all this stuff and by far, the biggest return we get from people being impressed or excited by something is when we send them to a NASCAR race."

Mike:

That's interesting.

Tommy:

By far. He's like, "That's the overwhelming coolest thing that we do and none of our vendors will let us quit doing it."

Scott:

And Mike, when Tommy and I were first talking and he was explaining to me how the races typically go in a normal environment and the experience of being a sponsor and bringing out some of our top clients and partners, and I identified an opportunity where I don't ever have to go golfing again and that's my life goal, is to never go golfing with clients and never ever walk out there because I can't stand it and I'm told I need to do it. I just thought, "Well, hey, this is a way that we can regionally sponsor races where our clients and partners are, have an opportunity to connect with them, have a great day with them, and never have to swing a club."

Mike:

Yeah, that's great-

Tommy:

I'll play golf. I'll take him out on a golf course. I'll do that.

Mike:

I'll go golfing with you, but I-

Scott:

You'd take-

Mike:

... I'm terrible at it. I love playing, I'm just not good. I've never put the time in to get good at it, so as long as you don't mind-

Tommy:

I grew up playing. I live on a golf course. If I could turn this gig around, so I'll be the guy for you, Scott.

Mike:

Do you? Oh, there you go. There you go. I'm going to... I'm in a golf course community, but I've been out a couple of times. That's about it. Hey, you know what's interesting? That reminds me of... Have you guys ever read the book Your Millionaire Next Door? It's by a couple of Ph.D. economists and they studied millionaires in America and all the different attributes. They compiled it into a book and so forth and some of the traits. But they also wrote another book called Networking with Millionaires. There's this really cool story about how this top insurance salesman was constantly winning insurance salesman of the year for his group or whatever, but he never went to the conference to get the award. It's because his business was he sold insurance to all the race car drivers. So they'll be like, "Why aren't you going to get your award?" He's like, "I'll be at the races because that's where my business is."

Mike:

It was really interesting to me when I started thinking about the SkyView partnership with Martins Motorsports, was that look, many advisors likely have clients that are really big NASCAR fans, right? Many advisors, especially as you mentioned, in certain regions, they're also hardcore NASCAR fans. So it seems like it's a perfect fit, right? You're going to have those eyeballs that are really important for a branding relationship focused on the TV and eventually at the raceway seeing the brand rip around the track.

Scott:

Mike, I didn't even think through that far on the opportunity. It really was we had a great synergy with Tommy Joe. But also as he was pointing out earlier, that when I heard NASCAR was coming back and they had this elaborate plan, and I sat in my office by myself at the time because we were still not back up and running. I thought, "Well, wait a second, this is what everybody needs to do. We all need to come up with a plan and they've come up with a plan already and how to host races and put it on national television. Well, I better get my you know what in gear and get our organization up and running and have a plan that works that's in line with state guidelines."

Scott:

I thought, "Well, that's super impressive. That's reopening of America and not surprising that NASCAR, probably is the ultimate Americana in sports, is leading us back out of this thing as well." Now other sports probably said the same thing. Like, "Hey, NASCAR's doing it. We better get on this." Right? We were just so impressed by that. We said, "We want to be a part of it."

Mike:

The story of how Scott and the team at SkyView decided to move quickly to sponsor the Martins Motorsports No. 44 Camaro is a great lesson for every business leadership team. Sometimes you're going to see an opportunity and you just have to jump on it before the opportunity disappears or you overthink it. As we've talked about a few times on this show, there are like 50 buyers for every seller of a financial advisory practice today. So if you were considering buying another RIA form or an individual advisory's book of business, you are likely going to have to move really fast. To make sure that you are ready when the time comes, reach out to the SkyView team by swinging by skyview.com and clicking the get started button or give them a ring at 866-567-6282. Or if email's your thing, just shoot them a note at info@skyview.com and somebody will back to you right away. Okay, back to the race with Scott and Tommy Joe.

Tommy:

Yeah, and as far as what you were talking about, Mike, and that business to business relationship stuff going on, I think for that, and I don't want to speak for SkyView here, but this is my experience in my part of doing this, is I feel like the brands that wind up staying in NASCAR, even if it's just on a small level for a long period of time, they're feeling like that's the thing that's keeping them in there, is that they're able to offer something unique to the people that they do business with that makes them stand out more. It's like, "Here's our race car. Here's our race car driver. Here's our tailgate experience." All this.

Tommy:

It's just something so unique that nobody's getting anywhere else. When you're able to provide that, it helps close business. It just does. It's this thing that you get known for and especially when it's fun and there's value to it. That's the thing, is there still has to be value, right? It can't just be something ridiculous amount of money. But I feel like we have a pretty small team, pretty economical. I feel like we're able to provide value to this and hopefully, with SkyView, moving forward, we're able to do the stuff that they're wanting us to do and help the business from B2B.

Mike:

That's great.

Scott:

Well, you bring up a point, exactly why I hate golf. Is that a unique experience?

Tommy:

Right.

Scott:

No, it's a painful one and it's not unique and everybody does it expect for me. I refuse. I threw the golf clubs away years ago and I'm never going back. And now I have an excuse. Hey, that's just not what we do, all right?

Tommy:

It's okay.

Scott:

It's not how we invest our resource, all right?

Tommy:

I'll take the golf cart over there. It's all right.

Mike:

Well, you can just say, "I'll drive you around the golf course."

Scott:

I'll drive.

Mike:

"I'll be the designated drinking while driving the golf car guy. That'll be my job."

Tommy:

Look, on the golf course, I'm very pro drinking while driving the golf cart. I'm very pro at that, yeah.

Mike:

Well, I find you actually drive the cart better with a couple of beers in you.

Tommy:

Yeah, absolutely.

Mike:

It just feels a little more comfortable.

Tommy:

Loosen up a little bit.

Mike:

The bumps don't feel as bad. Speaking of driving real quick before we jump into some other conversation about the team that you were just talking about, the size of the team, closing out that casual fan idea. What's something that if somebody's a relative newbie to the sport that they can look for that maybe the average person doesn't see, right? That they can just notice and pick up on?

Tommy:

I would say that there are actually a few different races going on throughout the field. This is no different than really a lot of sports. I mean, in all sports, you're going to have teams that have a much bigger budget than other teams. Our sport is no different. I would say Martins Motorsports is a mid-tier team. I've told this to Scott and they actually really wrapped their arms around that. They were like, "That's great. We're going to have an underdog kind of thing going on," and they liked that. But I always like to bring that up because in my series, for example, there's probably about 10 or 12, what I would say, top level funded teams that are spending anywhere from 5 to $7 million a year in our series, which is obviously a lot. So that's kind of the top 12.

Tommy:

Then you move back from about 13th to about 32nd and there's about 20 teams that are about like mine in that 1.5 million to $2 million a year kind of budget. That's a big step down, as you can hear me say. You're talking about 4, $5 million a year. It's just to compete at the front of the field in my series, it takes so much help from a manufacturer like Chevrolet, research and development, engineering, wind tunnel time. So it's all this stuff. It's almost like it's hard to put a value on it, right? Like what's the value of Chevrolet helping design your engines? It's almost like a number that you can't really come up with. So that's kind of unreachable.

Tommy:

Then at the very bottom of our field, there's probably five or six teams that are spending less than us. They're like the true underdogs that are really scraping by. I've been on those teams and it's tough. You're trying to go to the racetrack with like three people and not enough tires and an old engine and you're trying to run the same car six weeks in a row. Don't dent it because we're not going to have time to fix it. I've been there. So for the casual fan, Mike, when they're watching this, they look at this and they go, "Oh, well, this is 36 cars going around and they're all the same and the people in the front are the best drivers." It's like, "All right, I'm not saying that the people at the front of the field aren't really good drivers. They are."

Tommy:

In my series, it's a lot of younger drivers that are trying to get promoted up to the top levels. So it's kind of a different dynamic, right? There's bigger teams that have prospects that they're trying to develop. You also have veteran guys like myself. Like somebody like Jeremy Clements, Ryan Sieg, Brandon Brown. Guys that are veterans, but are kind of running their own teams and are on that fringe of the top 10 every week. That's a great finish for us, right? That's like overachieving. So you've got a few different things going on.

Tommy:

So I guess to answer your question there, Mike, it's kind of like you got to learn the dynamics of the field as a new fan to be like, "Okay, well, a great finish for Tommy Joe is 10th. That's like them winning." The same thing happens in Formula 1, right? Like in Formula 1, Mercedes is killing everybody. They're going to win basically every race, right? But you might not just be a fan of Mercedes. You might be a fan of Daniel Ricardo, who drives for Renault. You know they're not going to win the race, but that doesn't mean that you can't have fun rooting for Daniel Ricardo to finish like 3rd. Because he could. That's the way that it works for us too. It's the same way and the fans kind of have to pick that up. They see how the field shapes up and then they're rooting for the race that's happening within the race in a way.

Mike:

That's really cool. That's really cool. I like that.

Scott:

Mike, to one of Tommy Joe's comments as well, we want to work with a team where we can actually add some value. It wasn't like we were coming in with one of the top drivers and he kind of said, "Well, who's the sponsor? Well, who's that? I don't care. Let's get to racing." We can really develop a relationship with and a partnership that is of value and we can do everything in our power to get Tommy Joe to the next level through this partnership.

Tommy:

Yeah, basically what he's saying, Mike, is the money means more to me. Because I'm so little.

Scott:

We know he was an old guy. Yeah, we knew that he has gone the senior circuit almost already. But that's what we like as well.

Tommy:

See these gray hairs here.

Scott:

I don't know. I remember how I acted between 18 and 22 and I just didn't feel terribly comfortable with somebody 18 to 22 representing our organization. I certainly wasn't capable at that time. God bless them that they are doing it and they're probably all doing a pretty good job of it. But we're just felt more comfortable with Tommy Joe.

Mike:

Ear muffs for you, Tommy Joe, I don't want your head to explode over there, get a big ego. But you come across as a really kind of mellow dude, you know what I mean? Just like a chill guy. Not like over testosteroned up, which I think a lot of people would think about a race car driver. Like, "Get out of my way. Get me..." You just seem like a mellow guy. Have you always been like that or is that just like, "Hey, this is a façade I put out there and I'll kill you on the racetrack?"

Tommy:

No, look, I think you got to have a little bit of a mellow personality to do what I do. I feel like if you went and talked to fighter pilots... Like Top Gun is a fun movie. Not everybody's coming in there like Maverick and Ice Man. Not everybody's in there trying to bro up the room. Probably most fighter pilots you talk to are going to look like they barely have a pulse. They go do this thing that is this crazy wild thing that people can't believe they're doing. But my heartbeat stays pretty low. It takes a lot to get me excited in a car now. I think that demeanor has been with me my whole life. I think you got to be kind of cool under pressure to do what we do and I think that just kind of translates to other stuff in life. We're generally pretty laid... When you're used to doing 200 miles an hour with somebody hitting you, everything else generally is... you kind of skate by.

Mike:

That makes a lot of sense.

Scott:

Now I'm realizing why the last time I was racing golf carts at a corporate outing, why I was thrown out of the arena. I'm not even kidding. Because I kind of went at it a little too aggressively. Now I realize that I am not well-suited for your profession at all.

Tommy:

Right?

Scott:

They asked me to leave the premises and I just thought rubbing was racing. I saw Days of Thunder before I went in there and-

Tommy:

You got to pick your spots, Scott. You got to pick your spots. There you go. That's awesome.

Scott:

I got a lot to learn.

Tommy:

You wanted to get out of the golf course anyway, so it didn't matter.

Mike:

That's right, he wanted to get banned.

Scott:

Right?

Mike:

I would golf with you, but I've been banned. I'm sorry.

Tommy:

Right?

Scott:

Right?

Mike:

Let's shift gears a little bit to the team, right? Because we talked a little bit about the team. Tommy, you talked about how important your team is and you mentioned a mid-level team at the moment and so forth. Obviously you're the dude behind the wheel of No. 44. All chill and relaxed, low pulse rate. But how many people are on the team? I mean, I think for those people listening who maybe aren't familiar with how many people does it take to run a team. You said one of your earlier teams was like three people or something like that. What's the team look like now?

Tommy:

Yeah, so our team basically, we have structured Martins Motorsports to really be small when it comes to the, I would say, the full-time personnel, right? So the guys that are in the shop working on the car day after day, we're going to have anywhere from between four to six people. That's it. Now, in a perfect world, I would be able to leave a few people in the shop to work on next week's car while we're gone with this week's car. Does that make sense? So then when you come from that, oh, okay, next week's car is already ready. You use that. You're kind of like alternating. Right? You're always working on what's the next thing. But we don't have that luxury right now. We've got four guys, so they're doing a lot and they're also traveling to the racetrack.

Tommy:

But now four people I don't feel like is enough to put a competitive team the way that we want to do it on the track. So we pick up a lot of part time guys that work just the weekend. Our pit crew. That's all they do. They're not full-time. They come in on the weekend and they pit the car. We have a few other... Our hauler driver. Not full-time. He's got a father that is a little sick. He wants to take care of him during the week. He only wants to work on the weekends. So he's an employee of Martins Motorsports, but he's technically like a part time employee.

Tommy:

This guy right here, the driver, is a part time employee of Martins Motorsports. I don't feel like one. I feel like I do a lot. But technically I am a part time employee. I come in on the weekend. I drive the car. I go home. I actually work. You can see that Corvette poster over there. I work at a place in Las Vegas. We're the official driving school of Corvette and Chevrolet. So that's the day job for me, is I go work at the racing school and then I go fly in and race on the weekends. So I've got two jobs. I feel like I've got three jobs really. But I'm doing a lot.

Tommy:

So we're asking people to do more on a smaller team, but we're trying to structure it where we don't just burn our people out. Because Mike, you're talking about a series in NASCAR. 33 weekends a year, we're doing this. So if you're asking guys to come in and work on a Monday at 7:00 AM and then, "By the way, okay, Friday. Oh, wait, sorry, no, you're actually flying to Dover, Delaware and now you're working Friday and Saturday. Now, you're flying back Sunday and we need you back in the shop Monday morning." Guys could do it and I've been on teams where that's just life. But I don't think the quality of life is great and it burns people out really bad. We try to structure it, at least I have, where we can maybe try to offset that and give some guys some time off and maybe just give a little bit better conditions to work in.

Scott:

Yeah, and Tommy Joe, what I found really fascinating as well is the small amount of preparation time that you've been afforded with the new protocols. Maybe you can talk about that a little bit? Because I think that's something that most fans have no idea how little time you have each week to prepare.

Tommy:

Yeah, you basically got three days. The way that NASCAR has structured this, from a schedule standpoint, I could nitpick a little bit here. I understand that they are working within state and local guidelines. But obviously we had a schedule for the season and that just got blown to smithereens. It's kind of like month by month, they're figuring out where they can host these races. Okay, are we good to race at that track now? Was it closed earlier but now it's... Okay, the state's opening this. So they're working within a lot of framework here, so it's a weird situation. But they're basically releasing our schedule a month ahead of time.

Tommy:

So for an example, we're racing these races. There are road course races that we're doing back to back. Well, there's a special type of car that we use. It's a little more track-specific because it's a left and right hand turns, heavy braking, a lot of shifting. So it's just different. Well, we basically had like two weeks to get that car ready. It was a car that we hadn't used since, I don't know, like June. It's like, "Okay, by the way, you got to pull this out and you're running two races in two weeks with it." Then you're running another type of track. Then you're... So it's like you're doing all of this and structuring all of this very quickly. The cars are different, the parts are different, and you're having to have your people swap a lot of stuff around. So there is a lot that goes on.

Tommy:

I think everybody, when you watch this on TV, Mike, this is kind of what I was talking about earlier, you go, "Oh, well, all the cars are the same. Oh, the cars kind of look the same. It must be the same car." It's like no, our team has five different cars and that's not even close to what a bigger team would have. They would have like 14 cars.

Mike:

Really?

Tommy:

Yeah. That are all built specifically for a certain type of track, a certain type of down force, package, skewed a certain way to get maximum... Whereas it's like our cars, because we don't have as many of them, have to be a little more generic, which is another one of those separators of the top stuff. But there's a lot going on and I could walk you through a car and point to 35 different things that have to get swapped for every race. That's just stuff that the average person doesn't know and maybe doesn't care to know. But there's just a lot going on on a week to week basis managing these cars.

Scott:

Well, Tommy Joe, I know it was probably a lot of stress and lots for your team to accomplish in a short period, but the other thing I liked about NASCAR's approach with this when you all came back was it wasn't like, "We're going to have a race on Saturday and Sunday." It was no, what was it? Seven races in 11 days. Not only did they come back first, they came back bold and said they were going big on this. "We're catching up with the schedule." I was just like, "Whoever's running NASCAR's impressive." If every business in the country follows a game plan or a strategy to getting back to business as NASCAR has, we're going to get out of this a lot faster.

Tommy:

Yeah. And look, I'll say this, NASCAR has done some stuff, Mike, talking about the broader sense. Some of the way they've structured the weekend was really to keep us there a less amount of time, right? Like they didn't want to keep us in the track all day, a lot more intermingling between the teams. They kind of wanted us to get in, get out, right? Whereas it used to we would be there for three days at a time. We would have practice, we would have different sessions and other stuff, meetings, and okay, here's another practice, and here's qualifying, and then finally we're going to do the race. So you're just there an extended period of time and they have shortened our schedule quite a bit where we are at the track for like... Perfect example, Road America, they're doing a technical inspection on the first day. It's going to take like three hours. We come back the second day, the race is at 11:00 in the morning. It's like and good-bye. You're gone. We're not even doing a practice. It's literally just like show up, race, see you later.

Tommy:

In a way, that has saved us money because we're not having to buy these tires for practice. We're not having to do all this other practice sessions, miles on an engine, wear and tear on your car. You worry about something breaking, so now I got to bring another car. Like in case something dumb happens, right? In case I break a suspension part and total my car at practice. Well, I can't have somebody like SkyView all of a sudden just be like, "Hey, by the way, we wrecked our car. We're not in the race now." So I got to bring a backup car. Well, I don't have to worry about any of that now. I could just show up with my race car and I race and I leave. And it's-

Scott:

As long as it starts.

Tommy:

It starts. As long as it starts. Which we've had happen this year.

Mike:

[crosstalk 00:41:50] started.

Tommy:

But basically we've learned that in a way... And they've done double header weekends, like we did a double header in Miami. We went and did two races in two days with the same car. It's like that's something that NASCAR would have never done before. Like Scott was talking about, they've kind of figured out like, "Oh, we could pull this off." All the teams are sitting here like, "This is great. I only got to travel to one place and I get two paychecks. This is great." You're condensing the schedule in a way we can maybe cut this, Mike, from a 33 week thing to okay, there's 33 races, but can we do them in like 26 weeks and now give our guys more of an off season, more time to prepare the cars, more time off. So there's a way to move this around and I think NASCAR has been really cool with the way they've kept an open mind about all this through all of it. They've really changed the way that they're doing business on a race weekend.

Scott:

I'd say to all professional sports that have come back, I think it's important to the American psyche, right? That following sports is something that whatever sport you follow, brings us all a modicum of escapism from our daily routine and we haven't had that. All we've had to do is focus on news that's never good, right? Now I'm actually able to read ESPN and I get to read about things that really don't affect my day. But it's great to see the efforts of each one of the professional sports leagues have done, and some more or less successful than others. But I'd say NASCAR, NBA has definitely led the pack in how to go about bringing back a lot of activity and doing so very safely.

Tommy:

Absolutely. I think you nailed it right there. I think between NASCAR and the NBA, they are the two leaders of how you could do this well, come up with creative ideas, and execute them well, and a very well thought out plan. You could see how other leagues are struggling with that. So I'm very fortunate that I get to go race every weekend.

Scott:

It's really that the willingness of the athletes and everybody in your teams to make a lot of sacrifices, right? And be in this bubble, right? And work on this shorter time horizon. It's impressive.

Mike:

Yeah. Yeah, one of the parallels that I thought of in NBA and NASCAR is it's almost like the USO back during World War II, right? Like there was this group of entertainers who were like, "Listen, we need to entertain the troops and make people feel a little better," right? That was a wartime situation, but we kind of are in a wartime footing in some ways here trying to beat this virus and people are stuck in the house. I mean, look, I've got two kids, a 15 year old and an 11 year old going into 10th grade and 6th grade. They've been in the house for nearly six months now and they're going to start their school year off indoor. It's like we're all going a little stir crazy, right? But suddenly now-

Tommy:

So were we.

Mike:

Yeah, exactly. My son is so thrilled that basketball is back and so forth. I told him, "Hey, we're going to have a NASCAR driver on the show." He was like, "Yeah, that's great. This is cool." Yeah, so you guys are... I mean, kudos to you, as Scott said. You are doing everybody so much good because just having you there to cheer for or to boo for, frankly. Like I want somebody to say, "You stink! Get out of here! I hate that guy!" Whatever.

Tommy:

Sure. I'll be villain. That's fine.

Mike:

Speaking of villain, have you noticed Scott's new car?

Tommy:

Oh, we're talking about the... Is it the Demon? The Dodge? Yeah.

Mike:

Yeah, he's got a Challenger with the SkyView on it and I'm a little like-

Tommy:

The Challenger, yeah.

Mike:

I mean, what do you... That's mopars. That's not Chevy. What's going on there-

Tommy:

Not Chevy. I know. I'm wearing the brand loud and proud right now. I'm a GM guy.

Scott:

I bought the Dodge before the partnership started. I have not driven the Camaro to test it out. But I had rented the Dodge, what is it, Challenger RT just when I was renting a car in Los Angeles one time and I was like, "This is a lot of fun. I really enjoy this car," right? In Los Angeles, you can drive 120 miles an hour on the highway, not that I've ever done that, and you can drift through an intersection without really being bothered. So it fits in well out there.

Tommy:

Right? Oh, yeah.

Mike:

It's funny. My first car was a 1972 Dodge Charger HEMI Orange.

Tommy:

Look at that!

Scott:

Nice. Nice.

Mike:

So I'm a mopar. Yeah [crosstalk 00:46:18]-

Tommy:

My first ever car was a '76 Corvette Stingray, so that-

Mike:

Whoa, all right!

Tommy:

... means a little more than... I've been a Corvette lifer at this point.

Mike:

You're one-upping me a little bit there. It's funny. You mentioned that you're doing the race driving school as part of your career there and I kind of mentioned that you're the type of guy who scared the crap out of my wife. We went to an AMG racing thing and she sat in the backseat while I was in the passenger seat with a driver who took us around the track. I thought she was just going to lose her mind with all the screaming in the backseat. So I love it. That must be a blast.

Tommy:

I've been a part of a lot of screaming in a car, yes. I have done that. I've had people get in and go, "Look, I'm going to be honest with you, I'm going to throw up on you if you do some stuff like that," and I go, "Okay. I'm going to take that seriously." Then I have some people get in the car and go, "Look, I want you to try to scare the crap out of me," and I go, "I don't really think you want that, but okay."

Mike:

Here we go.

Tommy:

"I'm going to make you very concerned here in just a few seconds." Those are always the fun ones.

Mike:

That's fantastic. Well, we do have to get you and Scott for a drag race now because, I mean, it just feels like it has to happen. We've got the mopar, we've got Chevy power.

Tommy:

We can bring the SkyView Camaro out there for something like that. Yeah, absolutely. The thing is maybe in a straight line, he might actually get me. When we get to a course-

Scott:

I think it's a little more than that, Tommy.

Tommy:

When we get to a turn-

Scott:

I mean, rubbing is racing. I've watched Days of Thunder. I am totally prepared for this. All right. Rubbing is racing.

Tommy:

All right, the thing that I will say is that my car is built to sustain a little damage. I don't know how well the other one is.

Scott:

Well, we're going to have to find out.

Mike:

This is fantastic.

Tommy:

Right.

Scott:

It's worth it, by the way.

Mike:

That's awesome.

Tommy:

It's worth it.

Mike:

That's fantastic.

Scott:

We would certainly love the opportunity to get out there and it's something that I'd like to do and the [inaudible 00:48:04] put this whole deal together. Since the beginning, I've said like, "Hey, we're going to go out there and visit Tommy Joe when we can and he and I are going to make a weekend of it."

Tommy:

Yeah, definitely.

Mike:

That's awesome, guys. Well, listen, this has been a ton of fun and really, really interesting. Tommy, I know we got you up early there and you were very generous with your time here as you're leading into race weekend. I can't wait to watch the race this weekend. I'm excited that that car... For those who are unaware, at the time of this recording, and we'll have this published before the race, you're racing a throwback style on paint.

Tommy:

Yes, we are racing a throwback car. It is legitimately one of the best looking cars I have ever had the privilege of driving. I'm trying to do the Zoom no no thing where I hold up. See? You're not going to be able to see it worth anything there, but-

Mike:

We'll splice it. Yeah.

Tommy:

... it's a really good looking car and it's all to celebrate the opening of SkyView L.A. out there and I think what they've done with the colors and the way they designed the logo for that, it made it really easy for us to translate it into a good looking car. It's going to stand out at Road America. We've already had so many compliments on it. I think it's going to be a great way to represent SkyView and what they're doing out there in L.A.

Scott:

I'm all about the throwback and the '70s California beach scene. Throw some orange on anything and I like it, right? So the baby blue, it just only adds to it, right?

Tommy:

Oh, yeah.

Scott:

It's been a lot of fun. It's been a lot of fun.

Mike:

Awesome. Awesome, guys. Well, thank you both. I hope you have a great race this weekend, Tommy. Go No. 44.

Tommy:

Thank you, Mike. Thanks for having me on.

Mike:

All right.

Scott:

Yeah, thanks, Mike, and thanks, Tommy Joe.

Mike:

Thank you very much for joining Scott Wetzel, Tommy Joe Martins, and myself for this episode of the Advisory Financing Forum. I really hope you enjoyed it as much as we did because as you can tell, we had a blast. Of course, huge thanks to Tommy Joe and his team at Martins Motorsports. We are so grateful that he was able to take the time to join us today because with his busy schedule preparing for this weekend's NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Road America in Wisconsin, I know he probably had his mind on a few other things. So it was a delight to have him on the show. I can't wait to see No. 44 ripping around the track in that hot throwback look.

Mike:

If you have questions for Tommy or Scott or me related to the show, please feel free to send them in at podcasts@skyview.com or you could just ping us on the socials and we'll chat with you there too. Just make sure you mention the podcast. It's really great to know you are listening.

Mike:

As always, if you'd like to explore your financing needs with SkyView Partners, make sure you swing by skyview.com or call 866-567-6282. Okay, until next time, please do make sure you stay safe. Wear a mask just like cool NASCAR drivers like Tommy Joe Martins. Wear a mask, okay? You can do it. And back to social distancing, of course. [inaudible 00:51:15], okay? We'll see you next week on the Advisory Financing Forum Podcast. Have a good one. Bye.

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