Hendrick Motorsports mulling plan to put Martin in No. 5 car at Homestead

Updated: October 26, 2008, 1:27 PM ET
By David Newton | ESPN.com

HAMPTION, Ga. -- Hendrick Motorsports is considering a plan that would put Mark Martin in the No. 5 car he'll take over in 2009 for the final race of this season at Homestead Speedway.

A contingency to the plan is getting Casey Mears, the current driver of the No. 5, into the fourth car at Richard Childress Racing that he will drive next season.

But in order to do that Mears would have to drive the No. 33, not the No. 07 that he is slated for because Clint Bowyer is driving that car in the Chase.

Team owner Richard Childress said he is willing to put Mears in the No. 33 unsponsored if necessary.

"He won't go without a ride," Childress said.

Mears said he is aware there have been conversations of a switch, but he doesn't know anything concrete.

"The way the season's gone so far, there's been things that I didn't think were gonna happen that have happened already," he said. "We just have to get closer to the end of the season, but I'm sure the week before Homestead we'll have a better idea of exactly what's going on."

Mears said his preference is to finish the season where he is since he won't be able to work with the 07 team or crew chief Gil Martin.

"If there was an option there, it would make sense," he said of switching. "Otherwise, it doesn't really make sense for me. But I'll probably find out what I'm doing closer to Homestead."

Martin will be free of his duties in the No. 8 at Dale Earnhardt Enterprises after the next two races at Texas and Phoenix. He will go from the part-time schedule that he has been on for a couple of years to run a full-time schedule at HMS.

David Newton covers NASCAR for ESPN.com. He can be reached at dnewtonespn@aol.com.

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ESPN Carolina Panthers reporter