Martin will retire after 2005

NEXTEL Cup series veteran, Mark Martin, announced today that 2005 will be his final season in NASCAR's premium division. In his career, Martin has collected 34 wins and 213 top-five results. "Hey, the first time I ever got in a Cup car back in...

NEXTEL Cup series veteran, Mark Martin, announced today that 2005 will be his final season in NASCAR's premium division. In his career, Martin has collected 34 wins and 213 top-five results.

"Hey, the first time I ever got in a Cup car back in 1981 at North Wilkesboro, I was there to win the thing," said Martin. "Next year when we climb in that car at Homestead for the last race, I can guarantee you that we'll be looking to win that as well.

I have a great team and we've overcome so much to be where we are right now. The focus of the Viagra Team will continue to be to win that championship and to win races. We'd like nothing more than to go out on top."

Martin started his career in 1981, and joined Roush Racing in 1988. Currently, Martin and the No. 6 Ford team are in fifth place in the NEXTEL Chase for the Championship. Martin has nicknamed his final season in NASCAR as the "Salute to You" tour, and joins veterans Bill Elliott, Terry Labonte and Rusty Wallace, who are all planning their goodbyes to the sport.

"Well I just want everyone to understand how grateful I am for the opportunities I've had over the years," said Martin. "And we are going to spend a lot of time next year just saying thanks and 'saluting' all the people who helped make it all possible.

"It's a Salute to the teams and the crews and all of the people that gave so much of themselves to put us where we are. It's a Salute to the sponsors we've had over the years, who always helped provide us with not only top- notch equipment but unending support.

"It's a Salute to my family, Arlene, Matt, Amy, Rachel, Heather and Stacy, who had to deal with a lot of things and give up a lot for me to chase my dreams around the country. It's a Salute to Jack Roush, who took a chance on me.and last but not least, it's a Salute to the fans out there."

Martin will leave behind a varied resume that includes the most victories in Busch Series history (45), 41 Cup series poles and perhaps Martin's most hated personal statistic; that he has finished second four times in his quest to garner the series title.

"Mark put Roush Racing on the map," commented team owner Jack Roush. "Through it all, he has been true to himself and the passion for perfection in himself and to the relentless competition with others. My enduring relationship with Mark has been the proudest accomplishment of my business."

Martin is a sentimental favorite of the sport, and known for his affable personality. Martin has been integral in helping Roush build their stable of drivers and serve as a mentor for Matt Kenseth, Kurt Busch, Greg Biffle and Carl Edwards.

"There hasn't been a bigger influence on my career in the Cup Series than Mark Martin," commented reigning Cup series champion Matt Kenseth. "He's the one that talked to Jack Roush about me and kind of took me under his wing and made sure I had a home here at Roush Racing.

"I owe my success to Mark."

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Bill Elliott , Matt Kenseth , Terry Labonte , Rusty Wallace , Greg Biffle , Kurt Busch , Carl Edwards , Jack Roush , Mark Martin