Here we go! Another short track race ready to heat up the Martinsville Speedway, and driver's attitudes will surely match. Coming off a short track race at Bristol that saw fenders wrinkled and frustrations flared, a pack of hungry drivers made the trip out west to Fontana. How were they rewarded? With tire issues that saw many of them turning a great running position and potential finish into an unscheduled pit stop and a drop to the back of a very fast pack.
So headed into Martinsville what can we expect? For starters we can expect some very solid drivers to take a hefty swing at getting to the front and staying there at any cost. Drivers like Dale Earnhardt Jr, who has been uncharacteristically solid and has been rewarded well thus far this season. However, he has a tendency to lose that lucky rabbit's foot at the wrong time. Possibly Denny Hamlin, who seems to have been affected by a Cali curse can put the mental and emotional roller coaster to bed quickly and climb in the #11 FedEx Toyota and tame a track that has treated him very well in the past. You can certainly bet he would like too. But will he be healthy enough is the question. One thing is for sure a grandfather clock trophy can be one of the best cures for what ails you. Then you have the champ himself, Jimmy Johnson. He has been involved in some of the best highlights out of Martinsville every year. Whether he is being cursed by a Busch brother on the radio, having his bumper beaten off the car by Jeff Gordon, or synchronized spinning on a late race restart due to a hungry dive bomber like Clint Bowyer...
One thing is certain, he missed a victory last week and will be hungry, and in the thick of it this week. Watch for him to mix it up and be contending for a win, whether you like it or not. Oh, but let's not forget that #24. Since 2002 he has picked up five clocks in Martinsville, most recently last year and seems comfortable with himself and his team this year.
Look for your proverbial powerhouses to most certainly be hovering in the top five all day. However having said that, who can we look forward to faltering? Well if past performance is any predictor of future performance....
Divers like Joey Logano may make his detractors happy. In his ten starts Joey has no victories, one top five and only two top tens. Not to mention he just never looks comfortable at this short track. You can also look for Carl Edwards near the middle to back of the pack this week. In Carl's 19 starts at Martinsville he has a goose egg in the win column and only one top five and five top ten's. Other notable bad finishers at this tight track include; Brad Keselowski 8 races/ 0 wins/ 1 T5's, Matt Kenseth, who in all fairness seemed to have turned a page with the addition of a new team at Mville. But MK is still showing a 28 race career here with 0 wins/ 4 T5/ and 9 T10's. Brian Vickers also shows a grand total of 3 top tens and nothing else. And unfortunately there's Kasey Kahne. Since entering NASCAR in the #9 for a retiring Bill Elliot, Kasey has made 20 trips looking for a classic timepiece to prove his short track prowess. After all, Kasey is a small track dirt guy who even owns a championship sprint car team. But alas he has left empty handed every single time. He only has three top fives and four top tens to show.
If you are a NASCAR Fantasy Live participant looking to pick a winner, you will also want to steer clear of the likes of Aric Almirola, Marcos Ambrose and an uncharacteristically bad Biff. Greg Biffle has a whopping 22 starts at the track known for tight turns and red hot dogs. Maybe its the dogs that make his tummy, and his record here so nauseating. Greg has No wins, NO top fives, and only five top tens.
Whatever you do this Sunday, grab some refreshments settle in for the afternoon and prepare yourself for some amazing racing. At a track known for aggression, and with a season in progress that may be one of the most aggressive in the history of the sport, and with so many drivers looking to clench a spot in The Chase with a victory or move up with a repeat win, it is sure to be one heck of a race!
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