NASCAR Racing: Martinsville Speedway

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Welcome NASCAR race fans to my NASCAR blog. This week the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series travels to Martinsville Speedway in Martinsville, Va. for the Goody’s Fast Pain Relief 500. Martinsville is the oldest and smallest track in the series. The first winner was Red Byron in the fall race in 1949. And the first race in the Spring of 1950 was Curtis Turner. Martinsville is the only track still on the schedule.

The Trophy here is a genuine grandfather clock. Jeff Gordon has collected seven of them! And Jimmie Johnson, even though he has only been in Sprint Cup since 2002, has six of them! All time winners are Richard Petty, with fifteen wins and Derrell Waltrip, with eleven. Mark Martin, Denny Hamlin and Tony Stewart all have two wins. Jeff Burton and Bobby Labonte each have a win and a clock.

Martinsville Speedway is a .526 mile almost flat track with only12 degrees banking. The track used to be all asphalt, but the tires were digging it up. So, the owners made the track concrete in the turns. It is a paper clip with asphalt straightaways and two concrete u-turns.

In 2007 NASCAR introduced the Car Of Tomorrow and they raced it in select races. In 2008 the car raced full time. But the new car had a wing on the back end, instead of the traditional spoiler. It was supposed to make for better racing. But neither the drivers nor the fans liked the wing. And when the car was turned backwards, it tended to fly. The last time that happened was in Atlanta earlier this year. NASCAR decided to bring the spoiler back. and Martinsville is the first track with the spoiler back. I’m not expecting racing to be much different, but I like the car better. As do most fans.

Tony Stewart holds the qualifying record set  on 10/21/05 at 98.038. The race record goes to Jeff Gordon on 9/22/96 at 82.233 mph. Jimmie Johnson won the spring race in 2009 and Denny Hamlin won in the Fall.

This week there was weather in the area. It rained over night, but they were calling for clouds but no rain for Friday. Practice was interrupted because of rain. The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series is also in Martinsville this weekend. And the Trucks did manage to get in some practice. But qualifying was rained out for both Series’.  Ryan Newman was fastest in practice, but that is all for naught, as the line-up will be according to 2010 owner points. Ryan will start 26th. The Camping World Trucks will line up according to 2009 owner points, as this is only their third race.

In my opinion, NASCAR should change it’s qualifying rain out policy. I would rather see them line up according to practice speeds. They all got to practice, and it makes more sense to line them up according to speed, instead of according to owner points. And those going home should be the slowest, not the ones who were not in previous races. But I’m only a fan!

There will be more Sprint Cup practice on Saturday. And the Camping World Trucks will race also. It’s supposed to be sunny. So, let’s keep our fingers crossed.

Brought to you by Sheila Hawley

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