Date: Sunday – October 30th, 2011
Time: 1:30 PM ET
Location: Martinsville Speedway
Distance: 263 Laps/500 Miles
Broadcast: TV – ESPN
Radio – MRN (Motor Racing Network)/Sirius XM Ch. 90
High: 59°F – Low: 33°F
Start Time: 58°F
End of Race: 54°
Chance of Rain: 0%
Wind: From ESE at 3 mph
Fantasy Racing Picks:
Target: Denny Hamlin, Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon and Jeff Burton
Avoid: Greg Biffle, Matt Kenseth, Kurt Busch and Kasey Kahne
Analysis: Jeff Burton led 274 laps last year, but had a best finish of ninth. Kurt Busch has not had a top-10 finish since 2005.
Bargain: David Ragan has finished in the top-20 in the last three races at Martinsville Speedway (finished P8 this year).
-Standing alone in 11th place on the points list with just four races remaining, Denny Hamlin has virtually no shot at winning the Chase for the Sprint Cup. Having said that, Hamlin definitely has a chance at winning this week’s race at Martinsville. Why? Well, he’s the two-time defending champion and has never finished outside the top-10 at this race in six years.
-Last season, Hamlin moved to within six points of eventual champion Jimmie Johnson in the Chase after winning the Tums Fast Relief 500.
-Hamlin and Johnson have dominated at Martinsville since the fall of 2006, winning every race except this year’s spring race which went to Kevin Harvick. Hamlin had won three straight and four overall prior to Harvick, while Johnson had posted five wins in a six-race span. How good has Johnson been at Martinsville? In 19 career starts, he has finished outside the top-10 just twice (2002, 2010).
-Johnson defeated Dale Earnhardt Jr in 2008 by less than a second for win number 39.
-Johnson became the first back-to-back winner of this race since Darrell Waltrip captured three straight in 1987-89, when he won in 2007.
-When Kurt Busch won the 2002 fall race from the 36th starting position, it marked the furthest back a race winner had started.
-Not quite out of the Chase, Jeff Gordon, 10th on the points list, has enjoyed plenty of success at Martinsville with two wins and eight top-10′s in his last nine Martinsville starts. Overall, Gordon has seven all-time poles, seven wins and 16 top-10s in his last 17 starts.
-Three active drivers average a top-10 finish at Martinsville: Jimmie Johnson (5.6), Denny Hamlin (6.6) and Jeff Gordon (7.0).
-During Harvick’s win earlier this year, there were 31 lead changes, a track record.
-Carl Edwards, despite his 11th place finish at Talladega, increased his lead to 14 points over new second-place and Roush Fenway Racing teammate Matt Kenseth, who placed 18th. It’s the largest points lead in the Chase so far.
-Martinsville Speedway is the last charter race track still on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series schedule. There have been many changes to the .526-mile facility since it hosted its first NASCAR premier series event in 1949. That first race at the dirt-surfaced speedway covered 200 laps with 15 cars in the field. Today’s races at Martinsville cover 500 laps with 43 cars competing. A crowd of 10,000 attended that first race, while an estimated 64,000 were in attendance at the race last season.
Next Up: Texas Motor Speedway
#00 David Reutimann (Zephyrhills, FL) Toyota/Aaron’s Dream Machine
#1 Jamie McMurray (Joplin, MO) Chevrolet/McDonald’s
#2 Brad Keselowski (Rochester Hills, MI) Dodge/Miller Lite
#4 Kasey Kahne (Enumclaw, WA) Toyota/Red Bull
#5 Mark Martin (Batesville, AR) Chevrolet/GoDaddy.com/Carquest
#6 David Ragan (Unadilla, GA) Ford/UPS My Choice
#7 Reed Sorenson (Peachtree City, GA) Dodge/Speed Energy
#9 Marcos Ambrose (Launceston, Australia) Ford/Stanley
#11 * Denny Hamlin (Chesterfield, VA) Toyota/FedEx Ground
#13 Casey Mears (Bakersfield, CA) Toyota/GEICO
#14 Tony Stewart (Columbus, IN) Chevrolet/Office Depot/Mobil 1
#16 Greg Biffle (Vancouver, WA) Ford/3M Filtrete
#17 Matt Kenseth (Cambridge, WI) Ford/Crown Royal
#18 Kyle Busch (Las Vegas, NV) Toyota/M&M’s Halloween
#20 Joey Logano (Middletown, CT) Toyota/Interstate Batteries
#22 Kurt Busch (Las Vegas, NV) Dodge/Shell/Pennzoil
#24 Jeff Gordon (Vallejo, CA) Chevrolet/Drive to End Hunger
#27 Paul Menard (Eau Claire, WI) Chevrolet/Menards/Richmond
#29 Kevin Harvick (Bakersfield, CA) Chevrolet/Budweiser
#30 David Stremme (South Bend, IN) Chevrolet/Inception Motorsports
#31 Jeff Burton (South Boston, VA) Chevrolet/Caterpillar
#32 Ken Schrader (Fenton, MO) Ford/TBA
#33 Clint Bowyer (Emporia, KS) Chevrolet/TBA
#34 David Gilliland (Riverside, CA) Ford/TBA
#36 Dave Blaney (Hartford, OH) Chevrolet/Golden Corral
#37 Josh Wise (Riverside, CA) Ford/TBA
#38 Travis Kvapil (Janesville, WI) Ford/Long John Silver’s
#39 Ryan Newman (South Bend, IN) Chevrolet/Haas Automation
#42 Juan Pablo Montoya (Bogota, Colombia) Chevrolet/Target
#43 A.J. Allmendinger (Los Gatos, CA) Ford/Advocare
#46 Scott Speed (Manteca, CA) Ford/Red Line
#47 Bobby Labonte (Corpus Christi, TX) Toyota/TBA
#48 Jimmie Johnson (El Cajon, CA) Chevrolet/Lowe’s
#51 Landon Cassill (Cedar Rapids, IA) Chevrolet/Phoenix Construction
#55 J.J. Yeley (Phoenix, AZ) Ford/TBA
#56 Martin Truex Jr. (Mayetta, NJ) Toyota/NAPA Auto Parts
#66 Michael McDowell (Glendale, AZ) Toyota/HP Racing
#71 Hermie Sadler (Emporia, VA) Chevrolet/TRG Motorsports
#75 Derrike Cope (Spanaway, WA) Dodge/TBA
#177 Robby Gordon (Orange, CA) Dodge/Speed Energy
#277 Andy Lally (Northport, NY) Ford/TRG Motorsports
#78 Regan Smith (Cato, NY) Chevrolet/Furniture Row Racing
#83 Brian Vickers (Thomasville, NC) Toyota/Red Bull
#87 Joe Nemechek (Lakeland, FL) Toyota/TBA
#88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. (Kannapolis, NC) Chevrolet/Diet Mountain Dew
#92 Dennis Setzer (Newton, NC) Chevrolet/Blow Brothers/Melling
#99 Carl Edwards (Columbia, MO) Ford/Scotts Winterguard