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Mark Martin not looking for new race seat

Mark Martin had admitted that he's not looking for a new race seat in NASCAR Sprint Cup competition for 2014 and that he's looking forward to moving on to new challenges.
Veteran NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Mark Martin won't use the word 'retire', but he's admitted that he isn't looking for a new race seat for next season and almost certainly won't be competing in the Daytona 500 next February, the first time he'll be absent from the grid there since 1987 after 26 consecutive starts.

"It's time for me to open a new chapter and do some other things," said Martin, who at 54 has 40 career wins in 880 starts dating back to a 1981 race at North Wilkesboro, although he's never won the Daytona 500 itself or a Cup title in all those years of campaigning.

"My life is going to change," he admitted after indicating that he's set for an as-yet unspecified role at Stewart-Haas Racing that will likely see him test and shakedown cars on behalf of its four-driver line-up in 2014. "The major definition is I'll do the preseason testing. The cool thing about that is I get to do it on my terms. We haven't gone solid with the level of commitments or duties I will have.

"I'll still have an opportunity to satisfy my competitive fire and still be able to be involved in the sport at whatever level I want to be. And we'll let that kind of materialize as we move forward past Homestead," he continued. "I told them that I want to get this year behind me. I'm kind of tired, I might not make the best decisions right now.

"I'm going to open a new chapter," he said. "I squeezed every ounce of the good stuff out of my driving career. I'm really excited about moving on and [still] being involved in racing. I'll still compete as a competitor in other ways.

"I don't think I'm going to miss being a race car driver because I got to do that and was real good at it," he added. "It's exciting because I get to be involved in racing and I love it so much."

Martin could have opted to continue, as he's not been short on offers after proving time and again that he can run with the very best of the modern breed of drivers out on the track. "I have shot every inquiry down that I've had for any of the top three divisions for 2014," he revealed this weekend in Phoenix. "I've shot them down because I haven't been interested in doing that.

"I really enjoyed this year not dealing with all of that, and I don't think that that's of any major consequence," he said, adding: "I'm not having to quit before I'm ready ... I am 100 per cent comfortable and ready."

After nearly two years running a part-time campaign in Michael Waltrip Racing's #55 car after a stint at Hendrick Motorsports, Martin was the choice of the SHR team to stand in for Tony Stewart in the #14 when the three-time champion broke his leg in August and was ruled out of competition for the remainder of the year. Perhaps it was that experience that Martin was hoping would prove to be a suitable 'high' on which to bring down the curtain on his time as a racing driver, but the driver indicated that his decision was actually made much earlier than that.




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Mark Martin, driver of the #55 Aaron`s Dream Machine Toyota, poses after winning the pole during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Subway Fresh Fit 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on March 1, 2013 in Avondale, Arizona. (Photo Credit: Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
Kurt Busch, driver of the #78 Furniture Row Chevrolet, and Mark Martin, driver of the #14 Bass Pro Shops / Mobil 1 Chevrolet, are involved in an incident during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Goody`s Headache Relief Shot 500 Powered By Kroger at Martinsville Speedway on October 27, 2013 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo Credit: NASCAR via Getty Images)
NASCAR driver, Mark Martin, who is filling in for an injured Tony Stewart, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver and co-owner of Stewart-Haas Racing, watches the press conference at Stewart-Haas Racing on September 3, 2013 in Kannapolis, North Carolina. (Photo Credit: Streeter Lecka/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Mark Martin, driver of the NASCAR Sprint Cup #14 Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1 Chevrolet SS qualified 11th Friday, August 23, 2013 for Saturday`s Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee. Martin is interim driver for Tony Stewart who is out for the season due to injury. (Alan Marler for Chevrolet)
Mark Martin at Auto Club Auto Club Speedway, Fontana in California - March 2013 (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, and Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet, lead a pack of cars during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, passes Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, to take the lead and win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, and team owner Tony Stewart celebrate winning in Victory Lane after the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, celebrates with his wife DeLana and son Keelan in victory lane after winning during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Marcos Ambrose, driver of the #9 Stanley Ford, poses with his team before his last race, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet SS, celebrates his victory and the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship Sunday, November 16, 2014 winning the final NASCAR Sprint Cup race of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet SS finishes 2nd. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet SS, celebrates his victory and the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship Sunday, November 16, 2014 winning the final NASCAR Sprint Cup race of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet SS finishes 2nd. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet SS, celebrates his victory and the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship Sunday, November 16, 2014 winning the final NASCAR Sprint Cup race of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet SS finishes 2nd. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet SS, celebrates his victory and the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship Sunday, November 16, 2014 winning the final NASCAR Sprint Cup race of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet SS finishes 2nd. (Photo by Christa L Thomas/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet SS, celebrates his victory and the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship Sunday, November 16, 2014 winning the final NASCAR Sprint Cup race of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet SS finishes 2nd. (Photo by Garry Eller/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Chase Elliott, driver of the #9 Napa Auto Parts Chevrolet, wins the EnjoyIllinois.com 300 race at Chicagoland Speedway on July 19, 2014 in Joliet, Illinois. (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Chase Elliott, driver of the #9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet, celebrates winning the series championship during the NASCAR Nationwide Series Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 15, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Matt Crafton, driver of the #88 Jeld-Wen/Menards Toyota, and his daughter Elladee take part in pre-race ceremonies for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Ford EcoBoost 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 14, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images for NASCAR)

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