Follow me on

Twitter Feed Facebook Feed RSS Feed Linked In Youtube

Ray Evernham says Mark Martin will turn Rick Hendrick's team over to Kasey Kahne in 2011. An angry Martin says no way

  Ray Evernham (R) and Kasey Kahne (L), here in 2006, when Evernham was Kahne's team owner. Evernham also won several NASCAR championships for team owner Rick Hendrick while crew chief for Jeff Gordon. So Evernham should have some good insight into what Kahne and Hendrick are planning for 2011. Does Evernham know something Mark Martin doesn't? (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)


   By Mike Mulhern


   Ray Evernham says he believes Mark Martin will give up his current ride with Rick Hendrick and crew chief Alan Gustafson and turn the No. 5 car over to Kasey Kahne for 2011.
   That certainly seems a stretch, considering Martin has reacted angrily to any speculation he won't stay with his current team through the end of his contract, which runs through the end of the 2011 season.
   However, Evernham is the man who crewed Jeff Gordon to several NASCAR Cup championships with team owner Rick Hendrick and then took the deep dive into team ownership himself for many years, until bailing out last season and turning to a career on TV.
   Evernham made the bold prediction here Friday.
   But Martin didn't take kindly to the issue.
   "I made myself perfectly clear last weekend, or over the last several weeks," Martin said forcefully: "There is no inclination of any change.
    "But I will tell you this: there is no road map for me and my future.
    "So don't even start to think about criticizing what I do in 2012 or beyond because I don't know. So don't even ask what I want to do, because I don't know. 
    "I'm going to do what I want to do (in 2012 and beyond), but for now I'm going to drive the 5 car.  That's what I'm going to do in 2011. 
    "That's what I've said all along. And I felt very disrespected when the media doesn't accept that. 
    "What that means is that you made me look like I am about to get fired. 
     "That's very disrespectful, guys.  That's what you all are doing. 
      "It's very disrespectful. And I deserve better than that from you guys. 
     "I've always been as straight as I can be...and any little bit of waffling I have done in my whole career was based on being asked questions before I was ready to answer them. 
     "I should be able to do the things I want to do.  I went to a limited schedule because I wanted to.  I came back full time because I wanted to drive the 5 car. 
     "I never said I was going to retire. I said I wasn't going to run full schedule anymore -- and I changed my mind. 
    "I'm going to have a hard time telling you guys what I'm going to do in 2012 and beyond...because you pick at that like I'm indecisive. 
    "I'm at the point in my career where I get to do whatever in the heck I want to do. 
     "Rick Hendrick and Alan Gustafson indicated to me they wanted me to drive their car as long as I would drive it.  After thinking about it, I told them I would drive it through 2011, and that would be long enough commitment for me. And then I would do something else. 
     "They wanted me to go further than that, and I wouldn't do it, because it's too far out. 
     "I don't have a road map...and I don't want to change my mind. 
     "I just want to do what I said I was going to do. 
    "That's what we're going to do. That's what they want. That's what I want.
    "And I don't know why everybody makes such a big deal out of all this. 
      "Understand that it will all be put to rest whenever they announce what Kasey is going to do. You should be focusing on that: What is Kasey going to do?  Because I have told you what I'm going to do."
    But that's the rub: Hendrick now has five drivers under contract for 2011 – Martin, Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, Dale Earnhardt Jr., and Kahne. Yet NASCAR rules allow Hendrick to run only four teams.
    When the Kahne deal broke open in April, Hendrick indicated he wanted to have a ride firmed up for Kahne by now. But so far there is little being said, other than reports that Hendrick and James Finch are having discussions about putting Kahne in a Finch car for 2011.
      [Note: You can use Twitter as an easy headline service for mikemulhern.net stories, with our instant Tweets to your mobile as soon as our newest NASCAR story is filed. And mikemulhern.net is mobile-friendly for viewing. You can also use the orange RSS feed button as a quickie headline service on your laptop or home computer for mikemulhern.net stories, by creating a Live Bookmark RSS feed on your web browser's toolbar. Or you can create a Google Alert for mikemulhernnet.]


  An angry Mark Martin says there's no way he's giving up this ride (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Enter the characters shown in the image.

© 2010-2011 www.mikemulhern.net All rights reserved.
Web site by www.webdesigncarolinas.com