Points Punch To Martin

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A pit road mistake in Saturday night's Sharpie 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway could lead to Mark Martin missing the "Chase for the NEXTEL Cup."

And Martin takes total blame.

Martin was penalized for pitting outside his box early in Saturday night's race and was forced to drop to the rear of the field. He got caught in an accident with Scott Wimmer, which damaged his car and took him out of contention.

"I made a mistake," Martin said. "I was on the (pit box) line and I didn't know it, and the officials didn't call it until we were gone so we didn't have a chance to correct it. It was my mistake."

"We were going to be fine to make it back up, and I got in a wreck. I don't know what happened to (Scott Wimmer). I had a good enough car to get back for a reasonable finish, but it wasn't our night.

"I will take the blame for that."

The night dropped Martin to tenth in the point standings adn he holds a 90 point lead over 11th place Kasey Kahne with two races left to qualify for the "Chase."

"I did the best I could," is all Martin would say about his "Chase" chances.

The Bristol weekend also included talk of Martin's plans for next year, which recently haven included the possibility of the veteran returning for more NEXTEL Cup duty.

Team owner Jack Roush still harbors hopes of finding a ride for Martin, if only in a limited capacity.

"Certainly I haven't given up on that," Roush said.

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