Martin signs with Hendrick Motorsports
Hendrick Motorsports made it official today, announcing Mark Martin as the full-time driver of the organization's No. 5 NASCAR Sprint Cup entry in 2009. Martin, a 35-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race winner and the all-time leader in NASCAR Nationwide Series victories, has signed a two-year agreement to drive for Hendrick Motorsports beginning in 2009.
|Mark Martin, a 35-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race winner, will join Hendrick Motorsports in 2009, as announced Friday at Daytona International Speedway|
|Sam Greenwood/Getty Images|
Martin will race the full 2009 Sprint Cup schedule in the No. 5 Kellogg's/CARQUEST Chevrolets, becoming teammates with Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Jr. It will mark his first full season of Cup competition since 2006, when he finished ninth in points.
A Batesville, Ark., native, Martin also is slated to run a partial Sprint Cup schedule for Hendrick Motorsports in 2010, sharing the No. 5 Chevys with a to-be-determined second driver. Martin will enter 26 events, including the non-points Budweiser Shootout and NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race.
"Mark is an incredible racer and one of the classiest guys around," said Hendrick Motorsports owner Rick Hendrick, whose organization will celebrate its 25th anniversary in 2009. "He is a driver who makes everyone around him better, and our entire company is going to benefit from his presence."
In the 20 seasons Martin has completed the full Sprint Cup schedule, he has finished inside the top 12 in championship points on 17 occasions, including 12 appearances in the top five. In addition to his 35 wins, Martin has posted 41 pole positions, 241 top-five finishes and 390 top-10s at the Cup level.
"I feel very fortunate to have this chance to win races and go after a championship with Hendrick Motorsports," Martin said. "Coming back full time wasn't something we planned, but driving the No. 5 car, with all its history, was an impossible opportunity to pass up.
"Rick and I have enjoyed a great relationship over the years, and we've always talked about doing this. Now it's working out, and we're both excited about the possibilities."
Martin, 49, will be paired with crew chief Alan Gustafson, who now is in his fourth season at the helm of the No. 5 Kellogg's/CARQUEST Chevrolet team. Gustafson has posted four Sprint Cup wins as a crew chief and has a history with Martin, having worked with him in multiple Nationwide Series events.
THE MARK MARTIN FILE:
Birth Date: Jan. 9, 1959
Hometown: Batesville, Ark.
Sprint Cup Seasons: 26 (full- and part-time)
Sprint Cup Wins: 35
Sprint Cup Poles: 41
First Sprint Cup Start: North Wilkesboro, N.C. (April 5, 1981)
First Sprint Cup Win: Rockingham, N.C. (Oct. 22, 1989)
Most Recent Sprint Cup Win: Kansas City, Kan. (Oct. 9, 2005)
Best Sprint Cup Points Finish: Second (four times)
Nationwide Series Wins: 48 (all-time leader)
ABOUT HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS:
Since 1984, Hendrick Motorsports has earned 11 championships in NASCAR's top three divisions, including seven titles and 169 victories in the sanctioning body's premier series, the Sprint Cup. Headquartered in Concord, N.C., the organization currently fields four full-time Chevrolet teams on the Cup Series