Race: Goody’s Fast Pain Relief 500
Date: Sunday March 28th, 2010
Track: Martinsville Speedway
Time: 1 pm ET
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Well, minus flipping cars and attitudes, Bristol was still a darn good race! While Edwards and Keselowski managed to give each other plenty of room of the track, there was still plenty of action that led up to, you guessed it, Jimmie Johnson winning yet again. So I make it a point to say that maybe, just maybe we won’t see a single driver domination like the past couple of years and Johnson has to go all out and be a repeat of his past 2 seasons. Already with a couple of wins, Johnson is not the points leader though, so perhaps there is still hope for the other guys out there.
This week, we head from one short track to another as we go to my personal favorite track of Martinsville. Martinsville is a historical track with amazing racing and atmosphere. I may be a little biased seeing as it’s my home track, but if you ever get the opportunity to go to this race, I’m telling you there will not be an ounce of disappointment. At just over 1/2 mile, Martinsville Speedway boasts some of the most exciting racing on the circuit. The banking is 12 degrees in the turns with 0 on the 800 foot backstretch and frontstretch. It’s truly an awesome racetrack.
I’ve seen this track from the inside out everywhere from the garages and pits to every seating option that’s available and there is not a bad view from anywhere on the property. It’s one of those tracks where everyone truly is a family and stays true to the meaning of the NASCAR community. It was here that I got to meet Kenny Wallace up close and personal, and let me tell you, Martinsville just does something to people. Wallace is a crazy guy, one that I absolutely love, but he completely let go when he was here with the fans and with the other drivers. It’s something in the hot dogs I guess.
This race is always a blast. It’s similar to Bristol in that the cars are going to get damaged plain and simple. There’s just no logical way how guys can race this close together on the track and not rub fenders. If you think that tempers flare at Bristol, expect to see that carry over to this track. Lap cars are the name of the game here as well. Traffic is just everywhere and it’s the drivers responsibility to cleanly get through everyone and manage to maintain a lead over that second place car.
The dominant team here is Hendrick. These guys rock at this track. Jeff Gordon is absolutely incredible, and I will dare to say that he will have one of his best finishes of the year here. He came back from 3 laps down to win this race a few years ago after suffering damage from a pot hole. It just goes to show that anything can happen here and the race definitely ain’t over until the fat lady sings. Teammate Jimmie Johnson is just plain good. Even I’m sick of seeing him win, and I’m not one to be a Jimmie-hater, but I mean, come on! This guy seems unstoppable. There’s got to be something that these guys are doing that the others aren’t. I just really wish someone could figure that out.
Another guy to watch here is Tony Stewart. Stewart was awesome in his days with Gibbs at this track. I’m not sure if his maturity has turned around and kicked him in the butt, but I’d love to see him get a little more aggressive like back in the good ‘ole days where he wasn’t afraid to move someone out of his way. If he could manage to do that, he’d have a shot at victory lane. There’s not a doubt about his driving ability or the caliber of his cars. He just needs his edge back.
To pick a single driver, I’m going to be stereotypical this week and go with Johnson. I don’t think there’s any way that you can count him out. This is one of his best tracks, which all tracks are awesome for him, but he shines here in particular. If Johnson can manage to stay out of the wrecks and stay out front like at Bristol then he has this wrapped up. Gordon is another one to watch. He will most certainly have a strong weekend. Another guy that I think will have a continuation of strong runs is Hendrick teammate Dale Jr. He’s sitting 8th in points right now, which is darn good for him considering his past couple of seasons, so maybe McGrew is doing something for him.
Hendrick drivers aside, look for strong runs from Tony Stewart and even Jaime McMurray. He’s had some success here in the past and seems to be a good fit with that #1 team so far this year. I think he may have something for them.
Here are your current top 12 in the points as we head into Martinsville:
1. Kevin Harvick
2. Matt Kenseth
3. Jimmie Johnson
4. Greg Biffle
5. Tony Stewart
6. Kurt Busch
7. Jeff Burton
8. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
9. Paul Menard
10. Kyle Busch
11. Jeff Gordon
12. Clint Bowyer
With the drastic changes in the points from week to week so far, there’s no guarantee that we will see any solidity this week either. There’s only a total of 173 between first and twelfth places with only 1 point separating Kevin Harvick and Matt Kenseth.
Quickly, there will also be a change from the wing back to the original spoiler this weekend as well. There shouldn’t be too many major changes from this. It’s simply more of a safety precaution than anything that Keselowski could’ve used a few weeks ago.
Anyway, grab a beer and a famous red hot dog and enjoy the down home short track racing from notorious Martinsville, Virginia. It’s sure to be a great one!