Mark Martin released to the public on Saturday at Phoenix Raceway that he will no longer be behind the wheel of a racecar. Martin will formally retire from the act of racing at the conclusion of the 2013 season.
The 54-year-old didn’t express to the media that he’d be leaving the NASCAR world, he explained that he’d be a mentor at Stewart-Haas Racing.
“The garage is full of drivers who are on their game, and I’ve gotten all the good out of mine. I’ve squeezed every ounce of it out, and no one can say that I didn’t,” Martin said. “I worked really, really hard the last 10 years to continue to be a formidable opponent in the garage, and from time to time when stuff was right, I was able to do it. And I’m proud of that. But it’s time for me to open a new chapter and do some other things.”
“Father Time does take its toll on every single sense you have,” Martin said. “Your hand-eye coordination, everything is affected as you get older. And at some point in time, that decline becomes a detriment to you. You can work as hard as you want, you can maybe run well, but you’re fighting Father Time. That’s different for anyone. I feel I can still drive a race car pretty fast, but I’m not the driver I was at my peak. And I know it. Maybe for a while I didn’t, but I know it. … I’m not saying I can’t run good, but I can feel it in everything I do. Every time I get up and walk across the room, I can tell that I’m not 35. And anybody that says they can’t, I don’t know. I’d like to be sipping off their juice.”
Mark recently took over for Tony Stewart while he’s been out with an injury to his leg. The No. 14 ride might have just been Mark’s way of leaving with authority.
“I was trying to go out with some dignity,” Martin said. “The last two months have not been pretty. But everybody in the garage suffers through times when they can’t get their cars to do what they need them to do. I’m not the only one.”