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Mark Martin To Team Up With Waltrip in 2012

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Friday, November 4 2011

Mark Martin will drive for MWR next year. (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)

By Nick Bromberg | Senior Writer

FORT WORTH, Texas – Mark Martin will drive on in the Sprint Cup Series it was confirmed Friday.

During a press conference at Texas Motor Speedway, it was announced that Martin would drive the No. 00 Toyota for Michael Waltrip Racing next season.

He will be sponsored by Aaron’s, who has been sponsoring David Reutimann at MWR. The deal is for two years and an option for 2014.

He will drive a partial schedule the next two seasons – 25 races in each season. Team c0-owener Michael Waltrip will drive the car for five races in those seasons.

No sponsor has been signed for six races in each of the seasons but it is expected  that the car will run a full schedule.

“It is the perfect schedule for me,” Martin said. “It enables me to catch my breath and spend more time with the fans.”

Martin’s first Cup race was in 1981. He competed as an owner/driver in five events. Since then, he has driven in Cup races ever year except 1984 and ’85. He has 827 Cup starts.

He has won 40 races in his career. Martin has never won a Cup championship, but he has finished second in points five times.

For the past three seasons, Martin has been driving for Hendrick Motorsports. In 2009, his first with the team, he won five races. He has not won since. He failed to make the Chase this year.

Martin will surrender his Hendrick seat to Kasey Kahne next year.

Martin moves to a team that has not had a driver advance to the Chase and which has won a total of just two races.

But, Martin said he believes MWR has made some good moves in recent months and is heading in the right direction.

“They are making serious move,” Martin said. “Bringing Clint Bowyer in, Martin Truex Jr. – both those guys are two of the brightest young stars in NASCAR. They have a lot of great people there and they are of course adding Scott Miller (vice president of competition) as well and they’re making a number of other serious moves to try to step that up.

“I think MWR is second to none on the marketing side of it. If you look at it, they’re the only team I know of in NASCAR that’s adding, not taking away or staying the same, so that tells you one thing. They’ve made a serious commitment to try to step it up on the race track as well. To be able to be a part of that is something that is really exciting. Sometimes for me, it’s very fun to take and get involved in a program and see it step up. When I went over, I probably have rarely had as much fun as I did especially the first five races over there (Hendrick) when we wound up with the point lead after five races and to see that team grow and see the enthusiasm and all that stuff. That means as much as any trophy to me to be able to help people realize their potential is very gratifying to me.”

It was announced earlier this week that Reutimann would not be back with the Waltrip team next year.

Waltrip said of dismissing Reutimann, “Things were not going the way we had hoped they would.”

That opened the door for Martin.

Reutimann has driven for Waltrip since the team was formed in 2005. He has started 168 Cup races and has two victories with Waltrip.

(This story will be updated shortly.)

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Friday, November 4 2011
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