NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at Martinsville Speedway

2015 Oct 30 311172

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Goody’s Headache Relief 500
Martinsville Speedway Distance: 263 miles (500 laps)
Sunday, Nov. 1 1:15 p.m. (ET) TV: NBCSN, 12:30 p.m. (ET)
Radio: MRN, SiriusXM Ch. 90

NASCAR XFINITY Series O’Reilly Auto Parts Challenge
Texas Motor Speedway Distance: 300 miles (200 laps)
Saturday, Nov. 7 3:30 p.m. (ET) TV: NBC, 3 p.m. (ET)
Radio: PRN, SiriusXM Ch. 90

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Kroger 200
Martinsville Speedway Distance: 131.5 miles (250 laps)
Saturday, Oct. 31 1:30 p.m. (ET) TV: FS1, 1 p.m. (ET)
Radio: MRN, SiriusXM Ch. 90

2015 Nov 1 313647

NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES

Car 22 Joey Logano Shell Pennzoil Ford
Joey Logano took the checkered flag at Talladega to sweep the Contender Round of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup with his third consecutive win. The No. 22 Team Penske driver now leads the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series with six wins and 26 top 10s – both career highs. He also ranks tied with Kevin Harvick for the most top fives with 20, also a career-best total.

In Sunday’s Goody’s Headache Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway (1:15 p.m. ET on NBCSN), Logano will attempt to become the first driver to win four straight races since Jimmie Johnson achieved the feat in the 2007 Chase when he visited Victory Lane at Martinsville, Atlanta, Texas and Phoenix on his way to his second of six NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championships.

Logano has never won an NSCS race at Martinsville, but has finished in the top five in his last three starts at the Virginia short track.

The 25-year-old Connecticut native is the second driver to win three consecutive races this year after Kyle Busch pulled off the achievement by conquering Kentucky, New Hampshire and Indianapolis. The last time two different drivers won three straight races in a season was 1993 when Rusty Wallace and Mark Martin did it.

Car 24 Jeff Gordon 3M Chevrolet
Jeff Gordon has to love his position in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup now.

He heads to Martinsville Speedway – arguably his best track – where a win automatically advances him to the Championship Round of the Chase at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Gordon is tied with Jimmie Johnson for the active wins lead at Martinsville with eight checkered flags – a total that is also his most at any track. The No. 24 Chevrolet driver boasts series bests in average finish (6.9), average running position (6.7) and average green flag speed (91.7 mph) at Martinsville.

Kyle Busch didn’t seem worried that he hasn’t performed up to his expectations at Martinsville heading into Sunday’s Eliminator Round opener.

“I wouldn’t have said that I felt comfortable at Martinsville based off how we ran there last year,” said Busch, who has never won at the .526-mile track. “But the way the guys at Joe Gibbs Racing ran this spring, everybody ran in the top five, so it was really a good race. I’m looking forward to getting back and utilizing some of that in order to have a good race and maybe do what Denny
(Hamlin) did and win one here.”

JGR placed three drivers in the top five at Martinsville in the spring (Denny Hamlin, first; Matt Kenseth, fourth; David Ragan, fifth). Carl Edwards finished 17th, but led 13 laps and looked like a contender for the win before a late-race spin.

With wins in nine of the 12 races leading into the Contender Round of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, JGR had aspirations of advancing all four of its drivers to the Championship Round at Homestead. That can no longer happen; Busch and Edwards are JGR’s only drivers still in the Chase after Hamlin and Kenseth were knocked out at Talladega.

Busch and Edwards better hope that JGR figured out Martinsville this spring. Busch has been boom-or-bust at The Paperclip with eight top fives in 20 starts, but also has 11 finishes outside the top 10. In 22 Martinsville starts, Edwards has posted only one top five and five top 10s.

Both Harvick and Busch are strong bets to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series title, too.

As the defending champion, Harvick knows how to handle the pressure of the Chase format. A win in the next three events gets a driver a free pass to the Championship Round race at Homestead, which is great news for Harvick. He is practically automatic at Phoenix where he has won the last four races.

Busch has won at all four of the remaining tracks and cannot be counted out either. He and Jeff Gordon are the only Chase drivers who have visited Victory Lane at the final four ovals (Martinsville, Texas Phoenix, Homestead).

Short Track Showdown

Martinsville Speedway serves as the only short track in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. If a Chase driver wins at Martinsville, he gains a distinct advantage over the field because his team can focus on preparing for the Championship Round at Homestead.

Here’s how the Chase-eligible drivers rank in winning percentage at short tracks:

Kyle Busch – .145 win pct., 9 wins, 62 starts

Jeff Gordon – .110 win pct., 16 wins, 145 starts

Kurt Busch – .100 win pct., 9 wins, 90 starts

Brad Keselowski – .083 win pct., 3 wins, 36 starts

Joey Logano – .073 win pct., 3 wins, 41 starts

Carl Edwards – .059 win pct., 4 wins, 68 starts

Kevin Harvick – .057 win pct., 5 wins, 88 starts

Martin Truex Jr. – .000 win pct., 0 wins, 59 starts

Watch Out for ‘Spoilers’ At Martinsville

Chase-eligible drivers aren’t the only competitors who can win at Martinsville on Sunday. Last season, Dale Earnhardt Jr. was the first “spoiler” in NASCAR’s playoffs when he won for the first time at the Southern Virginia track to block a transfer spot.

In fact, many of the favorites on Sunday are not in the Chase. Past Martinsville winners set to race on Sunday are Jimmie Johnson (8 wins, tied for the active lead), Denny Hamlin (5, spring winner), Tony Stewart (3), Earnhardt (1) and Ryan Newman (1).

The Chasers who have never won at Martinsville are Kyle Busch, Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano, Carl Edwards and Martin Truex Jr.

NASCAR XFINITY SERIES

A Closer Look At Roush Fenway Racing’s Potential Champion – Chris Buescher

With a 27-point lead over second-place Chase Elliott in the NASCAR XFINITY Series standings, Chris Buescher is on top of the world with just three races remaining in 2015. But who is Chris Buescher?

Buescher, 22, grew up in Prosper, Texas. He enjoys fishing, ATV and motorcycle riding, movies and fabrication work. Buescher is also the cousin of former NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion James Buescher.

In 1999, at the age of six, Chris Buescher started racing motorcycles, but it wasn’t long until he moved to four wheel vehicles. He went on to win the Bandolero Series Nationals in 2004 at the age of 12. The following year, Buescher competed in the Legends Car Series, becoming the youngest winner in the Pro Division at the age of 13.

While driving in the Legends Car Series, Buescher made his first connection to NASCAR in 2007, when he signed as a development driver for David Ragan Racing after he purchased his first late model from the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver.

Buescher then dabbled in ASA Late models and ASA Speed Trucks before getting a shot in the ARCA Series where he won the Rookie of the Year honors with three wins. Buescher would go onto win the ARCA Series championship in 2012.

Roush Fenway Racing picked Buescher up on a part-time basis in 2011 and 2013. He ran a total of nine races and posted two top 10s.

RFR then signed him full-time in 2014 to drive the No. 60 Ford. He ran 32 races that season, finishing seventh in points with one win (Mid-Ohio), five top fives and 16 top 10s.

This season, Buescher has upped his game again. In 30 starts, he has posted two wins (Iowa, Dover), 11 top fives, and 20 top 10s.

Buescher needs to finish fourth or better in the next three races and he will win the NASCAR XFINITY Series championship no matter what any other driver does.

Not only can he steer a 3,450 lbs. NASCAR XFINITY Series Toyota around with ease, but the Joe Gibbs Racing Sunoco Rookie of the Year candidate, Daniel Suarez, can also speak two languages (Spanish, English), which is more than most can say in the NXS garage. But who is this international driver that has commanded our attention?

Suarez, a Monterrey, Mexico native, currently leads the Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings in the NXS with just three races remaining and could become the first Hispanic and Mexican-born driver to win the series honors.

Suarez got his start in motorsports back in Mexico where he raced go-karts as young boy. In 2007, he won the national karting championship and from there he started working his way up to competing in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West in 2011. He also competed in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East from 2011 – 2014 finishing a series career-best third in the 2013 standings. Suarez also competed in the NASCAR Mexico Series from 2011 – 2014, finishing a series career-best second in the points in 2013.

Print

NASCAR CAMPING WORLD TRUCK SERIES

Talladega Tim: Peters Wins At 2.66-Mile Behemoth … Again

Timothy Peters led 23 laps, including the final one, to win Saturday’s fred’s 250 at Talladega Superspeedway – his second consecutive victory at the 2.66-mile behemoth.

Peters might be turning into a superspeedway ace now. Three of his nine career victories have come at Talladega (two) and Daytona.

The No. 17 Red Horse Racing driver is also on fire with four top-five finishes in his last five races (first at Talladega, second at Las Vegas, fourth at New Hampshire, third at Chicagoland). He has moved from seventh to fifth in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series standings since the beginning of the streak.

This Saturday, the Danville, Virginia native heads to his home track – Martinsville Speedway – for the Kroger 200 (1:30 p.m. ET on FS1). Martinsville is the site of Peters’ first career victory. In 19 career starts at the famous short track, Peters boasts one win, six top fives and 12 top 10s.

Ross Kenseth Readies For Trucks Debut At Paper Clip

Ross Kenseth is set to make his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series debut in Saturday’s Kroger 200 at Martinsville Speedway. He will pilot the No. 18 Aisin-AW Toyota Tundra for Hattori Racing Enterprises (HRE).

Kenseth, the son of 2003 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Matt Kenseth will try to accomplish what his father has never done at Martinsville – win a race there.

The younger Kenseth, 22, has made just one NASCAR national series start before, finishing sixth in the NASCAR XFINITY Series race at Chicagoland Speedway in June. He has built an impressive resume of Late Model victories and won his first ARCA race this season at Michigan International Speedway in just his third series start.

Austin Cindric To Make NASCAR Debut For Brad Keselowski Racing

Austin Cindric, 17, will hop behind the wheel of the No. 29 Brad Keselowski Racing Ford in Saturday’s Kroger 200 at Martinsville for his first NASCAR national series start.

Cindric, whose father is Team Penske President Tim Cindric, has a wealth of experience across various forms of motorsports despite being so young. This year, he has visited Victory Lane four times in Global Rallycross and once in IMSA. He became the youngest ever IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge winner when he took the checkered flag at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in July.

A student at Cannon School in Concord, North Carolina, Cindric medaled at the X-Games in the Red Bull Global Rallycross Lites Series and claims the title of youngest race winner in the Historic Sportscar Racing Series.

Heading into last Saturday’s race at Talladega, Erik Jones held a four-point lead over second-place Matt Crafton in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series points standings. He left the Alabama track a hefty 18 points ahead of new second-place contender Tyler Reddick and 23 points in front of Crafton, the two-time defending series champion.

Jones placed fourth at Talladega, followed by Reddick in fifth. Crafton finished 24th after he was unable to avoid a 10-truck wreck late in the race.

Four races remain in the season, beginning with Saturday’s Kroger 200 at Martinsville Speedway.

In four career starts at The Paperclip, Jones claims two top-five and three top-10 finishes. He placed third in the spring race there.

Crafton won last year’s spring race at Martinsville and has placed no worse than third in four of his last five starts there.

Reddick has made three starts at Martinsville, posting two top-10 showings and producing an average finish of 9.0.

NASCAR Next Swarms Martinsville

A wave of NASCAR Next drivers will attempt to master the ins and outs of Martinsville Speedway in Saturday’s Kroger 200.

Current members of the NASCAR Next program Austin Hill, Dalton Sargeant, Cole Custer and John Hunter Nemechek are all on the entry list. NASCAR Next alumni set to compete at the short track include: Erik Jones, Daniel Suarez, Gray Gaulding, Cameron Hayley and Ben Kennedy.

Custer (Gateway) and Nemechek (Chicagoland) both have won NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races this season, while Sargeant placed in the top 10 in his first two career NCWTS starts (2015, Bristol and New Hampshire). Hill placed third in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series
East standings this season and will look to improve on his career-best 16th-place Truck Series finish.

Darrell Wallace Jr. is the only NASCAR Next member/alum to win at Martinsville. He took the checkered flag in the last two fall races at the .526-mile track.

Suarez Back Behind The Wheel For KBM

Could this be the weekend Daniel Suarez notches his first NASCAR national series win?

The Monterrey, Mexico native will pilot the No. 51 Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota in Saturday’s Kroger 200 at Martinsville Speedway.

KBM has won the last four fall races at Martinsville with Darrell Wallace Jr. (twice) and Denny Hamlin (twice).

In nine NCWTS start this season, Suarez has failed to place in the top 10 just once and has posted five top-10 finishes. He has finished runner-up twice (Dover and Texas) and placed fourth in his last series start at Chicagoland.

http://www.nascar.com/en_us/sprint-cup-series.html

Graphics & Photos Courtesy of NASCAR

Leave a Reply