The Best Seat at the Track, The Best View on the Net!
Oct. 28, 2016
What to Watch: Friday
This weekend's TV Schedule can be found here.
by The Frontstretch Staff
Records and facts
In last years' Goody's Headache Relief Shot 500 at Martinsville, anger reached the boiling point. Joey Logano was in good position to potentially claim his fourth consecutive win. Matt Kenseth wasn't having any of that. Kenseth intentionally wrecked Logano with 47 laps to go, earning a two-race suspension for his actions. There was no fighting after the crash, but a number of people, including Tom Logano (Joey's father) had to be restrained.
Jeff Gordon was able to get past AJ Allmendinger with 22 laps to go and held on to take a very popular victory that locked him into the Championship 4. Jamie McMurray finished second, followed by Denny Hamlin, Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and Kyle Busch. Logano actually finished on-track in 37th, while Kenseth was parked for his actions and finished 38th.
Jeff Gordon, who will be competing in his final career Sprint Cup start (for now), is the active leader in wins at Martinsville with nine. That includes last fall's run to sunset. Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jimmie Johnson has eight, while Denny Hamlin has five victories.
All-time, Richard Petty is the leader with 15 career victories. Darrell Waltrip has 11 Martinsville victories, then Gordon with his nine, Johnson with eight and Rusty Wallace with seven. Three other drivers (Cale Yarborough, Dale Earnhardt and Fred Lorenzen) have six wins each.
Track / Race Length: 0.526-mile oval, 500 laps (263 miles)
Banking: 12 degrees
Straightaways: 800 ft., flat
Grandstand Seating: 55,000
Pit Road Speed: 30 mph
Pace Car Speed: 35 mph
Opened: 1947 (first Cup race in the inaugural season, 1949)
Practice No. 1: Friday, October 28, 11 a.m. - 12:25 p.m. on NBCSN
Qualifying: Friday, October 28, 4:30 p.m. on NBCSN
Practice No. 2: Saturday, October 29, 9 - 9:55 a.m. on CNBC
Happy Hour: Saturday, October 29, 12 - 12:55 p.m. on NBCSN
"Everything is a challenge for me at Martinsville. It has been a rough going every time I have been. I'm definitely going to look into it a lot this week before we go back, and running the truck race there on Saturday should help, too. I've had a lot of thoughts on it from the first race we ran this year as to what I want to do different going back and to try to just rethink that place. I didn't have many short tracks that were similar to Martinsville in shape and size growing up short-track racing. A lot of the places were a little bigger, didn't have quite as tight of a corner and not quite as heavy of braking. A lot of that stuff I'm just trying to sort through and trying to get an idea what I need to do to improve. I have some great teammates and I've tried to talk to the guys who have dominated that place over the years – especially Jeff (Gordon) and Jimmie (Johnson). I've spent a ton of time with each of them talking about Martinsville and trying to walk through some of the things that they do, some of the things they look for. I think, especially Jeff, the success he has had there last fall for instance; I've tried to talk to him as much as I could about that place. Both of them have been just as open as they can be about the things they look for, how they attack the track and the things they think that they are going to fight throughout a race. I just haven't quite been able to put that together on the racetrack yet. I think if I focus on trying not to get too ahead of myself and focusing on the things that you focus on to short-track race – especially keeping that longevity in your race car over a long run -- will help. Making it to the end and running all 500 miles is obviously the most important thing, but I think just short-track racing in general you just want to try not to get too far ahead of yourself. I'm looking forward to trying to improve on that." - Chase Elliott
"I'm pretty optimistic about Martinsville. Earlier this year, we struggled a little in practice and the first half of the race. It was just learning, trying to get better. And the second half of the race, we got the car a little closer to what it needed to be, and I picked up on some things that really helped. We got to running some pretty good times. But with that place being as small as it is, we weren't in a good position to contend for a top-10 at that point. But there was a lot that was positive about our speed at the end of that race. So we'll look to apply that to our Love's Fusion this time around." - Chris Buescher
"Nowadays, our cars drive so well you just race wide open. It's not as important to be a smart racecar driver as it is to be fast. The thing about Martinsville is, no matter what happens, tire wear is still a factor. You have to be smart, you have to take care of your tires. That's what I like about it now. Those tracks are becoming a minority of the tracks we go to. You don't have to take care of your tires hardly at all any more at the majority of the tracks we go to. Martinsville is still one of those tracks where you still have to be smart and take care of your car.
"I'm finding the longer I am here, the definition is different for everybody. When I started in the sport, you had Dale [Earnhardt] Sr., Rusty Wallace, Dale Jarrett, Mark Martin, Bobby Labonte and a host of guys who had a pretty strict etiquette and you played by the rules. If you didn't, when you were sitting there crashed against the wall, you had plenty of time to think about what you did wrong. Now you see guys do things, especially at Martinsville, that they don't normally do anywhere else. You fight to get to the bottom of the racetrack because you have to. You just can't run that second groove. You see them making really sketchy moves to get down as soon as they can." - Tony Stewart
Phil Allaway is the Newsletter Manager and a Senior Writer for Frontstretch.com. He can be reached via e-mail at email@example.com.
TODAY ON FRONTSTRETCH:
by the Frontstretch Staff
Q: The Busch Grand National Winston Classic in 1992 at Martinsville was a wreckfest. Specifically, there were 14 cautions in a 200 lap race (Note: Yellows seemed to be really popular that year, as the all-time record for yellows was set at Hickory that April (26)). Jeff Gordon was having a great day until a restart not long before halfway. What happened?
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