The Backstretch Blog: Short Timers
Short track time for the Chase for the Championship as NASCAR heads to Martinsville. And aside from its hot dogs, this track is also known for some pretty great racing.
"Racing at Martinsville Speedway is definitely a challenge,” said Kevin Harvick. “You have the tight turns and you also have to worry about the tires falling off. It creates the ultimate challenge of keeping track position, dealing with the fall off of the car, deciding whether you want to be good on the start or end of a run, and when to get tires.”
Of course, it’s a challenge that the same group of drivers seem to always meet. Chase leader Jimmie Johnson has eight Martinsville victories, and his teammate Jeff Gordon has seven.
"Martinsville has been good to us in the past,” said Johnson. “We've got to go there and race. There is going to be a lot of strong competition. We will make sure we get buttoned up and ready to go for this weekend's race and go up there to that paperclip and see what we can do."
Denny Hamlin has also been very good at the paper clip shaped track, with four wins. He could become the third straight non-chaser to win during this chase.
“Martinsville is obviously one of my favorite tracks that we go to, and I have never been more anxious to get there after missing the spring race,” said Hamlin who was out with a broken back in the spring. “It’s a great opportunity for our FedEx team to get a win, and a place that really suits my driving style. Hopefully we’ll get a good starting spot and pit box, which will help keep the #11 FedEx One Rate Toyota up front all day.”
Other past Martinsville winners include Mark Martin (2), Bobby Labonte, Kurt Busch, Kevin Harvick, Jeff Burton and Ryan Newman.