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Martin to race full-time in 2010

Mark Martin, 2009Mark Martin will race again for the whole season next year, Hendrick Motorsports announced Wednesday.

Last summer Martin had signed a two-year contract with the Sprint Cup outfit, which was initially to run full-time in the #5 car this season and do 26 events in 2010.

However, back in March he had already hinted at possibly running the complete 36-race schedule again next year.

Hendrick Motorsports announced that the initial agreement has been revised and Martin will have a further shot at his maiden Sprint Cup title.

"Week in and week out, Mark continues to be one of the best race car drivers in the world," said team owner Rick Hendrick. "He's already made an incredible contribution to Hendrick Motorsports, and our entire company is excited about running another full season and winning races with him in 2010."

Martin is currently running his first full-season for the past three years after running limited schedules for Ginn Racing and Dale Earnhardt Inc. Last month he claimed his first victory since 2005, becoming the third-oldest driver ever to win a Sprint Cup series race.

"It means a lot to drive the No. 5 Chevy for Rick and for Hendrick Motorsports," Martin said. "I'm in the best condition of my life, I'm recharged, and I'm motivated. Going to the racetrack every weekend is still really fun, and that's the key. There's more gas in my tank."

The 50-year-old veteran currently runs fifteenth in the championship, despite showing great speed and consistency. In the first ten races of the season he has scored three pole positions and five top ten finishes, but he has also retired three times, first at Fontana and Las Vegas with engine failures, and then at Talladega where he was involved in an early multi-car crash.

Brad Keselowski, who has made four Sprint Cup starts for Hendrick Motorsports and drives for sister-team JR Motorsports in the Nationwide Series, had been expected to share the drive of the #5 car with Martin in 2010.

He could still race for Hendrick Motorports in a number of races, although he has expressed his desire to land a full-time drive for next year.

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