Mark Martin isn’t using the “R” word, but he could take his final checkered flag during next week’s race at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Martin told reporters on Friday that he has no plans to race next year.
The veteran NASCAR driver has 40 wins in the Sprint Cup Series, 49 in the Nationwide Series, and five championships in the former International Race of Champions series.
While Martin doesn’t plan to race next year, USA Today reports that the driver will still help out Stewart-Haas Racing with testing next season. He will also drive Tony Stewart’s No. 14 car in 2014 preseason activities at Daytona while the team owner heals from a broken right leg.
Mark Martin explained to reporters, “We’ve known this for awhile, we just kept it to ourselves and to our friends and stuff. If I get through Homestead without a scratch, it will be pretty cool.”
The racer added, “It will be one tremendous career that we did some really great things and I got out of it without paying a big price.” The shoe-in for the NASCAR Hall of Fame has seen several friends pay that price, including Dale Earnhardt, who died during the 2001 season-opener at Daytona.
While he won’t race, ABC News notes that Mark Martin won’t discuss retirement. He stated, “Let’s just don’t talk about it.” He added that he won’t hide, but he won’t be at every race next year. He added, “My life is going to change and it’s going to open a new chapter, and I expect to have a lot broader windshield and be a lot less wound tight and tunnel-visioned.”
Martin has apparently had several opportunities to get in the race car next season, but he declined all of them, saying, “I’ve shot them down because I haven’t been interested in doing that.” After running the final race next week, he explained that he’s “kind of tired.”
While Mark Martin likely won’t race competitively next year, we can still look forward to seeing him at the track sometimes and following him on Twitter for more insights.