The puzzle pieces for the 2012 season continue to fall into place with the latest speculation putting Mark Martin in the Michael Waltrip Racing stable for a partial schedule next year.
Martin Truex Jr. will return to drive MWR's NAPA Toyota with newcomer Clint Bowyer coming on board in a partner Toyota entry carrying 5-Hour Energy sponsorship for the bulk of the campaign.
The Charlotte Observer and the Associated Press both report it appears sponsorship for the No. 00 entry driven by David Reutimann will not be in place for the entire 2012 schedule opening the door for Martin to take over and compete on a partial basis.
Martin, who will leave Hendrick Motorsports at season's end, has indicated his desire to remain active in the sport next season but until now has been coy about his plans.
“I love what I do and just want to make sure my fans know I’m not quitting, so we’ll worry about it later when the time comes,” Martin has said repeatedly when asked about his 2012 plan.
Michael Waltrip Racing has an announcement planned Friday at Texas Motor Speedway where it is expected the team's firm 2012 plans will be unveiled.
Martin’s business manager, Benny Ertel, told Sirius/XM NASCAR Radio's "Sirius Speedway" that Martin has no signed deals in place for next year; with MWR or anyone else. “We’ve had conversations with probably 15 teams,” said Ertel. “We’re working very, very hard to find something for next year, but we do not have a done deal with anyone at present. We’re talking to a lot of people, we’ve had conversations with half the garage, in all three divisions.” He conceded that MWR is one of the operations with whom Martin has spoken.
“Stewart Haas has a press conference at noon today,” said Ertel. “Michael Waltrip has one Friday in Texas. We’d love to be part of either of those announcements, but at this moment, we do not have a done deal.”
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