Rick Hendrick Erases ESPN Analyst's Theory About Mark Martin's Future

Sal Sigala Jr.Senior Analyst IJuly 26, 2010

JOLIET, IL - JULY 11:  Mark Martin (R), driver of the #5 CARQUEST/Kellogg's Chevrolet, celebrates with team owner Rick Hendrick (L) and crew chief Alan Gustafson (Top) in the victory lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series LifeLock.com 400 at Chicagoland Speedway on July 11, 2009 in Joliet, Illinois.  (Photo by John Harrelson/Getty Images)
John Harrelson/Getty Images

The ongoing saga of who Mark Martin will be driving for next season took another detour when quotes from an ESPN analyst was used to stir up the rumor mill, which is almost no different than using quotes from Twitter or Facebook.

The rumor began when Ray Evernham, who led Hendrick Motorsports driver Jeff Gordon to three of his four championships while sitting atop his pit box as his crew chief, commented that Martin would not be back next season behind the wheel of the No. 5 car.

The comment led many to believe that Evernham, who is also an analyst for ESPN, knew more than what the rest of the team knew, and that Hendrick himself had put him up to it.

Rick Hendrick spoke to the media on Sunday morning, and put to rest any theory by  saying that, "I don't need anybody to do dirty work for me."

Hendrick also added that, "If I have anything I want done, I'll go to the people. I won't have somebody else doing it or speaking for me.”

When Hendrick first signed Richard Petty Motorsports driver Kasey Kahne to a three-year deal back in April, he said he would take full responsibility on finding him a ride for the 2011 season.

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Hendrick, who already has four drivers signed to his team, knew all along that Martin’s contract would not expire until after the 2011 season, which left one unanswered question—where would Kahne drive in 2011?

Martin has already made it clear on more than one occasion, that he will be back behind the wheel of the No. 5 when the 2011 season begins.

"We have a deal with Mark, and we're going to honor that," said Hendrick.

Hendrick added that, "We want to honor that. Kasey's known that. That's kind of where we are. It's [Martin's] seat and it's his call."

Now within the past few months, Hendrick is still without any answers saying that, "It's my fault—I take 100 percent—but I've never signed a driver this early under a four-car cap rule and we do have a lot of options, but those options you have to make everything fit with the sponsors and everything else.”

With the chase being just around the corner, it’s more than likely Hendrick already has a general idea of how this whole scenario will play out.

By no means does the most powerful and the smartest owner in the NASCAR series, sign a driver of Kahne’s caliber without a place to put him.

Hendrick went on to say that, "It's just a very complicated deal. Is it more complicated than I anticipated?”

Hendrick answered himself by saying, “Yeah, but at the same time, I do have options, and I want to make it the best option for everyone involved."

What began as a simple signing of a driver from one team to another, has quickly turned into one of NASCAR's biggest mysteries with both Kahne and Martin involved.

The last big mystery was back in February of 2008, when Tony Stewart hit Kurt Busch with his fist inside a NASCAR hauler, and afterwards saying what happens in the hauler stays in the hauler.

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