Martinsville II: Roush Racing preview

Roush Racing heads to Martinsville for round six of "The Chase" Martinsville Speedway, October 22-24, 2004 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series: Subway 500, October 24 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series: Kroger 200, October 23 Roush Racing Fast Facts *...

Roush Racing heads to Martinsville for round six of "The Chase"
Martinsville Speedway, October 22-24, 2004

NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series: Subway 500, October 24
NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series: Kroger 200, October 23

Roush Racing Fast Facts

* Mark Martin remains in fifth place in the Chase. He currently trails first by 186 points and fourth by 29 points with five races remaining.

* Martin earned his first ever career top-five Cup finish at Martinsville in 1981, with a third-place finish in the Old Dominion 500 on Sept. 27, 1981. Since then, Martin has accumulated 205 additional top-five finishes.

* Martin has two victories at Martinsville (spring 1992 and 2000). In addition, the veteran driver has three poles, 10 top-five finishes and 19 top 10's.

* The Viagra Team has been strong when it counts, having finished in the top-15 in eight of the last nine races. Furthermore, Martin has posted top-five runs in six of the last 12 and five of the last 10 races. In fact, Martin has scored nine of his 13 top-10 and all but one of his eight top-five finishes in 2004 after June 6.

* Matt Kenseth finished 11th at Lowe's Motor Speedway one week ago. He has 16 top-10 finishes in 31 starts in 2004. Kenseth has now been inside the NASCAR Top-10 for 66 straight weeks--the longest active streak.

* Kenseth has one top-five and three top-10's at Martinsville Speedway.

* Matt Kenseth tested at Martinsville Speedway earlier this spring and again on October 12th.

* Kurt Busch held on to the lead in the 2004 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series with his fourth place finish in Charlotte last week. He now leads second-place Dale Earnhardt Jr. by 24 points, and is 74 points ahead of third-place Jeff Gordon (Busch also held the point lead when coming to Martinsville for the spring race).

* Busch's fourth place at Charlotte last week marked a career-best at the facility. It is the second consecutive week Busch has notched a career-best for a track, following his sixth place finish at Kansas City the previous week.

* Busch finished in the top six in each of the first five races in the "Chase for the NEXTEL Cup." Busch and Dale Earnhardt Jr. are the only two drivers to finish in the top ten in each of the events. Busch and Ryan Newman are the only two Chase contenders to lead at least one lap in each of the five races.

* Busch picked up his second career victory at Martinsville in the Old Dominion 500 on October 20, 2002 from the 36th starting position, the farthest back a race winner has started at Martinsville.

* Busch is running the No. 97 IRWIN paint scheme for the 19th of 20 events in 2004.

* Busch has extra incentive to run well this weekend to benefit low-income families. For a top five-finish, IRWIN will donate $10,000 in product to the charitable foundation Rebuilding Together, and $20,000 for a win.

* This will be Carl Edwards's third start at a short track in the No. 99 Roush Racing Ford. In two starts he has one top-10 finish (Richmond, sixth). Edwards was a top-15 car at Bristol until an unavoidable wreck ended his night early.

* Edwards had his best Cup qualifying effort to date last week at Charlotte qualifying 10th in the No. 99 Canteen/Kraft Foods Ford.

* In three career starts in the No. 99 Superchips F-150, Edwards has accrued two top-five and three top-10 finishes in addition to one pole.

* In the truck, Edwards's average starting position is fifth while his average finishing position is fourth.

NNCS:

Mark Martin
Team: No. 6 Viagra* Ford Taurus
Owner: Jack Roush
Crew Chief: Pat Tryson
Chassis: RK-241 (won at Dover earlier this year)

Mark Martin on racing at Martinsville Speedway: "Martinsville is a tough track and it really isn't one of my favorite places to race. To be honest there just isn't room for 43 cars to race there and you spend all day trying not to get caught up in somebody's mess like we did Saturday night. I have won there a couple of times and we've ran well there. We were actually strong there in the spring and it looked like we were going to make a run for the thing, before we had a problem with the fuel line. Hopefully we can go back this weekend and finish the job. Saturday night was really tough. We had our favorite car at our favorite track and we even had the lead for a while. We were right up front where we wanted to be and got caught up in a dumb wreck late in the race. You hate that, but those types of things happen and there isn't much you can do about it. The team did a great job keeping us on the lead lap and we were able to escape with a descent finish, but it could have been a lot better that's for sure. Still we did all we could do."

Crew Chief Pat Tryson on racing at Martinsville Speedway: "We were having a great run there in the spring before the fuel line went out and I even thought we had a good shot a winning. We are going to take RK-241 this time, which is the same car that we used to win at Dover earlier this year. We know it's a great car and we are looking for another strong run, but this time hopefully we'll be able to finish the race with the results we deserve. Mark and the team have done a great job this year and we can't wait to get back out there this weekend."

Greg Biffle
Team: No. 16 National Guard Ford Taurus
Owner: Jack Roush
Crew Chief: Doug Richert
Chassis: RK-258 (finished 8th at Richmond)

Greg Biffle on racing at Martinsville Speedway: "We've got a busy weekend ahead of us racing in different places, but this one won't be as bad as some have been. I'm not going back and forth to run Busch Happy Hour, so all I have to do is show up and run the race on Saturday. We tested the Cup car at Martinsville a couple of weeks ago and it went very well. I've struggled there at times, so having the extra practice will definitely be a plus heading into the weekend. The National Guard team had a tough go at it last weekend at Lowe's Motor Speedway and we'd love to rebound with a solid performance at Martinsville."

Crew Chief Doug Richert on racing at Martinsville Speedway: "We tested this car in Martinsville a couple of weeks ago and had a good run with it in Richmond in spite of damage to the nose. We feel it has the perfect combination for Martinsville. The new surface there in the corners allows for a lot faster speeds than we've run there before and we'll be taking different shock and spring combinations to account for it."

Matt Kenseth
Team: No. 17 DEWALT Ford Taurus
Owner: Jack Roush/Mark Martin
Crew Chief: Robbie Reiser
Chassis: MMR-22 (raced at Martinsville in the spring to an eighth place finish)

Matt Kenseth on racing at Martinsville Speedway: "As far as the new surfacing, it's just like it was before they ground it. It's a little bit smoother, but it's just like Martinsville used to be before they ground the bottom groove. The fast way around is the bottom. You're going to see a race like you saw there a couple years ago, which I thought was OK. I mean, the bottom is the way to go and it's going to be very difficult to pass on the outside, but I still think a better handling car is going to be able to pass. Before you could run side-by-side, but you couldn't pass."

Crew Chief Robbie Reiser on racing at Martinsville Speedway: "We had a good test here--I think we ran something like 500 laps total. We used a couple of cars, but the older chassis actually performed better and responded to the changes the way we wanted, so we're going with it for this event."

Kurt Busch
Team: No. 97 IRWIN Industrial Tools Ford Taurus
Owner: Jack Roush
Crew Chief: Jimmy Fennig
Chassis: #48 (led at Richmond six weeks ago before falling short on fuel)

Kurt Busch on racing at Martinsville Speedway: "Martinsville is one of those short tracks that the Nextel Chase for the Cup contenders are all going to run strong on. Junior has been strong there. He's finished third there so many times. He's on the verge of winning. Jeff Gordon has had an advantage there the past few times. We've won there back in 2002. You just go down the list. Newman is going to be strong and Mark Martin. The new surface there is going to provide for a different type of racing. What I noticed there in testing is the marbles gathered quickly just outside of the racing groove, so it's going to be single-file for awhile and a matter of staying out of trouble. And another element that's going to be new to Martinsville is the center of corner speed. There are going to be guys that gain so much speed through the center of the corner on somebody that you've got to protect your radiator, so it's going to be a battle."

Crew Chief Jimmy Fennig on racing at Martinsville Speedway: "With those long straights and tight corners, Martinsville is a tough track on the brakes and the motors. It really puts a lot of it on the driver too because it is so mentally exhausting to go run around for 500 laps on those tight turns. We had some tough finishes here last year, but in 2002 we ran well here. Kurt has taken the car to victory lane here before, and we all know he knows how to run short tracks, so we'll see if he can keep the fenders clean and hold on to that points lead."

Carl Edwards
Team: No.99 Ford Taurus
Owner: Jack Roush
Crew Chief: Bob Osborne
Chassis Number: RK-202 (ran at Martinsville earlier this year)

Carl Edwards on racing at Martinsville Speedway: "I sat on the pole there last year in the Superchips truck so I guess you could say I like the track. It's a lot of fun to race there. It's probably the toughest track yet for me in the Cup car. Last year I had a tough time with the track in the truck but I think I learned a lot and I think racing the Superchips F-150 on Saturday will definitely help me for Sunday's Cup race. There's just so much history there; that makes it really neat to race there."

Crew Chief Bob Osborne on racing at Martinsville Speedway: "Martinsville is definitely one of the more challenging tracks on the circuit. You have to qualify well so you don't go a lap down early in the race. Plus pit strategy and tire management are huge factors that can make or break a team in 500 laps. We didn't have the run we were hoping for last week at Charlotte so we're hoping to redeem ourselves this week at Martinsville."

NCTS:

Jon Wood
Team: No. 50 Roush Racing Ford F-150
Owner: Jack Roush
Crew Chief: Tony Price
Chassis: #34 (ran at Martinsville in the spring)

Jon Wood on racing at Martinsville Speedway: "I've been looking forward to this race for quite a while. I love racing there since I consider it my home track and I won there last year. Our only top-five finish of the season came at Martinsville this year so hopefully we can get another one this weekend. This team has been improving every week, we just don't have the results to show for it. I had such a good truck at Texas last weekend, but we lost the transmission on lap 10. If not for that I bet we would have finished in the top five. Tony (Price) and the guys have done a great job. Our pit stops were so much better at Texas too. We have everything we need to be successful, now we just need to catch a break."

Crew Chief Tony Price on racing at Martinsville Speedway: "We're taking the same truck we raced at Martinsville in the spring. Jon got a top-five finish with it there and we hope to get another one this time. This whole team really deserves a good run. The guys have worked really hard to improve our trucks and out pit stops. We just need some good results in these final four races to prove it."

Carl Edwards
Team: No. 99 Superchips Ford F-150
Owner: Jack Roush
Crew Chief: Kevin Starland
Chassis: #35 (raced at Richmond, IRP, Memphis and Mansfield)

Carl Edwards on racing at Martinsville Speedway: "I really like racing at Martinsville. It is probably one of the toughest tracks out there. I didn't make a lot of friends during my first race there last year. I ran into a few people and spent some time apologizing on pit road after the race. We finished sixth there in the spring this year, but I got banged all around from start to finish. It got pretty exciting there at the end. I wasn't about to just settle for seventh place so I charged up there to see what I could get. We ended up with a pretty decent finish."

Crew Chief Kevin "Cowboy" Starland on racing at Martinsville Speedway: "We've lost a few points the last few weeks so our goal at Martinsville is to keep the truck in one piece and try to gain back some of our points on (Bobby) Hamilton, (Dennis) Setzer and now (Ted) Musgrave too. Carl will get some extra track time since he'll be running the Cup car also, so that can only help at a place like Martinsville."

-rr-

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About this article
Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup , NASCAR Truck
Drivers Dale Earnhardt Jr. , Jeff Gordon , Matt Kenseth , Greg Biffle , Kurt Busch , Ryan Newman , Jon Wood , Carl Edwards , Jack Roush , Doug Richert , Mark Martin