Camping World Truck Series:
Sat 10/25: Martinsville Speedway, Kroger 200, 1pm, MRN
Sprint Cup Series:
Sun 10/26: Martinsville Speedway, Goody’s Headache Relief Shot 500 powered by Kroger, 12:30pm, MRN
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NASCAR News (all content provided by John Singler, MRN Radio)
COUNTING DOWN THE ‘MILES 2 MIAMI’
The Eliminator Eight in this year’s Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup are continuing down the road that will lead to Ford Championship Weekend in November, with 1,076 “Miles2Miami” remaining. Sunday’s Goody’s Headache Relief Shot 500 at Martinsville Speedway is the opening race of the Eliminator Round. The original Chase Grid has been cut in half. The eight drivers left standing include the top two post-season seeds: Number-1 Brad Keselowski and Number-2 Jeff Gordon. They’re joined by Joey Logano, Kevin Harvick, Carl Edwards, Denny Hamlin, Matt Kenseth and Ryan Newman. One of them will be crowned NASCAR’s sixty-sixth Cup Series champion next month. Of that group, Gordon leads the way with eight Martinsville victories including season sweeps in 2003 and 2005. He enters the weekend as defending race winner. Kurt Busch was victorious in this year’s first visit to Martinsville in March.
THE NASCAR CAMPING WORLD TRUCK SERIES … also runs at Martinsville this weekend with Saturday’s Kroger 200. With just four races remaining in the season, Matt Crafton holds a sixteen-point lead over second-place Ryan Blaney in his bid to become the first driver in the twenty-year history of the series to win back-to-back championships. Darrell Wallace Junior, the defending race winner, is lurking in third place twenty-eight points off the pace … Crafton won this year’s first stop at Martinsville back in late March and with another victory Saturday, he would become just the second driver with a season sweep since the track started hosting two races annually in 2003. Mike Skinner went back-to-back in 2007 … Toyota has a four-race Martinsville winning streak dating back to October 2012.
THE NATIONWIDE SERIES … is idle again this weekend and will return to competition November 1st in Texas, where rookie Chase Elliott was victorious earlier this season. He’s led the standings since also winning at Chicagoland Speedway in mid-July and will carry a forty-two-point lead over Junior Motorsports teammate Regan Smith into the final three races of the year.
► Kyle Larson of Chip Ganassi Racing still holds a commanding lead over Austin Dillon in the Sunoco Sprint Cup Series Rookie of the Year standings following a seventeenth-place finish last weekend at Talladega Superspeedway. Dillon finished thirteenth in the GEICO 500 and now trails Larson by eighty-four points. Justin Allgaier remains a distant third with Cole Whitt and Michael Annett completing the top five.
► Chase Elliott of Junior Motorsports has a commanding lead over Ty Dillon in the Nationwide Series rookie standings with just three races remaining. Elliott finished eighth on October 10th in Charlotte, twenty-two spots ahead of Dillon, and enjoys a fifty-point advantage. Chris Buescher is third with Dylan Kwasniewski and Ryan Reed rounding out the top five.
► Ben Kennedy’s lead stands at thirty-nine points in the Camping World Truck Series rookie chase. The Turner Scott Motorsports driver finished twenty-eighth last weekend at Talladega, twenty-four positions behind Tyler Reddick – who moved into second in the rookie standings with his fourth-place finish in the fred’s 250. Mason Mingus slips to third, now eight points behind Reddick.
TRACK INFORMATION: Martinsville Speedway in Southern Virginia is a point-five-two-six-mile oval with twelve degrees of banking in the turns and flat straightaways. The length of both the frontstretch and backstretch is eight hundred feet. Grandstand seating capacity is sixty-five thousand.
16th RUNNING OF THE KROGER 200 CAMPING WORLD TRUCK SERIES RACE
AT MARTINSVILLE SPEEDWAY … Saturday, 1 p.m. (ET)
Last Year’s Race: Rookie Darrell Wallace Junior drove to a dominating victory, leading the final fifty laps to post his first career win in just nineteen starts. Wallace, one of NASCAR’s rising stars who celebrated his 20th birthday earlier in the month, claimed victory on one of the sport’s most venerable ovals. Martinsville was on the NASCAR schedule in the sanctioning body’s very first season … 1949 … 44 years before Wallace was born.
This Year’s First Race: On March 30th, defending series champion Matt Crafton had to work overtime before getting the desired outcome, holding off pole sitter Wallace in the second attempt at a green-white-checkered finish in a race that went six laps past its scheduled distance and ended under caution with the tenth yellow flag of the day.
66th RUNNING OF THE GOODY’S HEADACHE RELIEF SHOT 500 SPRINT CUP SERIES RACE
AT MARTINSVILLE SPEEDWAY … Sunday, 12:30 p.m. (ET)
Last Year’s Race: Jeff Gordon stalked race leader Matt Kenseth down the stretch, finally making the winning pass twenty-one laps from the finish. Gordon kept his Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet out front the rest of the way to become the sixth different winner in the six short-track races on the 2013 schedule. The victory was the four-time champion’s first win in nearly a year dating back to November 2012. Gordon’s margin of victory was six-tenths of a second over Kenseth.
This Year’s First Race: On March 30th, Kurt Busch became the sixth different winner in as many races to open the 2014 season. He charged past Jimmie Johnson eleven laps from the finish and kept the Number-41 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet in front the rest of the way … beating Johnson to the checkered flag by twenty-six one-hundredths of a second. Busch started twenty-second and survived an early-race incident with Brad Keselowski that left the two engaged in a war of words throughout the rest of the afternoon. They made contact on Martinsville’s typically tight pit lane, which forced Keselowski to the garage for lengthy repairs. Following his return to the track some thirty laps down, Keselowski intentionally brushed the side of Busch’s car to demonstrate his displeasure. When told after the race that Busch radioed his crew during the race to say that he planned to rearrange Keselowski’s face, the 2012 champion invited Busch to leave Victory Lane and meet him in the garage. Busch declined.
Track Position at Martinsville: Ninety-five of the 131 Sprint Cup Series races run (seventy-three percent) have been won from a starting position of tenth or better. Just nine winners have come from a starting position of twentieth or worse … Winning From the Pole in Martinsville: Twenty-one of 131 Cup Series races have been won from the pole position, most recently by Johnson in April 2013 … Track Record, Qualifying: Joey Logano (Ford) … 100.201 miles per hour … 18.898 seconds … March 2014 … Track Record, Race Speed: Gordon (Chevrolet) … 82.223 mph … 3 hours, 11 minutes, 55 seconds … September 1996 … Practice Schedule: Friday from 12 to 1:20 p.m. (ET) … Saturday from 9 to 9:50 a.m. and 12 to 12:50 p.m. (ET) … Qualifying: TODAY at 4:30 p.m. (ET) … Denny Hamlin won the pole last year and finished seventh in the race.
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