Race: TUMS QuikPak 500
Date: Sunday October 19, 2008
Track: Martinsville Speedway
Time: 1 pm ET
Martinsville Speedway is a beloved track to most drivers. How ironic considering most don’t leave without at least some donuts on their fenders. This speedway is one of the originals of NASCAR, though, with a lot of history behind its walls.
Martinsville is a little over mile. This track was completed in 1947, but it now boasts 65,000 seats for the eager fans. The frontstretch and the backstretch are both a short 800 feet with 12 degree banking in the turns and no banking on the straights. This is a fast flat track for being a short track.
BET ON DRIVER VS. DRIVER MATCHUPS EACH SUNDAY MORNING AT SPORTSBOOK
These guys will get mean here. We’ll be seeing everyone from Travis Kvapil and Joe Nemecheck to Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson battling it out for the top spot. This track lends itself to some of the greatest battles you will see in racing. The funny thing about Martinsville is that the term ‘teammate’ means little to nothing. This track is not like Talladega where you have to have help to get up front and stay there. At Martinsville, everyone’s out for himself. You bump your teammates out of the way. You beat them off pit road. You move them when you have to, like Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon infamously did here a few years back.
I love this track because everything happens in the blink of an eye. Think about the ‘big one’ at Talladega or Daytona. It takes a little while to get there, but once it happens, there’s carnage all over the place. At Martinsville, there’s constantly something happening on the track. Rarely does the field get spread out to the point where no one is in danger. There is never an empty part of the track either. Unlike the intermediate or super speedways, short tracks always have traffic. That’s about the most exciting thing here. Leaders can’t ever get far away as they are constantly battling those guys trying to stay on the lead lap. It’s always exciting here.
To predict a winner here is like predicting a winner when you know the ‘big one’ is going to occur but you have no idea when, where, or who it will involve. My best prediction this weekend, though, is going to go with a historical winner. With an unprecedented 7 wins, Jeff Gordon is the king at this track. He’s a short track expert. His teammate, Johnson, also has quite an impressive winner here too, racking up 3 consecutive wins starting in 2006. Tony Stewart is a guy to watch, but I’m doubtful that he can maintain his position up front. His luck hasn’t been all that great, but if he’s able to pull magic out of his hat like he did at Talladega, then there’s no telling how good he could perform. Between those three guys, I’m going to pull the winner as Gordon this weekend, although Stewart and Johnson also have a very good chance.
Here are your current Chase Standings:
1. Jimme Johnson
2. Jeff Burton
3. Greg Biffle
4. Carl Edwards
5. Clint Bowyer
6. Kevin Harvick
7. Tony Stewart
8. Jeff Gordon
9. Kyle Busch
10. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
11. Matt Kenseth
12 Denny Hamlin
Look for tempers to fly and cars to be hurting by the end of the afternoon on Sunday. That’s what short track racing is all about after all.