“I love to hate Martinsville”
DENVER (Oct. 23, 2013) – You just have to take a quick look at Kurt Busch’s Martinsville Speedway record to understand why he has a love/hate relationship with the southern Virginia short track.
Busch’s last top-10 at Martinsville was a sixth-place finish eight years ago in October 2005 and his last top-five was nine years ago in October 2004. That’s 15 races without a top-10 and 17 without a top-five.
Adding insult to injury, Busch’s last race at Martinsville (in April) ended with his No. 78 Chevrolet in a ball of fire and a 37th-place finish due to a brake rotor malfunction.
Not the typical numbers for a seven-time Chase participant and former champion in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.
“I love to hate Martinsville,” said Busch. “It’s been a tough track for me. I’ve won there, but over the years I also have had my struggles there.”
If there’s a sliver lining for Busch, who is currently ninth in the Chase driver point standings, it’s the test session he and the Furniture Row Racing team conducted at Martinsville a few weeks ago.
“The good news heading into this weekend's race is that our Furniture Row Racing team tested at Martinsville and we came away feeling pretty good about what we learned,” noted the 35-year-old Busch. “Now it's a matter of compressing that data and applying it to our race setup in our Furniture Row Chevrolet.”
To have success in Sunday’s Goody’s Headache Relief Shot 500 Busch said that mastering the center of the corner and adapting to track changes will play key roles in determining the outcome.
“Martinsville comes down to having your car rotate the center of the corner and being able to drive off the corner underneath somebody,” explained Busch. “As the track changes its rubber build up, you have to be able to roll with the changes. You have to be smart enough to keep track of the changing conditions and not overdrive the car early on."
Furniture Row Racing