Martin on board with MWR for next two seasons

Michael Waltrip Racing made it official on Friday that Mark Martin will drive the team's No.00 Toyota in a partial Sprint Cup Series schedule in 2012 and '13.

Martin and team co-owner Michael Waltrip made the announcement at Texas Motor Speedway, where the series is running the eighth race in the championship Chase this weekend.

The 52-year-old Martin will compete in 25 Sprint Cup races each of the next two seasons. He will make his debut with MWR in the February 26 Daytona 500. Martin is presently in his third and final year as driver of the No.5 Chevrolet for Hendrick Motorsports. Kasey Kahne is taking over driving duties of the No.5 car, starting next year.

Martin will join Martin Truex Jr. and recently acquired Clint Bowyer in MWR's three-car stable next season. Bowyer is leaving Richard Childress Racing at season's end.

"It's the perfect schedule for me," Martin said. "It gives me an opportunity to catch my breath and to spend a little bit more time with the fans and with the sponsors. Hopefully, it will give me a bit more time than I'm able to do now with the [Hendrick] team. They've given me an opportunity here to hopefully have an effect on the direction of the program."

Martin also ran a part-time Sprint Cup schedule in 2007 and '08, driving for Ginn Racing/Dale Earnhardt Inc.

Waltrip will drive the No.00 car in both Talladega races, as well as the July events at Daytona and Kentucky, which is his home state.

MWR also announced that it has extended its sponsorship agreement with Aaron's for the next two seasons.

Waltrip said it did not take much convincing for Martin to join the team.

"This whole process from the time it was mentioned to sitting here today has been less than three weeks, "Waltrip said. "It didn't take a lot of time to convince Mark. We got a lot of great things going on at Michael Waltrip Racing. He loves the commitment that Aaron's had made to this sport. It was kind of an opportunity for him to step back a little bit and refresh his batteries by running a limited schedule.

MWR plans to run a combination of drivers and sponsor partners to fill the remaining races when Martin and Waltrip will not be behind the wheel of the No.00.

David Reutimann is the current driver of the No.00. On Thursday, MWR announced that Reutimann will not be return to the team for next season.