Martinsville: Red Bull Racing preview

It's Martinsville weekend, which carries loads of significance for the teams seeking peace of mind on qualifying day. Rain or shine, Red Bull Racing Team's No. 83 is locked into the Goody's 500. Brian Vickers sits 17th in the owner standings -...

It's Martinsville weekend, which carries loads of significance for the teams seeking peace of mind on qualifying day. Rain or shine, Red Bull Racing Team's No. 83 is locked into the Goody's 500. Brian Vickers sits 17th in the owner standings - well ahead of the go-or-go-home line that's drawn at 35. For the first time, well, ever, the No. 83 bunch has the luxury of throwing a few race runs into Friday's opening practice. The No. 84, with Mike Skinner at the wheel, has a steep climb ahead. It sits 43rd in owner points - but only 138 points from spot No. 35. As for the last Sprint Cup race at Bristol, it wasn't a productive day for Red Bull Racing Team. Vickers smacked the wall in the closing laps and finished 39th. The No. 84's rear end caught fire and ended up 40th.

Mike Skinner, Red Bull Racing Team's "mentor" in the No. 84, is chasing another championship in the Craftsman Truck Series. And he's chasing his third consecutive truck victory at Martinsville. Skinner, the inaugural series champion in 1995 who sits seventh in points, swept both truck races last season at the .526-mile southern Virginia short track, and he's the series' only three-time winner at Martinsville. His first victory came in the fall 1996.

Scott Speed has an itchy trigger foot. He's desperate to finally press the pedal in the middle because oval-track racing requires little or no braking. But that's not the case at Martinsville, where the red-hot glow of burning brakes partially defines racing at NASCAR's shortest track. Driving Morgan Dollar Motorsports' No. 46, Speed will make his second Craftsman Truck start in Saturday's Kroger 250. It's an ideal situation for Speed - racing at a track where tight turns are separated by long straightaways. At Martinsville, it's all about entry and exit. Speed, who finished 27th in truck start No. 1 at Atlanta, tested at Martinsville not long ago. "Actually used the brakes quite a lot. It's been a while since I used those," Speed said. "For an oval, (Martinsville) felt the most natural. The corners are pretty low banked. Driving those corners felt like driving on corners I have my whole life."

On the Scott Speed ARCA front, he posted the top speed during a two-day test Friday and Saturday at Rockingham (N.C.) Speedway. Speed turned a fast lap at 144.335 mph in the Eddie Sharp Racing Red Bull Toyota. It was his second trip to the high-banked, nasty track that's known for munching rubber at an alarming rate. But it sounds as if Speed already has a handle on priority No. 1 - tire management. "The tires go away in a hurry," Speed said. "They lose grip right away, so the drivers that manage their tires the most effectively will be the guys you'll see up front. You've got to slow yourself down as the tires lose grip." The Carolina 500 goes green May 4.

-credit: rbr

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup , NASCAR Truck
Drivers Mike Skinner , Scott Speed , Brian Vickers
Teams Red Bull Racing