Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Roush Fenway Racing Preview: Martinsville Not Exactly Their Best Track

Edwards Martinsville best was third in 2008
Carl Edwards
Team: No. 99 Aflac Ford Fusion
Crew Chief: Bob Osborne

Chassis: RK-726 This car last raced at Phoenix in February, Finished 28th after an accident

Carl Edwards on racing at Martinsville Speedway: “It’s great going into Martinsville as the point leader. Martinsville is one of those tracks we keep getting better at and the track is always a challenge. We have had some really good runs there lately and I feel it’s one of those driver’s tracks and a win there would mean a lot to me.”

Crew chief Bob Osborne on racing at Martinsville Speedway: “Martinsville is a demanding track, both physically and mentally. It’s a difficult place to get the car handling just right and the driver has to be patient in traffic to save the brakes. It’s a very long race so you can’t wear out your brakes in the first half of the race. We’d like to come out of there still leading the points so we need a good, solid finish at Martinsville this weekend.”

Carl Edwards enters Martinsville leading the NASCAR Sprint Cup point standings, by nine points. He has earned one win, 3 top-five, four top-10 finishes and two poles this season.

FOR THE RECORD… In 13 starts at the 0.526-mile track, Edwards has one top-five and four top-10 finishes. His average start is 17.8, and his average finish is 16.8. Edwards has completed 97.2 percent (6337 of 6519) of laps in Cup competition attempted at Martinsville Speedway.

Edwards’ best career finish at Martinsville came back in 2003, when he finished second in the Camping World Truck Series race. He started that race from the pole. His best Cup finish was third in the fall of 2008.

IN THE LOOP… According to NASCAR’s Loop Statistics compiled over the last 13 races at Martinsville, Edwards has turned 101 of the track’s fastest laps (13th most), spent 3,502 laps in the top 15, but has not led a lap there. Martinsville and Watkins Glen are the only two tracks on the NSCS circuit that he has failed to lead a lap.

REWIND, MARTINSVILLE, MARCH 2010… Edwards rose to the challenge of the demanding paper clip-shaped half-mile track to survive a green-white-checker finish and bring the Aflac Ford Fusion home in eighth place.

Runner-up at Martinsville in 2002
Matt Kenseth
Team: No. 17 Crown Royal Ford Fusion
Crew Chief: Jimmy Fennig

Chassis: Primary: RK-725 (last raced at Phoenix)

Kenseth on racing at Martinsville Speedway: “Martinsville is probably not our best track, but, statistically, it’s probably not our worst either. It’s just one that I get aggravated at and probably don’t use my head as much as I should at times. I think it’s more of a Matt thing trying to be patient and not let my emotions get the best of me. You can never get away from anybody it feels like so it can get frustrating. There’s just not a lot of room to work sometimes and you’re always either getting run in to it seems like, or running into somebody.”

Crew chief Jimmy Fennig on racing at Martinsville Speedway: “There’s always a lot of rubbing and racing for position when we race at Martinsville Speedway and that’s just because it’s a great typical short-track. Qualifying is really important at short tracks, as well as having a car that drives well in the turns. Track position is really important since you don’t have the long straightaways to be able to make passes like we would at longer tracks, so we’ll make sure that our No. 17 Ford turns well in the center of the turns and that it has good grip off the turns in order to race down the short straightaways.”

• In 22 Cup starts at Martinsville, Kenseth has completed 10,909 of 11,019 laps (99.0 percent) and led for 68 laps
• Kenseth has an average starting position of 23.2 and an average finishing position of 16.3 at Martinsville
• Kenseth has achieved two top-five, and six top-10 finishes at Martinsville in the Cup series
• This weekend at Martinsville, Kenseth will pilot the No. 17 Crown Royal Ford Fusion
• Entering the weekend at Martinsville, Kenseth is currently 10th in the NSCS driver point standings

Martinsville best of 11th in 2008
David Ragan
Team: No. 6 UPS Ford Fusion
Crew Chief: Drew Blickensderfer

Chassis: Primary: RK-747 Brand new chassis; Backup: RK-730 Last ran Las Vegas – finished 22nd

Ragan on racing at Martinsville Speedway: “Martinsville is one of my favorite tracks on the schedule. It’s such a unique track and it’s nice that it is pretty close to home. Our UPS team has a lot of motivation going to another short track since we ran well at Bristol, so we definitely like our chances. Track position is important so we are really going to focus on qualifying and I’ll need to take care of my brakes all day to be in position at the end.”

Crew chief Drew Blickensderfer on racing at Martinsville Speedway: “Track position is very important at a place like Martinsville, so we’ll spend some time in practice working on our qualifying setup. We’re taking a brand new UPS Ford this weekend, and David likes short tracks, so we should be able to get a good finish. Our pit crew has been doing great so far this season and Martinsville is a place they can really shine with track position being so crucial.”

Only two top-10 finishes at Martinsville
Greg Biffle
No. 16 3M Ford Fusion
Crew Chief: Greg Erwin

Biffle on Martinsville: “Well, it’s obvious by looking at my stats that Martinsville has been a tough place for me. We’ve had a few decent runs there but getting your car to turn can make the difference between a fun race at Martinsville and a long day at Martinsville. When the car is turning and you can get off of the corners on the gas, the race at Martinsville can be one of the most fun races of the season but when it won’t turn or your brakes a failing, it is probably my least favorite track on the circuit. I would say our goal this weekend is to leave Martinsville with a top-10 finish.”

Erwin on Martinsville: “The key this weekend will be to get the car to rotate through the center so the driver can get into the gas as soon as possible coming off of the corner. We have been able to run in the top 10 at Martinsville and we just need to be able to do that this weekend. As always, qualifying well will be extremely important because it is generally easier to stay up front at Martinsville than to get up front at Martinsville.”

Martinsville Notes
• Biffle is currently 20th in the Sprint Cup point standings following his 11th-place finish in California.
• Biffle has an average finish of 23rd from an average starting position of 18.8 at Martinsville Speedway.
• Biffle will be making his 300th Sprint Cup points race start this weekend in Martinsville.
• Ryan Dextraze, who was the catchcan guy for the team in 2010 and has been in charge of windshield tear-offs during pit stops this year, will be the gasman for the 3M team this weekend in Martinsville.
• Visit www.shop3M.com to learn more about all of the innovative products 3M has to offer.

- Roush Fenway Racing, Press Release

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