Martinsville, VA---Martinsville Speedway's "curse" of pitting on the backstretch will become a thing of the past in 1999. With 22 pits on the frontstretch, drivers using the 21 on the backstretch always said they had no chance of winning on the...
Martinsville, VA---Martinsville Speedway's "curse" of pitting on the backstretch will become a thing of the past in 1999.
With 22 pits on the frontstretch, drivers using the 21 on the backstretch always said they had no chance of winning on the .526-mile track.
And, apparently, their comments were correct. Lee Petty won the 1959 Virginia 500 from the 24th starting position, the farthest back a driver has started and won at Martinsville. In the modern era, since 1972, the farthest back that the winner has started was 20th, when Darrell Waltrip won the 1988 Goody's 500. At that time, there were 16 pits stalls on the frontstretch.
Speedway President W. Clay Campbell plans to take care of that. "We are going to move all 43 of our pits to the frontstretch," Campbell said, "so all the drivers, as far as pits, will have an equal chance.
"We will do it before the Goody's Body Pain 500 and NAPA 250 weekend in April," Campbell said. "Work should begin anytime on the project."
Drivers will now enter pit road in the third turn and exit pit road in the second turn, according to Campbell. Pit stalls will begin between turns three and four and end in turn one. A new inside wall will have to be constructed and the existing acceleration lanes widened to make the new pit area. The grass areas in the infield also will be paved.
"We feel this will alleviate the disadvantage drivers experience when pitting at short tracks and some other facilities that have two pit roads," he said. "Qualifying is tough here at Martinsville and often some of the top drivers end up in the backstretch pits. It won't happen anymore."
Martinsville still has great seats for the 1999 Winston Cup season. There are seats in the towers and concrete bleacher sections for both the Goody's Body Pain 500 on Sunday, April 18 and the NAPA AutoCare 500 on Sunday, October 3. Reserved seats for each Winston Cup race are $40 to $60 each. Tickets can be purchased by calling (540) 956-3151 or on the Internet at www.martinsvillespeedway.com.