Mark Martin to Drive for Hendrick 2008?

Jen PrestonSenior Analyst IOctober 29, 2008

Mark Martin decided in June that he would make one last run at the Cup championship that has eluded him during his 27 years in Cup.

Martin decided to take over the No. 5 Kelloggs/Carquest Chevrolet at Hendrick Motorsports, starting next year. However, reports suggest we may see the veteran in the car before Speed Weeks '09.

Car owner Rick Hendrick hopes to get his future driver in the car at Homestead, leaving current driver Casey Mears without a ride.

"Since you don't get on the race track in December, or really the first half of January, it would give us a chance to find out what we need to focus on so that we come out of the gate focusing on what it is that we saw we needed to work on," Martin told The Canadian Press Sunday. "It would be a great advantage for us in that respect."

Martin has already tested for the team twice. He's expected to finish his contract with Dale Earnhardt, Inc. in two weeks at Phoenix.

Mike Dillon, general manager of Richard Childress Racing, says Childress doesn't plan on leaving Mears out of the season finale.

“They don't want Casey to have to sit out that race, so they want us to put him in one of our cars,” Dillon said. "We'd be glad to do that, but we'd need sponsorship, and it would cost $300,000 to $400,000 to get that deal together for the Homestead race."

Clint Bowyer currently drives the No. 07 Jack Daniel's Chevrolet, which Mears will be taking over next season, and is competing in the Chase.

Martin hasn't won a race since 2005, when he was with Roush Racing. Mears' only career win came in 2007 in the Coca Cola 600 at Charlotte.