Martinsville: Round six preview

* Half-mile track full-bore excitement: Martinsville offers another shot spots * Four-time series champion is seven-time winner: Gordon seeks 8th Martinsville victory DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (March 28, 2006) -- Fresh from a weekend of short-track...

* Half-mile track full-bore excitement: Martinsville offers another shot spots

* Four-time series champion is seven-time winner: Gordon seeks 8th Martinsville victory

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (March 28, 2006) -- Fresh from a weekend of short-track competition supplemented by the requisite random doses of ill will caused by close-quarters racing, it's time to do it again.

Bristol Motor Speedway's high-banked half-mile is followed by another unique challenge, the paperclip-shaped oval of Martinsville Speedway which is the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series' smallest track at .526-mile, slightly shorter than Bristol's .533.

Expect Sunday's DIRECTV 500 to be a similar exhibition, with losing a race perhaps accompanied by someone losing their cool. No one is immune, not even the normally diplomatic Jeff Gordon (No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet). That was fairly obvious at Bristol, when contact with Matt Kenseth's (No. 17 DEWALT Power Tools Ford) car in the race's closing laps prompted Gordon to initiate contact with Kenseth himself after the event. A shove from the four-time champion served as a metaphor for the inherent intensity of the series' short tracks.

"It's ironic how we go back-to-back at the short tracks and keep the excitement going," said Gordon.

"I was angry at Matt -- and I showed it. But you have to be responsible for your actions."

After the on-track contact, Gordon ended up 21st at Bristol but remains in NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Top 10, in seventh position. This week bodes well for advancement in the standings; Gordon won both of last year's Martinsville races and has seven victories there in his career -- the best Martinsville win total among active drivers and the third-best total

-nascar

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Jeff Gordon , Matt Kenseth