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Martin Vows To Drive in 2012

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Friday, April 16 2010

Mark Martin says he will be in a race car in 2012. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images)

By Jeff Hood | Senior Writer

Fort Worth, Tex. – Mark Martin isn’t ready to hang up his helmet just yet.

Kasey Kahne was named earlier this week as driver of Hendrick Motorsports’ No. 5 Chevrolet, beginning in 2012. That ride is currently occupied by Martin.

But the 51-year-old Martin said today at Texas Motor Speedway that he will still be racing in two seasons.

“I’m not going to retire,” Martin told a group of reporters in the Sprint Cup garage prior to opening practice for Sunday’s Samsung Mobile 500. “I’m going to race in 2012. They’ll be an opportunity for me that I’m sure will be exciting and fun and that I can help people.

“I feel like I’ve done that in the No. 01. I feel like I did that at DEI. And I realize I helped the No. 5 team realize that they can win races and contend for a championship.

“I’ll find another opportunity exciting to me.”

Martin, who continuously refused during his behind the hauler session with reporters to hint at his plans in 2012, admitted that he played a major role in choosing Kahne as his replacement.

“Kasey Kahne was the guy,” said Martin, who is in his second full-season at Hendrick Motorsports. “One of my biggest concerns is who going to be the successor. So that I didn’t knock them out of getting the very best, A, number one pick, that’s why I started talking to Kasey Kahne before anybody in September last year.

“The timing wasn’t exactly right, but I wanted to make sure that he considered it because it’s the perfect scenario for Kasey Kahne and it’s the perfect scenario for Hendrick Motorsports.

“I’ve been here three years (through 2011), and three years is enough.”

Martin reiterated that nothing is in place just yet for him in 2012.

“I don’t want to commit to (a ride in 2012) now,” he said. “I want to make sure that Hendrick is set. And they are set.

“It’s such an incredibly, perfect scenario.”

– Jeff Hood can be reached at jhood@racintoday.com

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Friday, April 16 2010
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