Garage Chatter: Martinsville II

Berrier loses appeal: Richard Childress Racing No. 29 Chevy crew chief Todd Berrier lost his appeal to NASCAR on Wednesday from infractions during Talladega qualifying. Chris Hussey will take over for Berrier who is suspended for Martinsville and...

Berrier loses appeal: Richard Childress Racing No. 29 Chevy crew chief Todd Berrier lost his appeal to NASCAR on Wednesday from infractions during Talladega qualifying. Chris Hussey will take over for Berrier who is suspended for Martinsville and Atlanta.

It is the second time this season that Berrier has been suspended due to illegal parts on Kevin Harvick's car.

Sad weekend for Hendrick teams: This weekend marks the one year anniversary of the plane crash that took the lives of several key Hendrick Motorsports employees; including owner Rick Hendrick's son, Ricky.

Hendrick was unsure whether he would attend this weekend's event. Hendrick driver, Jimmie Johnson, went on to win the event last year. Victory lane celebrations were cancelled as Johnson did not find out about the crash until he exited the No. 48 Chevy post race.

"That was an emotional victory and an emotional day," Gordon said of Johnson's win. "It was an honor to get the win for Hendrick Motorsports. "Those we lost were definitely on our mind, and our thoughts of them are never going to go away."

Johnson looks to compliment his win here last year and win last weekend in Charlotte with another to further commemorate the 10 people lost on that flight.

"We went back in the spring," said Johnson of Martinsville. "All the emotions came back. We went back for the test last week and you can't help but think about it. And Atlanta's going to be the same way-pulling into Atlanta. Just it's hard to forget those things. One thing that I feel that's coming up is the families that are dealing with this one-year anniversary.

"It's going to be so tough for all of them and I know they all do different things to help the anniversary pass. And with as little pain as possible. Another person I'm going to be thinking of is Brian Vickers. It's his birthday. The plane crash was on his birthday of all things. So, as a teammate and friend, to be there for him as well as the other people that lost loved ones on the flight."

Stewart and Johnson enter Martinsville in dead heat: One thing is for sure Johnson's elation at beating the odds last weekend in Martinsville were equally measured by Stewart's ire for experiencing a tire failure after NASCAR mandated the No. 20 team meet minimum tire pressure.

The result: Johnson and Stewart are tied for the championship lead heading into Martinsville with just five races left to determine the 2005 Nextel Cup series championship.

"I don't care how it gets done," said Stewart of making up points. "I don't care if we win it by one point as long as we get it done. That's the whole goal. Nobody will remember 10 or 20 years down the line how much anybody won it by. It matters whether you got it or not. That's why I say I really haven't been paying attention to it right now. I'm not letting that point's sheet monopolize my week. I'm into figuring out what we need to do each week to be fast. At the end of the day I look at the point's sheet for five minutes and that's the end of it for me."

Stewart led a race-high 247 laps at the spring race here but broke a right- front wheel late in the race conceding the win to Jeff Gordon. Johnson, as noted, won this event last year.

"I think that Martinsville is a place where contact is going to come into play," said Johnson. "Tempers are going to be high, like at a place like Bristol. There's a lot on the line for the Chase and it's a track where you can never get away from lapped cars or cars that you're racing. So, the potential is there to have contact and problems. The track, since they've resurfaced it, it's really a single-file track on the bottom, and the way you make a position is by somebody making a mistake or you help them make a mistake."

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Jeff Gordon , Kevin Harvick , Jimmie Johnson , Brian Vickers
Teams Richard Childress Racing , Hendrick Motorsports