Martin eyes another season

Updated: March 20, 2009, 4:41 PM ET
By David Newton | ESPN.com

BRISTOL, Tenn. -- Although he hasn't discussed it with team owner Rick Hendrick, Mark Martin would like to drive at least one more full season in the No. 5 after this year.

I love what I'm doing right now and I'm not ready to quit.

-- Mark Martin

When the 50-year-old driver signed a two-year deal with HMS midway through last season, the plan was to run a full schedule in 2009 and perhaps split the 2010 season with Brad Keselowski or another driver.

"A lot of things have changed since May and June of '08," Martin said on Friday at Bristol Motor Speedway. "When it all comes down to it, it's not about contracts. It's all about what we all want."

What Martin wants, despite a tough start that has him 35th in owner points, is to continue at his current pace. But Martin says he'll do that only if it's right for the team, sponsors and Hendrick, reiterating there have been no discussions to this point.

"I love what I'm doing right now and I'm not ready to quit," said Martin, driving a full schedule for the first time since 2006 at Roush Fenway Racing. "I thought what I was going to do beyond the driver's seat was work on [his son, Matt's] cars. That's not going to happen, and I'm actively searching what the next chapter of my life's going to be.

"Right now, I'd like to continue this chapter."

Crew chief Alan Gustafson is all for that.

"I will work on Mark Martin's car until he wants to quit, if he's 80 years old," Gustafson said.

Martin said his position in the standings, the result of two blown engines and a blown tire, hasn't changed his thoughts on the future.

"I'm not going to quit," he said. "I can't really talk about next year because Rick and I haven't really talked about next year. We'll talk about it when the time comes. This is a real privilege for me, and it hasn't made me want to drive any less."

David Newton covers NASCAR for ESPN.com.

David Newton | email

ESPN Carolina Panthers reporter