Richard Pryor - Biography
Short Track Follow Up:
The DIRECTV 500 at Martinsville Speedway gives drivers one more chance to get the bumping and banging out of their system. This flat half-mile short track is hard on brakes and can be hard on drivers. If a driver has any hard feelings left over from last week's grind at Bristol then Martinsville is the kind of place to let them out. There will be lots of wrinkled fenders this weekend as drivers must push their way to the front.
Speedway ticket office (877)RACE-TIX
Martinsville Speedway is a .526 mile true oval. Asphalt straightaways and concrete in the turns. Martinsville only has 12 degrees of banking in the turns so drivers will really use their brakes to get it slowed down for the corners. Racing at Martinsville has been described as driving down a drag strip, turning around and driving back up the other lane, 500 times.
263 Miles = 500 Laps
The Big Picture:
This is race 6 of the 36 race NEXTEL Cup season. Last week in Bristol Jimmie Johnson had his first bad finish of 2006 and gave up the point lead to Matt Kenseth. Last year the Roush drivers struggled at Martinsville so Kenseth may not hold down the top spot for long.
The Top Ten:
- Matt Kenseth -0
- Kasey Kahne -8
- Jimmie Johnson -19
- Mark Martin -32
- Kyle Busch -105
- Dale Earnhardt Jr. -118
- Jeff Gordon -138
- Casey Mears -140
- Tony Stewart -181
- Dale Jarrett -189
Last week Kurt Busch used his bumper to make the winning pass on Matt Kenseth.
Then Jeff Gordon physically shoved Kenseth after the race. Jeff Gordon received a $10,000 fine for that push. Aggressive driving and anger management will be hot topics again as the close action in Martinsville could also stir up hot tempers.
Also, Brakes! Drivers accelerate hard off the corners and then have to really slow down to make the corners. Drivers will have to save some brakes for the mad dash at the end.
TV: FOX Sunday, April 2nd, 1:30 PM Eastern Radio: MRN and XM Satellite Actual Race: 2:00PM
In 2005 Jeff Gordon had to make an unscheduled stop for a loose wheel early in the race. That stop put him three laps down to the leaders.
Amazingly Jeff was able to make up the deficit and made the pass for the lead with 35 laps to go. Kasey Kahne, Mark Martin, Ryan Newman and Rusty Wallace rounded out the top five.
Jeff Gordon swept both races here last year and had a strong run going last weekend in Bristol before a late race incident. Jeff has seven NEXTEL Cup victories at Martinsville Speedway and is a strong candidate to add number eight this weekend. Given that he's in the spotlight already because of his $10,000 fine I think this is just the kind of pressure that Gordon loves.
Hendrick Motorsports drivers have won five of the last six races held at Martinsville. It could easily have been 6-for-6 if not for a chunk of concrete knocking Jeff Gordon out of the lead and out of contention in spring of 2004.
This leaves me with Gordon's teammate Jimmie Johnson as my backup. Johnson won here in October of 2004 and will be looking to rebound from his bad luck in Bristol.