NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Goody’s Fast Relief 500
Martinsville Speedway Distance: 263 miles (500 laps)
Sunday, Oct. 30 1 p.m. ET TV: NBCSN, 12:30 p.m. ET
Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
NASCAR XFINITY Series O’Reilly Auto Parts Challenge
Texas Motor Speedway Distance: 300 miles (200 laps)
Saturday, Nov. 5 The Time: 3:30 p.m. ET TV: NBC, 3:30 p.m. ET
Radio: PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Texas Roadhouse 200 presented by Alpha Energy Solutions
Martinsville Speedway Distance: 105.2 miles (200 laps)
Saturday, Oct. 29 1:30 p.m. ET TV: FS1, 1 p.m. ET
Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
Six-Time Can Change Nickname To Seven-Time
Known as “Six-time” for his six NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championships, Jimmie Johnson is four races away from potentially tying NASCAR Hall of Famers Dale Earnhardt and Richard Petty with a record seventh premier series title.
Johnson continues his quest for crown No. 7 in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Round of 8 opener – Sunday’s Goody’s Fast Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway.
Johnson leads all full-time active drivers with eight wins at Martinsville. Jeff Gordon, who is racing in Sunday’s event boasts nine.
In 29 career starts at Martinsville, Johnson owns eight wins, 18 top fives, 23 top 10s and an average finish of 7.5. His average running position (8.0) and driver rating 117.8 rank second among active drivers at the .526-mile track.
The Californian is the last driver to win consecutive races at Martinsville (fall 2012/spring 2013).
Busch Goes For Martinsville Sweep
Kyle Busch will attempt to clock the competition at Martinsville when he goes for a season sweep of “The Paperclip.”
The No. 18 Toyota wheelman earned his first career victory at the .526-mile track in April and will try to become the first driver to sweep a venue this season. More importantly, he’ll try to earn a spot in the Championship 4 as he pursues his second consecutive NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship. Busch led 352 of 500 laps in the April race and registered a driver rating of 148.2 on his way to Victory Lane.
For his career, Busch claims one win, 10 top fives, 11 top 10s and a 14.5 average finish in 22 starts at Martinsville.
Pride Of Virginia: Hamlin Hopes To Add Another Win In Home State
Chesterfield, Virginia’s Denny Hamlin hopes to capture his sixth victory at Martinsville Speedway this weekend and the ninth in his hometown state (he also owns three victories at Richmond).
After beating Kurt Busch to the stripe by .006 seconds (appx. two feet) in last Sunday’s Hellman’s 500 at Talladega Superspeedway to earn the final spot in the Round of 8, Hamlin can make the Championship 4 with a win at Martinsville.
In 21 starts at “NASCAR’s Wrigley Field,” Hamlin claims five wins, 11 top fives and 16 top 10s. His 9.5 average finish, 9.7 average running position and 108.1 driver rating all rank third-best among active drivers at Martinsville.
Hamlin is the winningest Virginian in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series history with 29 victories. The list of drivers from the Old Dominion State includes NASCAR Hall of Famers Joe Weatherly, Curtis Turner, Glen Wood and Wendell Scott, as well as former NASCAR iron man Ricky Rudd.
With only eight drivers left in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, the number of competitors who can spoil a bid for the Chase-eligible drivers gets larger. Still, the remaining Chase drivers have accounted for 54.8 percent of the wins among active drivers at Martinsville Speedway (Jimmie Johnson, 9 wins; Denny Hamlin, 5 wins; Kurt Busch, 2 wins and Kevin Harvick, 1 win). Among active full-time drivers, the win percentage increases to 77.2 percent. The non-Chase drivers starting in Sunday’s Goody’s Fast Relief 500, who have won at Martinsville are Jeff Gordon (9 wins), Tony Stewart (3) and Ryan Newman (1).
And Then There Were 8: Combined Wins, Average Finishes And Driver Ratings Of Chase Drivers At Round Of 8 Tracks
Below are the combined wins, average finish and driver ratings at the three Round of 8 tracks – Martinsville Speedway, Texas Motor Speedway and Phoenix International Raceway:
Jimmie Johnson – 18 wins, 7.9 avg. finish, 112.5 driver rating
Kevin Harvick – Nine wins, 12.9 avg. finish, 98.6 driver rating
Denny Hamlin – Eight wins, 10.9 avg. finish, 97.9 driver rating
Carl Edwards – Five wins, 13.8 avg. finish, 93.2 driver rating
Kyle Busch – Four wins, 13.3 avg. finish, 100.0 driver rating
Kurt Busch – Four wins, 16.8 avg. finish, 89.1 driver rating
Matt Kenseth – Three wins, 13.7 avg. finish, 93.3 driver rating
Joey Logano – One win, 15.4 avg. finish, 86.5 driver rating
Gordon’s Last Ride?
Sunday’s Goody’s Fast Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway is likely Jeff Gordon’s last NASCAR race ever.
If it is Gordon’s last race, there is a good chance he goes out with a strong finish, if not a victory. The four-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion is the defending winner at Martinsville and has more wins (nine), top fives (29), top 10s (37) and laps led (3,779) there than he does at any other track. Another top-five finish would tie him with Richard Petty for the track record in that category, while a top-10 finish would break his tie with Petty for the track record in that statistic. If Gordon racks up another 72 laps led at Martinsville, he will surpass Petty for first in laps led there.
Gordon leads active drivers at Martinsville in not only wins, top fives and top 10s, but also average finish (6.8) and driver rating (119.5).
If Gordon leads 64 laps on Sunday, he will become only the sixth NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver all-time to lead 25,000 or more laps, joining NASCAR Hall of Famers Petty, Cale Yarborough, Bobby Allison, Dale Earnhardt and David Pearson.
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Etc.
At The Paperclip, It’s Good To Be Up Front – The Coors Light Pole is the most proficient starting spot in the field at Martinsville, producing more wins (21) than any other starting position. Only seven of the 135 races (5.2%) at the southern Virginia track have been won from a starting position outside the top 20 – two of these occurred in 2015 (Denny Hamlin, spring; Jeff Gordon, fall). Ninety-seven of the 135 races (71.9%) have been won from a top-10 starting position. Chaser Kurt Busch holds the Martinsville record for lowest starting positon by a race winner – 36th in fall of 2002….
Junior chefs Will Connor, Lilah Donnelly, Taylor Brown and Kemp Guas meet judges Jamika Pessoa, Scott Conant and Danica Patrick and host Ted Allen, as seen on Food Network’s Chopped Junior, Season 3.
Judges Jamika Pessoa, Scott Conant and Danica Patrick take a selfie , as seen on Food Network’s Chopped Junior, Season 3.
NASCAR XFINITY Series
Kaulig Racing: The Single-Car Team That Could Make Some History
One of the biggest surprises in 2016 has been the success of the single-car team, Kaulig Racing. The No. 11 Chevrolet Camaro team, led by crew chief Chris Rice, proudly stands third in the NASCAR XFINITY Series Chase Round of 8 following driver Blake Koch’s fourth top-10 finish of the season. With two races to go in the Round of 8 and currently holding a spot in the Championship 4, Kaulig Racing is now looking to become the first single-car team to win a NASCAR XFINITY Series title in almost 18 years.
The last single-car team to win a NASCAR XFINITY Series title was Dale Earnhardt Inc.’s No. 3 Chevrolet team in 1998. DEI scaled their two-car team back to a single-car team in 1998 to focus on Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s first series title. DEI resumed a multi-car team operation the following season.
Note: The previous single-car team to win a NASCAR XFINITY Series championship before 1998 was the BACE Motorsports No. 74 Chevrolet team owned by William Baumgardner with driver Johnny Benson in 1995.
Team owner Matt Kaulig saw something special in West Palm Beach, Florida, native Blake Koch back in 2014 when he teamed up with him in a sponsorship deal while Koch was driving in the series for Go Green Racing. Kaulig thought so much of Koch he continued to partner with him last season when he drove for TriStar Motorsports, and even more so this season when Matt Kaulig created Kaulig Racing and named Koch as the driver of the No. 11 Chevrolet.
Matt Kaulig, owner of Kaulig Racing and LeafFilter North, Inc., has always been passionate and involved in sports. Born and raised in Chicago, Matt came to Northeast Ohio to attend the University of Akron, where he was a standout quarterback.
Kaulig started LeafFilter Gutter Protection in 2005 from the basement of his home. Ten years later, his fast-growing company grew from one small office in Hudson, Ohio, to the leading national gutter protection brand with 28 offices that span across the nation from Seattle to Boston.
Koch will be looking to echo his Kansas performance at Texas next week. Earlier this season, a mid-race accident relegated them to 34th-place finish at Texas. But the team will be looking for another solid result because Koch has made 11 series starts at Texas posting his best finish (21st) in this event last season.
Outside Looking In: Erik Jones Is On The Wrong Side Of The Chase Cutoff With Two
Joe Gibbs Racing’s Erik Jones probably never dreamed he would be in the position to be eliminated from the NASCAR XFINITY Series Chase Round of 8 with two races to go. But he is, and now the early favorite to win the title faces elimination for the second time during these playoffs boding the question, can he win it all?
Jones’ level of talent and skill behind the wheel are some of the best in the series, as he leads all title contenders in wins (four), but his consistency – he’s the only Chase contender with four DNFs – is where he struggles. During the last four Chase races, Jones has posted the seventh-worst average finish (16.0) of the eight remaining drivers, but all that could change over these next three races.
Watch for Jones to come alive at the next three tracks (Texas, Phoenix and Homestead), where his combined average finish of 3.1 is the best among Chase contenders. Plus, he is the only driver outside the top four in Chase points that has won at one of the next two tracks (Texas, 2015). A win at Texas or Phoenix would guarantee him a spot in the Championship 4.
ones sits fifth in the series standings tied in points with fourth-place Justin Allgaier – Allgaier owns the tie-breaker of highest finish in the current Chase round. To compete for the title in Miami he will need to move into the top four in Chase points.
Joe Gibbs Racing hasn’t won a NASCAR XFINITY Series driver championship since Kyle Busch accomplished the feat in 2009.
A Look At What’s Ahead For The NASCAR XFINITY Series Chase
With just three races remaining to claim the NASCAR XFINITY Series title, performance on the last three tracks is crucial. Below is a look at the remaining three facilities and the Round of 8’s stats heading into the next three events.
Texas Motor Speedway is a 1.5-mile speedway located in Fort Worth, Texas, that will host the fifth NASCAR XFINITY Series Chase race of 2016, the O’Reilly Auto Parts Challenge on November 5 at 3:30 p.m. ET on NBC, PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.
The Round of 8 drivers’ career average finishes at Texas: Erik Jones (2.3), Elliott Sadler (12.1), Justin Allgaier (12.5), Daniel Suarez (13.3), Darrell Wallace Jr. (13.3), Ryan Reed (16.2), Brendan Gaughan (19.4) and Blake Koch (31.5).
Joe Gibbs Racing’s Erik Jones is the lone Chase contender that has won at Texas Motor Speedway (2015).
Phoenix International Raceway is a 1-mile track located in Phoenix, Arizona that will host the sixth Chase race overall and the final race of the NASCAR XFINITY Series Chase Round of 8, cutting the field in half and setting the Championship 4 in the Ticket Galaxy 200 on November 12 at 7:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN, MRN and Sirius XM NASCAR Radio.
The Round of 8 drivers will have one last chance to make the Championship 4 at Phoenix. Here are their career average finishes at Phoenix: Erik Jones (4.0), Daniel Suarez (6.0), Justin Allgaier (9.0), Darrell Wallace Jr. (11.7), Elliott Sadler (12.1), Brendan Gaughan (14.0), Ryan Reed (17.0) and Blake Koch (25.7).
JR Motorsport’s Elliott Sadler is the lone Chase contender to win at Phoenix International Raceway (2012).
Homestead-Miami Speedway is the home to Ford Championship Weekend and this season’s Ford EcoBoost 300 will be unlike any other in NASCAR XFINITY Series history. The NASCAR XFINITY Series Chase Championship 4 will race in Miami and the highest finisher will raise the championship trophy when the checkered flag flies. All the action will be on November 19 at 3:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.
Four of the eight drivers in this round will compete for the title in Miami. Here are the Round of 8 drivers’ career average finishes at Homestead: Erik Jones (3.0), Daniel Suarez (6.0), Darrell Wallace Jr. (10.0), Brendan Gaughan (14.8), Elliott Sadler (16.3), Justin Allgaier (17.0), Ryan Reed (19.0) and Blake Koch (24.3).
None of the drivers in the Round of 8 have won at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
NASCAR XFINITY Series Etc.:
Keep On Truckin’ – Joe Gibbs Racing’s top 2016 NASCAR XFINITY Series Chase contender Daniel Suarez will not be taking the weekend off from racing like most of the series, but instead will be driving his teammate Kyle Busch’s No. 51 Toyota Tundra at Martinsville Speedway in the Texas Roadhouse 200 presented by Alpha Energy Solutions on October 29 at 1:30 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. …
Former Series Champs Rise – A total of eight of the original 16 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup contenders this season were previous NASCAR XFINITY Series champions; of those eight series champions only three have moved into the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Round of 8: Kevin Harvick (2001 and 2006), Carl Edwards (2007) and Kyle Busch (2009). …
Owners Chase Update – Joe Gibbs Racing’s No. 18 Toyota Camry team (3,045 points) currently leads the NASCAR XFINITY Series Chase owner standings by six points over their teammates, the No. 19 Toyota Camry team (3,039), and the JR Motorsports No. 1 Chevrolet Camaro team (3,039). Team Penske’s No. 22 Ford Mustang team rounds out the current teams in position to make the Championship 4. Heading into next week, expect the Joe Gibbs Racing’s No. 18 Toyota Camry team’s points lead to continue, they lead the series in wins at Texas Motor Speedway with six victories.
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series
Round Of 6 Kicks Off At Martinsville
The inaugural NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Chase’s Round of 6 kicks off Saturday with the Texas Roadhouse 200 presented by Alpha Energy Solutions at Martinsville Speedway (1:30 p.m. ET on FS1). Here’s how the remaining six Chase drivers have fared in their careers at the .526-mile track:
William Byron – Byron made his lone start at Martinsville in the spring, finishing third in his fourth career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race.
Christopher Bell – Bell finished 19th in his only start at Martinsville this spring.
Matt Crafton – In 29 career starts at Martinsville, Crafton claims two wins, eight top fives, 17 top 10s and a 10.6 average finish. The defending fall race winner, Crafton led 63 laps on his way to Victory Lane at “The Paperclip” last year.
Ben Kennedy – Kennedy posted finishes of fourth and third in his first two starts at Martinsville, but hasn’t registered a top-10 showing in his six races since.
Timothy Peters – Peters won his first career race in 2009 at Martinsville – his hometown track. In 21 career starts at the southern Virginia oval, he has one victory, seven top fives, 14 top 10s and a 12.0 average finish.
Johnny Sauter – In 17 career starts at Martinsville, Sauter boasts two wins, five top fives and eight top 10s.
Chase Elliott Back In A Truck For First Time Since 2013
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sunoco Rookie of the Year frontrunner Chase Elliott, 20, will pilot a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series truck for the first time since 2013 in Saturday’s Texas Roadhouse 200 presented by Alpha Energy Solutions at Martinsville Speedway.
The Dawsonville, Georgia, native is scheduled to take the wheel of the No. 71 for Carlos Contreras.
In nine NASCAR Camping World Truck Series starts – all in 2013 – Elliott boasts one win, five top-five and seven top-10 finishes. At the time of his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series victory in 2013, Elliott was the youngest race winner in NASCAR national series history (17 years, nine months four days). The record has since been broken by Erik Jones and Cole Custer.
From Fan To Driver – Martinsville Brings Back Childhood Memories For Byron
Long before he stepped into a race car as a 14-year-old in 2011, William Byron avidly watched as many NASCAR races as he could on television.
When he was 8 years old, Byron attended his first NASCAR race at Martinsville Speedway. On that day – April 2, 2006 – he saw the victorious Tony Stewart climbing the fence, and forced his father to stay late so they could watch Stewart’s burnout.
Byron, now 18, has made a meteoric rise through the stock car racing ranks and will try to do his own burnout at Martinsville in Sunday’s Texas Roadhouse 200.
On the season he leads the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series in wins (6), top fives (10), average running position (8.0), laps led (572) and driver rating (105.8).
One of the six drivers remaining in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Chase, Byron is trying to join Erik Jones as the second consecutive Kyle Busch Motorsports driver to win the Sunoco Rookie of the Year award and the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series championship in the same season. Byron won the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East championship last year in his first and only season on the circuit.
Martinsville Flashback – What Happened In The Spring Race
In this year’s spring race at Martinsville, three of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Chase drivers finished in the top 10: William Byron (third), Timothy Peters (fifth) and Matt Crafton (seventh). Ben Kennedy finished just outside the top 10 in 11th, while Christopher Bell came in 19th. An accident relegated Johnny Sauter to 32nd.
Kyle Busch won the race, but will not be competing on Saturday. NASCAR Next member Harrison Burton will drive the Kyle Busch Motorsports No. 18 Toyota, while Daniel Suarez will take the seat of the KBM No. 51 truck.
Burton Set For NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Debut
NASCAR Next member Harrison Burton will make his first career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series start in Saturday’s Texas Roadhouse 200 in the No. 18 Toyota Tundra for Kyle Busch Motorsports. Burton, who turned 16 on Oct. 9, raced full-time in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East this year, earning one top five, five top 10s and a pole in 14 starts.
Burton is the son of 21-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series winner and NBC Sports NASCAR Analyst Jeff Burton.
His career accomplishments include: three-time USAC Quarter Midget national champion, youngest NASCAR Whelen Super Late Model event winner and youngest competitor in a NASCAR K&N Pro Series West race.
“Obviously, everyone wants to go out and win, but I think if I can have a good qualifying result, have good restarts and keep the fenders on my DEX Imaging Tundra through the whole race, I can be in good position with 20 to go and then anything can happen,” Burton said. “My focus is learning the truck, the track and the guys I am racing with and then applying that as the race comes to the finish.”
Graphics & Photos Courtesy of NASCAR