Martin retirement issue grows sillier each year
A story broke this week that Mark Martin, who had said this was his FINAL year of running full-time in Cup (really, he was serious this time … wink, wink) may talk with Rick Hendrick about doing it again in 2010, when he’s currently scheduled to share the #5 with another driver.
When asked about the story, Martin attacked the story but did absolutely nothing to deny its contents. With an extreme amount of wavering in his voice, he said he has not YET talked to Hendrick about coming back full-time in 2010, but didn’t say he wasn’t going to do that at a later date. In essence, he called the story premature, but not false.
Don’t get me wrong here. I love Mark Martin as a driver and rooted for him from the time I started watching the sport. He’s well-respected and among the most talented drivers in the garage, and no one can question his character.
But come on Mark, make up your mind already.
It seems like ages ago that he did his first farewell tour while still with Roush Racing, only to come back for another year at Roush and then part-time schedules with other teams. I’ve lost track of how many times he’s set his plans to leave the sport.
I’m aware that 2009 hasn’t exactly started off how Martin had hoped, and that it’s highly unlikely he’ll make the Chase unless he immediately begins an awesome streak of top-10 finishes and begins to catch up. This isn’t exactly how Martin wanted his final full year to turn out, and I don’t blame him for wanting one more shot at a title, especially since he came so close so many times.
But Martin needs to realize that the cycle of retiring, coming back and retiring that has been done in the past by players in other sports like Michael Jordan almost never ends well (see Brett Favre’s New York Jets mishap). In the end, it almost always diminishes the legacy of the athlete and they don’t end up achieving any more glory in their returns.
Besides that, I believe Brad Keselowski should be given the keys to the #5 for 2010, as it’s time he gets his shot as a full-time Cup driver. What’s the point of leaving him in Nationwide for another year? But with Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Jr. locked into their cars, the only open seat at Hendrick is the #5. Instead of another run for glory by Martin, Keselowski should get the chance to make his mark in Cup. If Martin sticks around, Keselowski could be snatched up by another team, and letting him go would be a mistake on Hendrick’s part.
At some point this year, the discussion will take place between Martin and Hendrick. Whatever they decide to do, I have just one request for Mark.
Please make the decision final. I’m seeing more waffling here than I did from John Kerry in the 2004 presidential election.
F1 chickens out
Formula 1 has decided to wait a year to impose its new system of awarding the title to the driver who wins the most races, after teams complained the change came too close to the start of the season.
It’s too bad, and I hope F1 doesn’t cave and drop the idea completely during the year. When it takes effect, it will make the races more exciting and crown a true champion.