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Mark Martin leaving Roush for MB2

Mark Martin leaving Roush for MB2

Longtime NASCAR star Mark Martin, contemplating retirement from the Nextel Cup series for the past two years, will instead leave Roush Racing at the end of this season to drive a partial Cup schedule for MB2 Motorsports in 2007.
"What I'm going to do now gives me the opportunity to stay in Cup on a limited basis with great flexibility," Martin said on Friday at Talladega Superspeedway. "What I want to do now doesn't fit in with what's going on at Roush Racing."
Roush has fielded a Ford for Martin in NASCAR's top series every year since 1988.
"When Mark finally reconciled his somewhat conflicting desires, he settled on staying in Cup and running a 22-race schedule," said Roush team president Geoff Smith. "We had no way of accommodating that desire since all of our Cup programs were previously committed."
Smith said NASCAR now has limits on how many cars any team can run each year.
"(That) prevented Roush Racing from putting together an additional team for Mark so, in the end, Mark had to move on in order to stay in the Cup series," Smith said. "He's meant a great deal to this organization and we certainly wish him the best in whatever he chooses to do down the road."
Martin, currently third in the standings with seven races remaining in 2006, said he remains committed to longtime boss and friend Jack Roush in running for this year's championship.
"Jack Roush and I have enjoyed a very special relationship for the past 20 years," Martin said. "Jack afforded me the opportunity to chase my dreams, and there is no way to put in words what he has meant to me, my life and my career.
Bobby Ginn, who bought an 80 percent interest in the MB2 team in August, said he hopes the addition of Martin will help elevate the entire team.
"Our goal at MB2 is to reach a new level and, with Mark joining our organization, it not only elevates our presence, but his knowledge and credibility will also be a viable asset to all of our race teams," Ginn said.
The 47-year-old Martin will share the ride in the No. 01 U.S. Army Chevrolet with rookie Regan Smith, a 23-year-old regular in the Busch Series. Martin said he will drive 22 of the 36 Cup races in 2007.
Joe Nemechek, currently racing in the No. 01, will remain with MB2, but will move to a third team entry, while Sterling Marlin will stay in the team's No. 14 Chevy.
Martin was set to give up his ride in the No. 6 Roush Ford after the 2005 season, but was convinced by Roush to stay another year because none of the team's young drivers were ready to step into the ride.
Earlier this season, it appeared Martin would leave Cup in 2006 to drive a full season for Roush in the shorter Craftsman Truck Series, but he recently began talking about the possibility of running at least a partial schedule in Cup.
Smith said several weeks ago that the team would definitely not field a Cup car for Martin in 2007 and that they were close to completing a deal with Martin to drive a Roush truck. But that deal apparently fell apart after the MB2 ride became available.
Martin, who drove his first Cup race in 1981, has started 667 Cup races and has 35 victories, 234 top-five finishes and 372 top 10s. He's finished runner-up for the championship four times. The versatile Martin also owns a Busch Series-record 47 wins and has five more in trucks. He has 13 victories and a record five championships in the all-star International Race of Champions series.


Updated : 2021-04-13 10:49 GMT+08:00