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Friday, January 28, 2011

Think Mark Martin's done after 2011? Think again

He may be numerically older than most of the other drivers, but Mark Martin is extremely fit and young at heart, and he wants to race for a while still.

The ironic thing is that this is a guy who announced five years ago that he was ready to retire, and now it looks like it could be another five years before he stops racing.
"I'm absolutely, without a doubt, going to be driving race cars next year, just not going to be in any hurry to worry about that," he said. "I'm focused on 2011 and really enjoying being a part of Hendrick Motorsports."

Martin will be done at Hendrick Motorsports after 2011, with Kasey Kahne taking over his ride, but there should be plenty of teams interested in securing his services for future seasons. He's one of the best drivers the sport has ever seen, and his age truly does not matter if he has the right machine to drive. Perhaps a swap with Kahne at Red Bull will end up happening.

Unique crew rules at Hendrick
Leave it to Chad Knaus to come up to an innovative approach to pit crews.

After some late-season pit woes on the #48 team, there will now be three total crews (18 crew members) brought to each track, to be used for the #48 car of Johnson, and the #88 car of Dale Earnhardt Jr. If they don't do so hot, someone is ready to step in. The #24 of Jeff Gordon and #5 of Mark Martin will work similarly, with 16 crew members available to the two cars.

Talk about incentive to perform. I have a feeling this will work, and pit performance will improve for he Hendrick team. And if it does, the other teams may end up copying this system (at least the bigger ones, who can afford it.)

Danica to Cup talk already?
Her second partial season in Nationwide hasn't even started, and there is already reports that some NASCAR teams are eyeing her for a future Cup ride.
One of the partners in Richard Petty Motorsports, which is coming back from the verge of extinction, said the team might be interested in getting Danica on board for the 2012 season, if the team expands from its current two-car lineup, and it also likes Clint Bowyer.

Hold up folks, we still need Danica to prove she can do something in a stock car before we start awarding her Cup rides ... I mean, it's not just about who's famous and a a name alone can't get you a ride, right? (note sarcasm)

NASCAR mania this month on SPEED
If you like NASCAR, you have nothing to complain about as far as TV goes for the next few weeks. Starting with this weekend's 24 hours of Daytona and Toyota All-Star Showdown at Irwindale California, SPEED will have 100 hours of coverage during Speedweeks.

The big events include the Gatorade Duel races on Feb. 17, the Truck Series opener on Feb. 18, and an endless stream of practice and qualifying and more inbetween.
If you're a racing junkie like me, this is truly one of the best times of the year to be a fan.

Speaking of SPEED, it will broadcast a one-hour special called "The Day: Remembering Dale Earnhardt" on Feb. 11 at 7:30 p.m. The show will look back, 10 years later, at the day at Daytona in 2001 that forever changed racing. Whether you were at Daytona that day and saw it happen, as I unfortunately was (that tragedy ruined an otherwise great race), or just heard the terrible news at home after the race, it will surely be an emotional broadcast, and will also include the first interview in which Michael Waltrip, who won his first Cup race that day in a car owned by Earnhardt, will speak about Earnhardt's death.

Rusty reups
Speaking of TV, those who are fans are Rusty Wallace will be glad to know he has signed a new deal with ESPN that will keep him at the network through 2014. While he's not universally liked, most fans recognize that the former Cup champion has some insight into the sport, and offers valuable information while on the air. They could do much worse than Wallace.

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