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Martin has no plans to race in 2014

AVONDALE, Ariz. (AP) - Mark Martin said Friday he has no plans to race beyond next week's season finale at Homestead.

But the 54-year-old shied away from announcing an official retirement Friday when discussing his NASCAR future.

''Let's just don't talk about it,'' he said. ''On the plus side of things, it's not like I'm going to go hide. I've got 40 years invested in this sport and I've had tunnel vision the whole 40 years. I won't be at every race, but I'll be at races and I'll still be involved in the sport.

''My life is going to change and it's going to open a new chapter, and I expect to have a lot broader windshield and be a lot less wound tight and tunnel-visioned.''

Martin plans to work in an undefined role with Stewart-Haas Racing, which for now calls for him to test the No. 14 Chevrolet until injured driver Tony Stewart can race again. Stewart is expected to return from a broken leg in time for the season-opening Daytona 500.

But Martin said he has turned down every opportunity to race competitively next season.

''I have shot every inquiry down that I've had for any of the top three divisions for 2014,'' he said. ''I've shot them down because I haven't been interested in doing that.''

Martin said he's ready for the next phase of his life. Considered by many to be the best driver never to win a Cup championship, Martin has 40 wins and will make his 881st career start Sunday at Phoenix.

He has finished second in the standings five times, most recently 2009, when he returned to a full Cup schedule after racing a partial season for two years.

Martin's original schedule for this season expanded when he agreed to be Stewart's injury replacement. He'll have run 28 of the 36 races next week, and said he's ready to clear his head during the offseason.

''I'm kind of tired. I might not make the best decisions right now,'' he said. ''I'll still have an opportunity to satisfy my competitive fire and still be able to be involved in the sport at whatever level I want to be. And we'll let that kind of materialize as we move forward past Homestead.''

Copyright 2018 by STATS LLC and Associated Press.
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