Ertel called the reports "aggravating," saying his driver has grown tired of answering the same questions, week after week. "It's the same thing, over and over again," Ertel said. "We walk into the media center and someone immediately raises their hand and asks about where Mark will be racing next season. Mark has answered the question a thousand times and it's always the same answer. 'I will be driving the #5 Chevrolet for Hendrick Motorsports next season.' That's as simple as it is, but some reporters just don’t listen."
"Randy Pemberton went on Sirius NASCAR Radio the other day and said Mark will be driving for Red Bull next season," said Ertel. "There's not a shred of truth to that statement, and he never bothered to ask Mark, Rick Hendrick or anyone else about it. If he had asked, he would have been told -- in no uncertain terms -- that it was a load of hooey.
"I don't know what's so difficult to understand," said Ertel. "Mark Martin will drive the #5 Chevrolet for Hendrick Motorsports next season. Period."
Well, that's a pretty strong statement, isn't it? It certainly isn't any different from what Martin has said ever since the Kasey Kahne to Hendrick in 2012 announcement was made.
But while the deal to 2012 is done, 2011 isn't. And given that 2011 comes before 2012, it's kind of a big deal. Plus, the wholesale "blame the media" approach seems a little bizarre in this situation given that Pemberton has been the only media member to report that Martin was leaving Hendrick Motorsports.
This being said, as long as Kahne's 2011 plans remain up in the air, the speculation is going to continue.
- Hendrick Motorsports
- Mark Martin
- Rick Hendrick