Thursday, March 26, 2015

Martinsville Driver Chassis Selections: 2015 STP 500

Earnhardt Jr. using winning Martinsville chassis from last fall.
#3-Austin Dillon will pilot Chassis No. 489 in the Martinsville 500 at Martinsville Speedway. This is the same Chevrolet SS that Dillon raced at Martinsville Speedway in October 2014, securing a 12th-place finish.

#4-Kevin Harvick: will pilot the No. 4 Budweiser/Jimmy John's Chevrolet SS built on Chassis No. 4-864 in the Martinsville 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race Sunday at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway. Built in 2014, Chassis No. 4-864 made its debut at Martinsville last March, when it started 18th and led one lap and finished seventh. It made its second appearance at Martinsville in October, when it started 33rd and finished 33rd after being collected in an accident with Matt Kenseth.

#5-Kasey Kahne: Crew chief Keith Rodden has selected Hendrick Motorsports Chassis No. 5-925 for Sunday's race at Martinsville. This is a brand new car.

#10-Danica Patrick: will pilot Chassis No. 909 in the Martinsville 500. Previously a No. 41 team chassis, the car made its on-track debut with her Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) teammate Kurt Busch last October at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway. He started 10th, led 21 laps and raced inside the top-10 until an oil line failure on lap 424 relegated him to a 36th-place finish.

#14-Tony Stewart: Chassis No. 14-742: This car first turned its wheels on a racetrack in 2012 during a test session Sept. 4-5 at the Milwaukee Mile in West Allis, Wisconsin, which prepared Chassis No. 14-742 for its debut in the Sept. 23 Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon. There, the car qualified third and led 38 laps before finishing seventh. Chassis No. 14-742 returned to another relatively flat, 1-mile oval when it made its second career start in the penultimate race of the 2012 season at Phoenix International Raceway. After qualifying ninth, a pit road miscue and a lap-282 spin conspired for a 19th-place finish. With a new 2013 Chevrolet SS body, Chassis No. 14-742 returned to Phoenix in February for its third career start, where it had a solid outing, qualifying sixth and finishing eighth. With the exception of a test June 25-26 at New Hampshire, the car sat idle for the remainder of the 2013 season. Chassis No. 14-742 reprised its testing regimen in 2014, with tests Jan. 30-31 at New Smyrna (Fla.) Speedway and Feb. 6 at Gresham Motorsports Park in Jefferson, Georgia. The March 2014 race at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway marked Chassis No. 14-742's first start in more than a year and its fourth overall. The run, however, was a quiet 17th-place effort. The car returned to Martinsville in October, where in just its second start of 2014, it qualified fourth and led 18 laps before finishing fourth. Chassis No. 14-742 returns to Martinsville this weekend for its first start this season and sixth overall.

#15-Clint Bowyer: Chassis No. 806 serves as Bowyer's primary chassis at Martinsville. Bowyer raced the chassis to top-10 finishes in both Martinsville races in 2014. He finished ninth in March and seventh in October. This weekend's back-up chassis also served as the back-up at both Martinsville races in 2014.

#24-Jeff Gordon: #24 crew chief Alan Gustafson has selected Hendrick Motorsports Chassis No. 24-902 for this Sunday's race. Gordon raced this chassis to a runner-up finish at Martinsville in October of last year.

#27-Paul Menard: will utilize chassis No. 488 during the 263-mile event at Martinsville Speedway. This Richard Childress Racing-prepared Chevrolet SS will make its first laps of the 2015 season.

#31-Ryan Newman: will drive chassis No. 490 on Sunday at Martinsville Speedway. This is a brand new Chevrolet SS that will be utilized under race conditions for the first time this weekend.

#32-Mike Bliss: Crew Chief Clinton Cram will be bringing chassis 669 to serve as the primary car. This chassis previously ran at the fall Martinsville event in 2015 with Kyle Fowler finishing 28th in his NSCS debut. Chassis 289 will serve as the backup car.

#41-Kurt Busch: will pilot Chassis No. 865 in Sunday's Martinsville 500 at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway. Formerly a No. 10 chassis for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) teammate Danica Patrick, Chassis No. 865 debuted in March 2014 at Martinsville , where Patrick started 10th but struggled with an ill-handling racecar and finished 32nd. Its next event was in July at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, where she started 29th and finished 22nd. Chassis No. 865 then raced again at Martinsville in October, where Patrick started 30th and finished 34th after being involved in a massive accident on the frontstretch late in the race. Chassis No. 865 will see its first laps of 2015 competition this weekend.

#48-Jimmie Johnson: For this weekend's event, crew chief Chad Knaus has selected chassis No. 48-913, which Johnson raced last October at Martinsville. The backup car is No. 48-749, which Johnson raced at Martinsville in March 2014.

#55-Brett Moffitt: Primary: 807 - Brian Vickers drove this chassis to 16th and 27th-place finishes at Martinsville in 2014. Backup: 785 - served as backup in Martinsville in 2014.

#88-Dale Earnhardt Jr.: Crew chief Greg Ives will unload Hendrick Motorsports Chassis No. 88-789 for this weekend's race at Martinsville Speedway. Earnhardt most recently won with the chassis at Martinsville last October.

- Jayski.com

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

STP 500 odds: Johnson favored to win ninth Martinsville race

Expect to see Hamlin and Gordon running up front at Martinsville
LAS VEGAS -- There's been nothing that can slow Kevin Harvick down so far this season. He's been dominant to the point that he's finished first or second in all fives races. If we take it back to last season, he's got a streak of top-two finishes that's currently at eight straight. It's one of the most incredible runs we've seen in NASCAR history, especially for the modern era.

However, none of those eight races were on the flat half-mile layout at Martinsville Speedway like Sunday's STP 500 will be. He's had only three top-five finishes in 27 starts with a 16.4 average finish on the track.

The Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook knows all too well about Harvick's Martinsville history, which is why he isn't listed as the favorite. This is the case for the first time since the season opening Daytona 500, where anyone has a legitimate chance to win.

Let's take a look at all the drivers' odds offered by the Westgate along with how they have fared at Martinsville over their careers.

JIMMIE JOHNSON 7/2: It seems like an eternity since the last time he won here, but only three races have passed since winning in the spring of 2013. It's just because for a decade, no one was better, including his teammate Jeff Gordon. In 26 starts, he's averaged a 6.2 finish that includes eight wins. He's got a long way to go to catch Richard Petty's track record 15 wins, but consider that Petty had 67 starts, or one win in every 4.4 Martinsville starts. Johnson gets one win in every 3.2 starts, and that means he's due here after failing in his last three starts which is part of the reason he's the easy favorite this week.

KEVIN HARVICK 5/1: It's amazing that Harvick hasn't fared better over his career here because he grew up racing on the short flat tracks. It's the type of racing that shaped the no-nonsense attitude that we all have grown fond of. He did win in the spring of 2011, and then finished fourth in the fall of the same year. It really is astonishing that he's only had one other top-five finish in all 25 other starts, including 33rd last fall. The only reason his odds are as low as they this time around is just because he's currently in a zone, and the books aren't doubting that he can win despite history saying he most likely won't.

JEFF GORDON 5/1: Just like Johnson, Gordon's house can be quite noisy at the top of the hour with eight grandfather clock (Martinsville trophy) bells chiming away. In 44 career starts, he's had an average finish of 6.8 aided by 28 top-five finishes. It's the one track that he has remained dominant at throughout all phases of his career between different crew chiefs, and even two different wives. It would only seem fitting if he closed out his final season of Sprint Cup racing with at least one more Martinsville win, and the good news for Gordon backers this week is that he's using the same chassis that finished second here last fall.

DENNY HAMLIN 7/1: There was a time when he was one of the co-favorites with Gordon and Johnson for every Martinsville race. During one stretch, the trio won 18 of 22 races, with Hamlin contributing four wins, but that last win came in 2010 when he swept the season. Last fall, there were signs that he was back to being himself again at the track he grew up racing on, only three hours from his Chesterfield, VA home; he finished eighth, but led twice for 68 laps. We'll get a better idea during Friday and Saturday practices where Hamlin stands with the elite, but expect a top-5 start position like last fall, which will be a good sign. Start position is huge at Martinsville where 71 percent of all races have been from a top-10 qualifier.

DALE EARNHARDT JR 10/1: He's always been good at Martinsville, but he just happened to get stuck in the wrong generation with all-time greats like Johnson and Gordon hogging all the wins. After 30 starts, he finally got his grandfather clock last fall. He'll be using that same winning chassis this week and offers pretty good value at 10-to-1. It might be his turn to start reeling off some wins for Hendrick Motorsports who have gathered a track record 22 wins.

Read More Here....Odds/write-up for every driver

Will Power favored to win IndyCar Firestone GP of St. Petersburg

WESTGATE LV SUPERBOOK ODDS TO WIN
FIRESTONE GRAND PRIX OF ST PETERSBURG
ST PETERSBURG STREET CIRCUIT
SUNDAY, MARCH 29, 2015


WILL POWER 5-2
SIMON PAGENAUD 9-2
SCOTT DIXON 9-2
HELIO CASTRONEVES 7
JUAN MONTOYA 10
RYAN HUNTER-REAY 10
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS 15
JAMES HINCHCLIFFE 15
SAGE KARAM 25
CHARLIE KIMBALL 30
TONY KANAAN 30
JACK HAWKSWORTH 30
CARLOS MUNOZ 30
JOSEF NEWGARDEN 30
LUCA FILIPPI 30
MARCO ANDRETTI 50
TAKUMA SATO 50
GRAHAM RAHAL 50
SIMONA DE SILVESTRO 50
FIELD 60

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Martinsville STP 500 Preview: Finally something that can slow Harvick down

Can Denny Hamlin get back to winning Martinsville ways Sunday?
We’ve all been waiting for a driver to step up and not take any more of this Kevin Harvick domination to start 2015, and surprisingly the one that has is Harvick’s teammate Kurt Busch who raced to a top-5 finish for the consecutive week since being reinstated by NASCAR after missing the first three races of the season.

Neither of those two Stewart-Haas teammates won last week at Fontana as Brad Keselowski stole one after cautions flew on two separate occasions when Busch had one lap to go before victory was his, but it’s still clear these two cars have a major edge over everyone else in the new rules package, and they don‘t seem willing to share their secret with anyone -- not even car owner/teammate Tony Stewart.

Busch finished third for the second consecutive year at Fontana, but he easily had the car to beat over the weekend. He put on a speed display during Friday and Saturday practices that not even Harvick has pulled off this season. Busch had the fastest lap in all three practice sessions as well as the fastest 10-consecutive lap average in both Saturday sessions. He also won the pole.

Harvick no longer had that huge edge we have seen from the end of last season when he won the final two races to win his first Sprint Cup to this season when he won the first two races on the West Coast swing. However, he still managed to finish ahead of Busch in second-place which is his eighth straight top-2 finish.

That is unreal in this era of NASCAR!

This week, the playing field is more even for the drivers at Martinsville. Other than the road courses, Martinsville is the most reliant upon a drivers skills where a car that may not be the fastest can out duel the top power teams just because of the driver being the equalizer. Over the past few years, we’ve seen the top Martinsville performers come from those power teams.

Read More Here.....Top-5 Finish Prediction

Ryan Newman: "I wish we had more short tracks like Martinsville"

Ryan Newman is 25/1 to win STP 500
Ryan Newman
No. 31 Quicken Loans Chevrolet SS
Race Notes and Quotes:

This Week’s Quicken Loans Chevrolet SS at Martinsville Speedway
… Ryan Newman will drive chassis No. 490 on Sunday at Martinsville Speedway. This is a brand new Chevrolet SS that will be utilized under race conditions for the first time this weekend.

Newman at the Paperclip … In 26 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series events at Martinsville Speedway, Newman visited victory lane at this event in 2012. The Rocket Man also owns three pole awards, all happening in the fall events in 2002, ’04 and ’09. In total, he owns eight top-five and 12 top-10 finishes along with 194 laps led in competition. The South Bend, Ind., native has an average start of 9.7 and average finish of 15th.

Engineered to Amaze … Detroit-based Quicken Loans Inc. is the nation’s second largest retail home mortgage lender. The company closed $140 billion of mortgage volume across all 50 states in 2013-2014. Quicken Loans generates loan production from web centers located in Detroit, Cleveland and Scottsdale, Arizona. The company also operates a centralized loan processing facility in Detroit, as well as its San Diego-based One Reverse Mortgage unit. Quicken Loans ranked “Highest in Customer Satisfaction for Primary Mortgage Origination” in the United States by J.D. Power for the past five consecutive years, 2010 – 2014, and highest in customer satisfaction among all mortgage servicers in 2014.

Quicken Loans was named among the top-30 companies on FORTUNE magazine’s annual “100 Best Companies to Work For” list for the last 12 consecutive years, ranking No. 12 in 2015. It has been recognized as one of Computerworld magazine’s ‘100 Best Places to Work in IT’ the past ten years, ranking No. 1 in 2014, 2013, 2007, 2006 and 2005. The company moved its headquarters to downtown Detroit in 2010, and now more than 10,000 of its nearly 12,000 team members work in the city’s urban core. For more information about Quicken Loans, please visit QuickenLoans.com, on Twitter at @QLnews, and on Facebook at Facebook.com/QuickenLoans.

Where’s Ryan? … Newman is scheduled to visit the Chevy Stage located in the Martinsville Speedway Midway starting at 9:55 a.m. ET., for a question and answer session.

Get to the Points … Newman earned his third-straight, top-five and fourth-consecutive top-10 finish of the season with a fifth-place result at Auto Club Speedway. He now ranks sixth in the championship point standings entering this weekend’s race event at Martinsville.

Last Time Around … Newman took advantage of a strong restart in the closing laps to go from eighth to a third-place finish. The top-five result kicked off a strong Eliminator Eight Round for the No. 31 team and equated to the crew’s fourth top-five of the season.

Rummage the Ranch … On Saturday, March 28 from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. visit Rescue Ranch to find great deals. The sale is to support of Rescue Ranch. For information, call 704-768-0909 or visit:http://www.rescueranch.com/special-events.

RYAN NEWMAN QUOTE:

What are your thoughts on Martinsville Speedway?

“I really like Martinsville Speedway. I wish we had more short tracks like Martinsville. Short-track racing is some of the best racing we have going for our sport because of the quality of racing we have there. The mechanical grip is always a factor at that track and it depends on which tire Goodyear brings for us. Mechanical grip and tires can manipulate the kind of weekend you are going to have and hopefully you can adapt quickly, as well as adjust appropriately throughout the course of the weekend. I like the challenge of having to chase the combination of the tire and racetrack. The track changes day-to-day, so the key is making the right adjustments so you don’t go off path. I am really looking forward to having a good race there in the Quicken Loans Chevrolet.”

- Richard Childress Racing

Matt Kenseth sixth or better in past three Martinsville starts

Matt Kenseth is 20/1 to win STP 500 at Martinsville
Matt Kenseth / No. 20 Dollar General Toyota Preview
STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway

No. 20 Dollar General Toyota News and Notes:

JOE GIBBS RACING AT MARTINSVILLE:
Joe Gibbs Racing has 98 Sprint Cup Series starts at Martinsville Speedway earning a total of seven wins, 31 top-five, 51 top-ten finishes, and eight poles. The organization also has led for a total of 3,395 laps and has an average finish of 13.3 at the 0.526-mile short track.

KENSETH BY THE NUMBERS: In 30 Sprint Cup Series starts at Martinsville, Kenseth has completed 14,901 of 15,034 laps (99.1 percent). Kenseth has led for a total of 409 laps and has earned four top-five and 11 top-ten finishes at the half-mile track. A runner-up finish is Kenseth’s career best finish at Martinsville, which he earned in April 2002 and October 2013.

THIS WEEK ON THE NO. 20 DOLLAR GENERAL TOYOTA: Dollar General vendor partners Hamburger Helper, Angel Soft, Sun, Colgate, Clorox, Hefty Reynolds Wrap, Stacker2 and Gatorade will be featured on Joe Gibbs Racing’s No. 20 Toyota Camry this weekend at Martinsville Speedway.

RACE INFO: The STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway (0.526-mile) begins at 1:00 p.m. ET on Sunday, March 29. The race will be broadcast live on FOX Sports 1, Sirius XM Channel 90 and MRN Radio.

Kenseth’s 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Season Stats:
StartsWinsTop 5Top 10PolesLaps LedEarningsStartAvg. Finish
5012054$931,86016.819.2
Kenseth’s Career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Stats:
StartsWinsTop 5Top 10PolesLaps LedEarningsAvg. StartAvg. Finish
54931152272139,509$108,096,10818.214.2

From the Cockpit:
Matt Kenseth:
“Martinsville is one of those tracks, like all short tracks actually, where you need to have a car that turns really well, along with having some grip on entry and exit. I have a feeling it’s going to be a little bit different with the reduced horsepower this year. It’s always one of those tracks where you need to remain patient and try to keep your cool all day. Pit road is fairly tight at Martinsville, but it’s honestly just like any other pit road in the sense that it’s easier to pass on pit road at Martinsville than on the track itself. When you have a great pit crew like we do, you want to take advantage of those opportunities to get as much as you can to improve your position from pit road.”

From the Pit Box:
Jason Ratcliff:
“I feel that Martinsville is a big deal to win a race at because you really just fight all day long to survive there. I feel that we’ve had some great races there since Matt (Kenseth) has joined the No. 20 team where we were able to lead for a lot of laps. I think that we have an opportunity to win there because our cars, as an organization, have been strong, so I’m confident that we’ll have a strong run this weekend. Martinsville is very temperamental to the outdoor temps, but I’m looking forward to our weekend and know that we have a strong DG Toyota that we’re bringing with us.”

About Dollar General:
Dollar General Corporation has been delivering value to shoppers for over 75 years. Dollar General helps shoppers Save time. Save money. Every day!® by offering products that are frequently used and replenished, such as food, snacks, health and beauty aids, cleaning supplies, basic apparel, house wares and seasonal items at low everyday prices in convenient neighborhood locations. With more than 11,700 stores in 43 states, Dollar General has more retail locations than any retailer in America. In addition to high quality private brands, Dollar General sells products from America’s most-trusted manufacturers such as Clorox, Energizer, Procter & Gamble, Hanes, Coca-Cola, Mars, Unilever, Nestle, Kimberly-Clark, Kellogg’s, General Mills, and PepsiCo. For more information on Dollar General, please visit www.dollargeneral.com.

DG at the Track:
Dollar General has more retail locations than any retailer in America, with more than 11,700 stores in 40 states.

- Joe Gibbs Racing

Clint Bowyer 10th or better past six Martinsville starts

Clint Bowyer is 20/1 to win STP 500 at Martinsville
MARTINSVILLE, Va. (March 24, 2015) – Clint Bowyer chuckles when asked about his first trip to Martinsville Speedway and replies in his usual candid manner.

“I hated it when I first came here. There is no other way to describe it: I sucked,” Bowyer told a gathering of media at Martinsville Speedway Tuesday, just three days before the STP 500 weekend begins.

“It was completely embarrassing the first couple of times I came here. This is a place you have to learn and you have to appreciate and hone your skills to get a good finish here. It’s one thing to go fast at this race track, but then you’ve got to do it 500 times. The first couple of times I came here, I couldn’t figure when to get out of it, I was driving into the corner too hard and made me go slower. Then I was picking up the gas too soon. It just takes time here.”

It didn’t take him long to figure out the difficult half-mile. He scored a ninth-place finish in his fourth start at Martinsville and seldom has been out of the top 10 since. In 18 starts, he has 12 top 10s and his last five starts he has finished seventh, ninth, third, second and fifth.

“This is a cool race track and we’ve come so close to getting that darned clock,” said Bowyer, referring to the traditional grandfather clock winner’s trophy.

“I even brought my ratchet straps the last time. I was going to get it in my truck. This is a track we can win at. It’s needed for us, my race team and Toyota.”

“Martinsville, she’s kind of a stand-alone event. To be good at Martinsville, it takes a different setup in your race car. It’s a track where as a driver you can get up on the wheel and make a difference in the race car,” said Bowyer.

Bowyer guaranteed that the STP 500 would be full of excitement, even from his seat.

“It’s really, really action-packed and not just for (the fans), but for us. I’m telling you the whole time you’re here, you are tip-toeing around and you’re on pins and needles because of the closeness of the action, no matter if it’s on pit road or on the race track or rolling out of the pits in practices.

“All of these things are so difficult to manage as a race-car driver in these tight confines and all the while you’ve got 42 other lunatics out there you are racing with.”

Ticket prices for the STP 500 start at $50.

Tickets to the Virginia Lottery Pole Day on March 27, the Kroger 250 Camping World Truck Series race on March 28 and the STP 500 Sprint Cup Series race on March 29 can be purchased by calling 877.RACE.TIX or online atwww.martinsvillespeedway.com.

- Martinsville Speedway

Five straight top-10 finishes for Martin Truex Jr. heading to Martinsville

Martin Truex Jr. is 40/1 to win at Martinsville Sunday
DENVER, Colo. (March 24, 2015) – As Martin Truex Jr. heads to one of the more perplexing racetracks for this weekend’s Sprint Cup Series race at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway, the Furniture Row Racing driver can find solace with how his team has performed in the first five races compared to the same period last year.

After five races last season, Truex did not have any top fives or top 10s and was ranked 30th in driver points. After five races this season, Truex’s lowest finish has been eighth with one top five (second at Las Vegas) and is ranked third in the driver standings.

The five straight top-10 finishes equaled the total amount of top 10s Truex achieved in 2014, his first season with Furniture Row Racing. The five straight top 10s also equals Truex’s personal career best for consecutive top-10 finishes.

“Those five straight top 10s haven’t been easy,” stated Truex. “But we’ve made some nice comebacks and the early results have given Furniture Row Racing a big boost of confidence. We just need to keep on rolling and try to improve each week.”

But to keep the current pace, Truex, driver of the No. 78 Furniture Row/Denver Mattress Chevrolet, needs to figure out the Martinsville conundrum before the green flag drops for Sunday’s STP 500 at the shortest track on the NASCAR Sprint Cup circuit of 0.526 miles.

“They call Martinsville the paper-clip track, I call it the puzzle,” said Truex. “I don’t have anything against the quality of Martinsville Speedway — it’s just not one of my favorite tracks. The main reason for feeling that way is that after nearly 20 races there the track is still perplexing to me. We might have similar first names — Martin and Martinsville — but we just don’t get along or see eye to eye. I hope we can change that this weekend.”

Truex, who is in his 10th full season of Sprint Cup competition, might be a little too harsh on himself when talking about his Martinsville results.

“It’s not that I haven’t run well there – I’ve had a couple of top-fives and a few more top-10s, but I have had a hard time finding consistency in what I am doing and trying to get my car to do on Sunday,” explained Truex. “Bottom line — Martinsville just spins me out. I am hoping that what we do at Martinsville follows the same pattern of what we’ve been able to accomplish in the first five races this season.”

In 18 career starts at Martinsville, Truex has posted two top-five finishes and four top-10s. Last year at Martinsville Truex finished 21 st in the spring race and crashed in the fall race, which resulted in a 38 th-place finish.

Truex’s Career Record at Martinsville
 
Year
 
Start
 
Finish
 
Status/Laps
Laps
Led
 
Earnings
20062119Running, 498/500094,208
1836Running, 453/500072,575
20071529Running, 496/500196,670
219Running, 506/506095,695
20084221Running, 499/5000105,258
1810Running, 504/5040110,708
20092029Running, 498/5000108,890
328Running, 499/5010108,940
2010205Running, 508/508095,300
1629Running, 473/500071,275
20111840Crash, 219/500077,025
248Running, 500/500088,425
2012135Running, 515/5150117,949
1223Running, 499/5000103,424
20131240Running, 385/500095,925
1516Running, 500/5000115,910
20143121Running, 500/5000111,708
2638Crash, 436/5000100,138
Martinsville Speedway Totals
RacesWinT5T10PoleLedAvgStAvgFnDNFMoney
180240118.123.121,770,023
Truex’s 2015 Sprint Cup Series Results
No.DateEventStFnLapsLedStatusMoneyPointsStanding
12/22Daytona 500108203/2031Running489,772378
23/1Atlanta146325/3250Running150,61538/755
33/8Las Vegas82267/2673Running268,95043/1184
43/15Phoenix157312/3120Running121,02537/1553
53/22Fontana128209/2095Running136,24037/1923

- DMF Communications for Furniture Row Racing

David Ragan calls Martinsville 'an equalizer'

David Ragan is 75/1 to win STP 500 at Martinsville
HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (March 24, 2015) – The winner of Sunday’s STP 500 at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway, like every NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race winner there since the mid-1960s, will receive the traditional grandfather clock trophy in victory lane.

Martinsville track president Clay Campbell’s late grandfather and track founder H. Clay Earles teamed up with a local clock company almost five decades ago to create one of the most unique trophies in all of racing.

So, as David Ragan, driver of the No. 18 M&M’s Crispy Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR), heads to Martinsville this weekend, he’ll keep in mind that the key to a strong run at Martinsville is all about “time management.” Taking the time to manage cooling fans, brakes and tires during each lap around the .536-mile paperclip-shaped racetrack can pay huge dividends for competitors in the form of speed at the end of each green-flag run.

There are several other keys to a top finish Sunday at Martinsville, starting with a good qualifying effort Friday to ensure not only a prime starting spot, but a preferred pit stall, which enables competitors to get on and off of pit road as easily as possible.Ragan’s M&M’s Crispy pit crew will need to stay on top of its game by performing flawless stops, as track position at Martinsville pays more of a premium than anywhere else on the Sprint Cup circuit.

Finally, a good brake package will be crucial for Ragan to be competitive for all 500 laps. Throughout the long afternoon, drivers will be at top speed down the long straightaways, then do all they can to slow their 3,400-pound racecars enough to roll through the corners before jumping back on the gas. Few if any drivers can be successful at Martinsville if they’ve used up their brakes before covering the race distance.

So, as Ragan and the M&M’s Crispy Racing crew head to Martinsville this weekend, they’ll focus on a total team effort and use a little time management in order to bring home a strong run at NASCAR’s shortest track.

DAVID RAGAN, Driver of the No. 18 M&M’s Crispy Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing:

You’ve had some good runs at Martinsville in recent years. What is your outlook for this weekend?

“I really enjoy Martinsville. It’s a unique track. Having grown up on the asphalt short tracks, it’s a comfortable layout for me. It’s a track that is kind of an equalizer. Some of the smaller teams, like Front Row Motorsports, we’ve been able to get our car driving well and have good strategy and able to run in the top-10 and top-15. It’s always encouraging to have that competition throughout the entire field. It makes it very interesting. I enjoy the short tracks. I think that, as a fan, it’s some of the best racing we have. For sure, 500 laps is a big test on drivers and equipment. Martinsville just has an old-school feeling to it and a track that goes back as far as the history of our sport goes. Martinsville is a fun race, and certainly the JGR cars have been successful there over the years, and it’s a track that I’m very much looking forward to with our M&M’s Crispy Camry.”

What’s the hardest part about getting around Martinsville?
“I think Martinsville, from a driver’s perspective, mentally, it’s a tough race. It’s also important to manage your equipment throughout the race as the track rubbers up and changes throughout the day. You are constantly in traffic and you always have someone on your nose and on your bumper and you can’t make a mistake. Managing your brakes, fenders, tires are very important. Having good forward drive is a key. So is managing your tires. So, if you abuse your tires on the beginning of the run, you usually have to pay for it later in the run. There are just so many different variables to keep in mind. It sounds so simple because you don’t have to worry about your aero platform and how your splitter height is, but it’s very important to take care of your car so your brake ducts and fans work efficiently. It’s a grueling race, for sure.”

Do you feel more comfortable now that you have four races under your belt with the team?
“It’s great to get to the racetrack and know everyone’s name and get a feel for their process through a weekend and how they communicate, and how all four teams work together for the common good. So, that certainly does make things a little easier. I’ve been a little disappointed with just our overall results on Sundays. We’ve had moments of brilliance through the weekends, but we really haven’t been able to put an entire weekend together, so it’s encouraging to get back to the racetrack and again have some speed. This weekend is very, very important to get a good run and, obviously, just set the tone for the next few races. As far as being on a smaller team and being hungry to get to a more competitive program, I think in the Sprint Cup Series sometimes your careers go in different directions. And I think every driver – maybe with the exception of one of two over the years – have all had ups and downs and have been more successful with multiple teams. So in my situation, leaving Roush (Fenway Racing), going to Front Row Motorsports, I knew I had a great opportunity to help a smaller team and meet some new people and still work on some of my skills. The resources and all the tools that the larger teams have, it’s really remarkable that a smaller organization can even keep up with the larger teams. Kudos to NASCAR for keeping the rules as tight as they have over the years. That will allow a Harry Scott Motorsports or Front Row Motorsports or a Phoenix Racing over the years to win a race or to qualify in the top-10 or get a top-10 finish. I think over the last few years I’ve worked hard to try to make David Ragan a better driver, but when you get to a team like Gibbs (Joe Gibbs Racing) or a Hendrick (Motorsports) or Stewart-Haas (Racing), you’re surrounded by greatness. You definitely have to elevate and not make any mistakes, and there’s some really, really good drivers, really good crew chiefs and the engineers, who are out there and they make you a better driver. Just in the last few weeks, the tools that have been at my fingertips and some of the information just to help me drive and be a smarter driver, it’s been unbelievable and so it’s something that’s definitely given me a shot in the arm to keep digging and keep working hard being a young guy.”

Do you get the impression that Toyota is still adjusting to the new rules package?
“I’ve heard a little talk about the nose and a little talk about the engine package, so yeah, I still think there are some growing pains and understanding what their limits are and how aggressive they can be and how to get the most out of their Toyota Camry parts and pieces. I think that’s the case with any manufacturer. As you go to some different racetracks these first five or six races, it’s really a perfect schedule to have a speedway, a couple of downforce tracks, a short track, and then we go to Martinsville this weekend. There’s going to be a different group of issues when you get to Martinsville with the low-speed corners and accelerating out of those tight corners with a lot of torque that you need with the engine package. Time will tell how each manufacturer develops, but I think the Toyota guys feel pretty confident with where they’re at and where they’re going.”

DAVID RAGAN’S MARTINSVILLE SPRINT CUP SERIES PERFORMANCE PROFILE
YearDateEventStartFinishStatus/LapsLaps LedEarnings
20143/30STP 5002428Running, 497/5000$99,322
 10/26Goody’s Headache Relief Shot 5002910Running, 500/5000112,898
20134/7STP Gas Booster 5002330Running, 493/5000$89,950
 10/27Goody’s Headache Relief Shot 500843Engine, 109,5000$59,750
20124/1×Goody’s Fast Relief 5002424Running, 511/5150$91,518
 10/28TUMS Fast Relief 5001626Running, 499/5000$87,068
20114/3Goody’s Fast 500148Running, 500/5000$90,525
 10/30†TUMS Fast Relief 5001833Running, 444/5000$77,750
20103/28×Goody’s Fast Pain Relief 5002716Running, 508/5080$85,050
 10/24TUMS Fast Relief 5001017Running, 499/5000$83,350
20093/29Goody’s Fast Pain Relief 5002627Running, 498/5000$82,375
 10/25×TUMS Fast Pain Relief 5001422Running, 500/5010$82,675
20083/30Goody’s Cool Orange 500411Running, 500/5000$87,200
 10/19†×TUMS QuikPak 5001313Running, 504/5040$85,300
20074/1Goody’s Cool Orange 5002715Running, 500/5000$113,250
 10/21×Subway 5004126Running, 506/5060$101,650
200610/22Subway 5004125Running, 500/5000$66,125

× Race length extended due to green-white-checkered finish.
† Qualifying canceled due to weather, starting position set via car owner points.

- True Speed Communication for M&M’s Racing

Carl Edwards to lean on teammate Denny Hamlin at Martinsville

Carl Edwards is 25/1 to win STP 500
Carl Edwards / No. 19 ARRIS Toyota Preview
STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway

No. 19 ARRIS Toyota News and Notes:

Martinsville Speedway is the smallest track on the NASCAR circuit nestled is the mountains of southern Virginia. Statistically it has been a tough track for Edwards, but he’s been continually getting better on the paperclip track. With the support of his JGR teammates, he expects to keep improving and be in the hunt for their unique Grandfather Clock trophy.

In 21 Sprint Cup Series starts at Martinsville, Edwards has completed 10,351 of 10,534 laps (98.3 percent) and has led for a total of 31 laps. Edwards has earned one top-five and five top-10 finishes there. His average start is 15.5 and his average finish is 16.1.

RACE INFO: The STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway (.526-mile) begins at 1:00 p.m. ET on Sunday, March 29th. The race will be broadcast live on FOX, Sirius XM Channel 90 and MRN Radio.

Edwards’ 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Season Stats:
StartsWinsTop 5
PolesLaps LedEarningsStartAvg. Finish
500006$689,4689.420.6
Edwards’ Career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Stats:
StartsWinsTop 5Top 10PolesLaps LedEarningsAvg. StartAvg. Finish
3742310818713107187$73,945,68415.313.5

From the Cockpit:
Carl Edwards:
“We’re headed to Martinsville with the ARRIS Toyota. The JGR cars as a group ran really well at California, so that was a good day for us as a team. Now we go to a race track that’s not been a great race track for me. This is the one that’s been on my calendar for a long time. I’ve been very excited to go to Martinsville in a JGR Camry and to be able to lean on my teammates, specifically Denny (Hamlin). He’s helped me. I’m going to hold him responsible for whatever happens here. We’re really just going to have a good time and to learn and to have a solid run. I made it hard on us last week with putting us in a backup car. I was really proud of how my team rallied and never quit. And this week we just want to make the most of what we can with make no mistakes. That’s our mission.”

From the Pit Box:
Darian Grubb:
“I’m really looking forward to getting to Martinsville. It’s one of my favorite tracks to go to after the last couple years there with Denny Hamlin. Being my hometown track about forty miles away to my hometown, I’ve spent a lot of time there eating a lot of hotdogs. I want to go up there and have a really good run with Carl and get our short track program started off right. I’m really looking forward to it. I can’t wait to get up there and see all the friends and family.”

About ARRIS
ARRIS is the technology company behind the world’s entertainment and communications. If you watch TV or surf the Internet, chances are you’re using ARRIS technology. Our innovations let service providers across the globe deliver NASCAR to you. Together with Joe Gibbs Racing, Carlos Slim Domit, Carl Edwards, and Daniel Suarez— we’re inventing the future of NASCAR, on the track, and on your screens.

About ARRIS SURFboard® Modems & Gateways
ARRIS SURFboard products are your “gateway” to entertainment. They let you enjoy the latest entertainment, the world’s fastest speeds, and the coolest new services throughout your home, and beyond. And they’re available at your favorite retail store.

- Joe Gibbs Racing

Earnhardt Jr. going for second straight Martinsville win after none in first 29 starts

No. 88 Diet Mountain Dew Chevrolet SS / Dale Earnhardt Jr.

 
Driver Dale Earnhardt Jr.   Hometown Kannapolis, North Carolina
Age 40                                Resides Mooresville, North Carolina
 
 

2015 Season

  • 4th in standings
  • 5 starts
  • 0 wins
  • 0 pole positions
  • 3 top-five finishes
  • 4 top-10 finishes
  • 37 laps led
 
 

Career

  • 546 starts
  • 23 wins
  • 13 pole positions
  • 130 top-five finishes
  • 228 top-10 finishes
  • 7,884 laps led
 
 

Martinsville Career 

  • 30 starts
  • 1 win
  • 0 pole positions
  • 12 top-five finishes
  • 17 top-10 finishes
  • 972 laps led
 
 
Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the No. 88 Diet Mountain Dew Chevrolet SS, is scheduled to visit the Martinsville Speedway media center at 11:20 a.m. local time Friday.
DIET MOUNTAIN DEW: Diet Mountain Dew returns as the primary sponsor for the No. 88 Chevrolet SS this weekend at Martinsville Speedway. Dale Earnhardt Jr. will drive the traditional green, silver and red paint scheme. PepsiCo is the official soft drink of Martinsville Speedway and has been for over 60 years.
PERSONAL BEST: Earnhardt's 972 laps led at Martinsville are his personal best at a track. He has tallied 360 of those laps driving the No. 88 Chevrolet SS for Hendrick Motorsports.
SHORT TRACK STATS: In 91 Cup starts on short tracks, Earnhardt has recorded five wins, one pole position, 28 top-five finishes and 44 top-10s. He has an average starting spot of 17.3 and an average finish of 12.9 on these racetracks.
DRIVER RATING: According to NASCAR's loop data statistics, Earnhardt is ranked fourth in the driver rating category at Martinsville with a score of 101.2. The driver rating is a formula that combines wins, top-15 finishes, average running position while on the lead lap, average speed under green, fastest lap, most laps led and lead-lap finishes. The maximum a driver can earn in each race is 150 points. The driver rating number is used pre-race as a prediction tool and post-race as a performance evaluator.
CHASSIS CHOICE: Crew chief Greg Ives will unload Hendrick Motorsports Chassis No. 88-789 for this weekend's race at Martinsville Speedway. Earnhardt most recently won with the chassis at Martinsville last October.

Jimmie Johnson is 7-to-2 favorite to win STP 500 at Martinsville

No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet SS / Jimmie Johnson

 
Driver Jimmie Johnson   Hometown El Cajon, California
Age 39                             Resides Charlotte, North Carolina
 
 

2015 Season

  • 7th in standings
  • 5 starts
  • 1 win
  • 0 pole positions
  • 2 top-five finishes
  • 3 top-10 finishes
  • 176 laps led
 
 

Career

  • 476 starts
  • 71 wins
  • 33 pole positions
  • 195 top-five finishes
  • 295 top-10 finishes
  • 17,327 laps led
 
 

Martinsville Career 

  • 26 starts
  • 8 wins
  • 3 pole positions
  • 18 top-five finishes
  • 22 top-10 finishes
  • 2,746 laps led
 
 
Chad Knaus, crew chief of the No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet SS, is scheduled to visit the Martinsville Speedway media center at 10:30 a.m. local time Friday.
EIGHT CLOCKS AND COUNTING: In 26 starts at the paper clip-shaped half-mile at Martinsville, Jimmie Johnson has won eight of the prestigious grandfather clock trophies. His first win came on October 24, 2004. In addition to an average finish of 6.2, Johnson has managed to complete 99.3 percent of all laps attempted and has led 2,746 circuits.
TUNE IN: REPEAT AFTER ME: On a recent trip to Los Angeles, Johnson made a stop at Warner Brothers Studio to film a new show on ABC called “Repeat After Me” with host Wendi McLendon-Covey (The Goldbergs). The episode in which Johnson took part is currently scheduled to air on Tuesday, March 31, at 8:30 p.m. ET on ABC. Ellen DeGeneres is an executive producer on the show and Johnson joins the ranks of celebrities Harry Connick Jr. (American Idol), Ellen Pompeo (Grey’s Anatomy), Kristen Bell (Frozen) and Scott Foley (Scandal).
MARTINSVILLE CHASSIS: For this weekend’s event, crew chief Chad Knaus has selected chassis No. 48-913, which Johnson raced last October at Martinsville. The backup car is No. 48-749, which Johnson raced at Martinsville in March 2014.
HELMET OF HOPE NOMINATIONS: In its eighth year, the Blue Bunny Helmet of Hope program gives fans and consumers across the country the opportunity to nominate their favorite charity to be featured on Johnson’s helmet for the June 7 race at Pocono Raceway. In addition to being featured on the helmet, each charity selected also receives a grant of $25,000 and an ice cream party. To date, the program has contributed more than $685,000 to 76 different charities. Round-one voting for the Helmet of Hope is open until April 1. Visit JimmieJohnsonFoundation.org to nominate a charity that supports K-12 public education in the United States. A total of five charities will be selected.
TEAM JJF WELLNESS CHALLENGE: Registration is open for the 2015 Jimmie Johnson Foundation Wellness Challenge. Register now for early-bird pricing and register for all three events and get a reduced rate. The first event is April 26, the Jimmie Johnson Foundation 5K in Huntersville, North Carolina. Log on to www.jjfwellnesschallenge.org for more details. 

Chase Elliott to make Sprint Cup debut at Martinsville

Chase Elliott is 75/1 to win STP 500 on Sunday at Martinsville
No. 25 NAPA AUTO PARTS Chevrolet SS / Chase Elliott


Driver Chase Elliott 
Hometown: Dawsonville, Georgia
Age 19 
Resides: Dawsonville, Georgia

Chase Elliott will be available to members of the media following Friday’s qualifying session at Martinsville Speedway. The exact location is to be announced.

DEBUTING IN THE NO. 25 HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS CHEVROLET:Chase Elliott will make his Sprint Cup Series debut in the No. 25 NAPA AUTO PARTS Chevrolet SS for Hendrick Motorsports this Sunday, March 29, at Martinsville Speedway. Team owner Rick Hendrick also made his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver debut in the No. 25 Chevrolet at Riverside International Raceway in 1987. Also, in 2008 at Texas Motor Speedway, Brad Keselowski debuted for Hendrick Motorsports in the No. 25 Chevrolet.

19 YEARS YOUNG: Elliott, at the age of 19 years, four months and one day, will become the 12th youngest NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver to debut in the sport this Sunday, March 29. He will be the youngest Cup driver to debut since Joey Logano at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on September 14, 2008, when he was 18 years, three months and 20 days young.

FAMILIAR TERRITORY: Although Elliott is making an attempt at his first Cup Series start Sunday, in two previous NASCAR Camping World Truck Series starts at Martinsville, Elliott completed 100 percent of his total laps run (450) with an average finish of 13th at the oldest and shortest (0.526-mile oval) in-use NASCAR facility. His Martinsville debut came April 6, 2013, in the Hendrick Motorsports-owned No. 94 Chevrolet, finishing sixth. His second attempt at the “paperclip” was Saturday, October 26, when he finished 20th.

NAPA KNOW HOW ON BOARD: NAPA AUTO PARTS will serve as Elliott’s primary sponsor on the No. 25 Chevrolet SS this Sunday. Coming off a championship season at JR Motorsports in which NAPA sponsored Elliott’s Chevrolet for all 33 races, it will continue to be the principal sponsor for Elliott for his four remaining Cup races at Hendrick Motorsports in 2015 (Saturday, April 25, at Richmond International Raceway; Sunday, May 24, at Charlotte Motor Speedway; Sunday, July 26, at Indianapolis Motor Speedway; and Sunday, September 6, at Darlington Raceway). 

- Hendrick Motorsports

Jeff Gordon using 2014 runner-up Martinsville chassis this week

Jeff Gordon is 5/1 to win STP 500 at Martinsville, a place he has won at eight times
No. 24 Axalta Chevrolet SS / Jeff Gordon

Driver: Jeff Gordon
Hometown: Pittsboro, Indiana
Age: 43
Resides: Charlotte, North Carolina


Jeff Gordon, driver of the No. 24 Axalta Chevrolet SS, is scheduled to visit the Martinsville Speedway media center at 2:30 p.m. local time Friday.

Alan Gustafson, crew chief of the No. 24 Axalta Chevrolet SS, is scheduled to visit the Martinsville Speedway media center at 10:30 a.m. local time Friday.


TOPS AT MARTINSVILLE AMONG ACTIVE DRIVERS: The four-time NASCAR Cup Series champion leads active drivers in several statistical categories at the paper-clip track. Jeff Gordon has the most pole positions (seven – four more than any active competitor), top-five finishes (28; 10 more than second), top-10s (35; 13 more than second), laps led (3,723) and best average start (7.3). The driver of the No. 24 Chevy SS is tied for most wins (eight) with Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jimmie Johnson.
FIVE OUTSIDE TOP DOZEN AT MARTINSVILLE: Gordon has finished outside of the top 12 only five times in 44 Cup starts at the 0.526-mile track – once in 1994, twice in 2002, once in 2010 and once in 2012.

MARTINSVILLE CHASSIS: No. 24 crew chief Alan Gustafson has selected Hendrick Motorsports Chassis No. 24-902 for this Sunday’s race. Gordon raced this chassis to a runner-up finish at Martinsville in October of last year.

ANOTHER TITLE FOR GORDON: Axalta Coating Systems (NYSE: AXTA), a leading global manufacturer of liquid and powder coatings, and Gordon announced a new multi-year partnership in February. Gordon was named Axalta’s Global Business Advisor and will serve as special advisor to Charlie Shaver, Axalta Chairman and CEO, bringing his winning skills and innovative thinking to Axalta, its leadership team and its customers worldwide.

2015 Season
22nd in standings
5 starts
0 wins
2 pole positions
0 top-five finishes
2 top-10 finishes
90 laps led

Career
766 starts
92 wins
79 pole positions
320 top-five finishes
456 top-10 finishes
24,754 laps led

Martinsville Career 
44 starts
8 wins
7 pole positions
28 top-five finishes
35 top-10 finishes
3,723 laps led

Kasey Kahne using new chassis at Martinsville

Kasey Kahne is 25/1 to win Sunday's STP 500 at Martinsville
No. 5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet SS / Kasey Kahne

MARTINSVILLE SPEEDWAY (0.526-MILE SHORT TRACK)
LOCATION: RIDGEWAY, VIRGINIA
EVENT: NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES (RACE 6 OF 36)
TUNE IN: 1 P.M. ET, SUNDAY, MARCH 29 (FS1/MRN/SIRIUSXM)

Driver: Kasey Kahne 
Hometown: Enumclaw, Washington
Age: 34 
Resides: Mooresville, North Carolina


SEASON-TO-DATE: After the first five Sprint Cup Series races this season, Kasey Kahne currently ranks first in quality passes (545), fourth in average running position (9.438), fifth in fastest drivers early in a run (8.400 average rank), fifth in green-flag speed (7.400 average rank), fifth in laps in top 15 (1,124), tied for sixth in fastest speed in traffic (8.800 average rank), sixth in fastest drivers on restarts (9.800 average rank), seventh in fastest laps run (40), seventh in driver rating (97.6) and eighth in fastest drivers late in a run (8.600 average rank).

KAHNE AT MARTINSVILLE: Kahne scored his best result at the short track in April 2005, when he rallied from a 35th-place starting spot to finish second. Kahne scored the pole position at the 0.526-mile oval in April 2012 and has qualified sixth or better seven times at the Virginia short track.

MARTINSVILLE LOOP DATA: According to NASCAR loop data during the last 20 Sprint Cup Series races at Martinsville, Kahne ranks fourth in the closers category with 25 positions improved in the last 10 percent of laps in each race. He also ranks seventh in fastest drivers late in a run (90.208 mph) and eighth in fastest laps run (260).

SHORT TRACK STATS: Kahne has collected two of his 17 career Cup wins and three of his 26 pole positions on short tracks. His most recent short-track win was at Bristol Motor Speedway in March 2013. He has 12 top-five finishes and 21 top-10s in 66 starts on tracks less than one mile in length.

MARTINSVILLE CHASSIS CHOICE: Crew chief Keith Rodden has selected Hendrick Motorsports Chassis No. 5-925 for Sunday's race at Martinsville. This is a brand new car. 
 
FARMERS INSURANCE: This weekend at Martinsville, Kahne will drive the No. 5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet SS. This year, Farmers has partnered with Paseo Academy High School in Kansas City, Missouri, to create a series of racing-related hero cards and posters that will be designed by the school's art students. Farmers is making a donation to the school’s art program. Through ThankAmericasTeachers.com, Farmers has been committed to recognizing teachers and providing resources for educational initiatives throughout the country. For more information, please visitwww.facebook.com/FarmersRacing.



2015 Season
  • 8th in standings
  • 5 starts
  • 0 wins
  • 0 pole positions
  • 1 top-five finish
  • 2 top-10 finishes
  • 0 laps led
 
 
Career
  • 401 starts
  • 17 wins
  • 26 pole positions
  • 84 top-five finishes
  • 148 top-10 finishes
  • 4,541 laps led
 
 
Martinsville Career 
  • 22 starts
  • 0 wins
  • 1 pole position
  • 3 top-five finishes
  • 4 top-10 finishes
  • 31 laps led