|New deal will have Martin driving into mid-50s|
|Written by Admin|
|Saturday, 05 November 2011 13:01|
At that point after the 2013 season, five-time champion Jimmie Johnson will still be shy of his 40th birthday. So does he see himself racing for 15 years or so after that into his mid-50s like Martin, currently his Hendrick teammate?
``I don't know,'' Johnson said, laughing.
``I respect Mark for continuing, there is something inside of him as a racer we all respect and at his age he can't stop. I am proud of him,'' he said. ``I know what he has done to Hendrick Motorsports and to myself for myself, the type of teammate he has been, the man he is and I know he will be a great asset over at MWR.''
Ryan Newman, who is younger than Johnson, said Martin's longevity certainly inspires him that he might be able to race that long.
``But my intentions for my career are not to pattern them off Mark Martin from a longevity standpoint,'' Newman said.
Martin will drive 25 NASCAR Sprint Cup races next season and again in 2013 in the No. 00 Toyota. Waltrip will drive five races each season under a sponsorship extension with Aaron's announced Friday that has an option for 2014. Martin calls it the ``perfect schedule'' for him to make a transition in racing.
``They're giving me an opportunity here to maybe, hopefully have an effect on the direction of the program,'' he said. ``I'm really excited about that, because that could be a transition for me to continue to be involved in the sport the way I want to be by using the experience I have and the things that I've learned over the years that I've been in NASCAR.''
HAMLIN'S HELPER: Denny Hamlin finished second and with a sore back after filling in for Kyle Busch in the Nationwide race Saturday.
On Sunday, Hamlin will be back in his own car for the Cup race and without his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate. Busch was barred by NASCAR from racing again this weekend after deliberately wrecking Ron Hornaday Jr. in the Truck Series race on Friday night.
Michael McDowell will take over the No. 18 Cup car for Busch.
``It changes the complexion for us because (Busch) is one of the guys I use every weekend for information and help tune our race car. Obviously Michael is in a tough spot trying to just get in that race car and go racing and be competitive,'' Hamlin said. ``We'll have to figure things out and kind of do it on our own for the most part this week.''
Hamlin said he had an idea late Friday night that he might be filling in for the Nationwide race. But there wasn't enough time to completely adjust the seat once NASCAR made its decision about Busch on Saturday morning.
DOUBLE EIGHTS: Car owner Jack Roush got his eighth Nationwide Series victory Saturday at Texas. He also has won eight Sprint Cup races there.
Trevor Bayne passed teammate Carl Edwards after the last restart, and led for the final six laps Saturday. Edwards was going for his third consecutive Nationwide win on the 1 1/2-mile, high-banked Texas track.
Roush swept the April races in Texas, when Matt Kenseth won the Cup race after Edwards' win in the Nationwide.
LOT OF RACES: Kenny Wallace set a Nationwide Series record with his 520th career start Saturday.
Wallace, who also made 344 starts in 10 years in the Cup Series, finished 13th at Texas.
``To have been able to make a living my whole life has been a dream come true,'' Wallace said. ``I've very grateful to have come out of Arnold, Mo., and if you would have told me that you can make a living in NASCAR and that's all you're ever going to do, I mean I've made a living driving a race car my whole life and it looks like I will retire racing cars for a living. That's perspective that I can put it into. I'm thrilled to death.''
Wallace also is a popular NASCAR broadcaster.