O CLIPE DE PAPEL (THE PAPERCLIP): This weekend, Nelson Piquet Jr. will once again encounter a track that he's never competed at before, the paperclip-shaped Martinsville (Va.) Speedway. The 0.526-mile oval is the shortest track Piquet Jr. will face all season, in addition to being one of the flattest with 0-degree straightaways and 11-degree turns. It is also the only track that features a combination of asphalt straights and concrete corners.
WINNER WINNER, CHICKEN DINNER: Kevin Harvick Inc. (KHI) enters Martinsville Speedway knowing exactly how to get to victory lane. The team swept the two Martinsville Races in 2010, with KHI co-owner Kevin Harvick dominating the spring race in the No. 2 truck, leading 187 of 250 laps before taking the checkered flag. After being runner up in the spring race, Ron Hornaday took home the grandfather clock trophy last fall in the No. 33 truck in his 17th career attempt at the track.
CHASSIS HISTORY: The No. 8 team will utilize chassis No. 049 this weekend at Martinsville Speedway. Chassis No. 49 was driven to a third-place finish by Harvick in its on-track debut at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in September of 2010. The truck was most recently raced by Harvick at the fall race at Martinsville, where he finished 15th following early-race brake issues.
PREVIOUS RACE RECAP: Two weeks ago, Nelson Piquet Jr. came into the weekend at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway with the goal of building and improving upon his top-15 finish at Phoenix International Raceway. Unfortunately, like many other trucks in the Too Tough to Tame 200, the No. 8 Chevrolet Silverado fell victim to the 'Lady in Black's' precarious personality, resulting in a 32nd-place finish for the young rookie driver.
THOUGHTS FROM THE DRIVER: Nelson Piquet Jr.
How do you feel going into the race at Martinsville Speedway?
"It's one of those races where you can finish quite well, but there's always the chance something can go very wrong, It's one of those tracks where everyone is bumping and banging all the time. You have to be smart and have a truck that's quick, but that isn't all it takes to finish in the top five. In Martinsville, you can be racing well and someone can come and tap you and ruin your day, so you have to have a bit of luck on your side too. It has the potential to be a very good race, but it also can be very frustrating."
THOUGHTS FROM THE PIT BOX: Chris Carrier
What are the major characteristics of Martinsville Speedway?
"The track is very flat, there's almost no banking. It's pure short-track racing. You need brakes that can stop the truck but will still last the entire race, it's a delicate balance. Qualifying is a challenge because it's almost impossible to get enough heat in your tires and brakes in the few laps you're given."
What are the keys to success at Martinsville?
"You hear it all the time: 'Be patient, try to take care of your stuff.' It's going to be a lot of beating and banging, a lot of bent fenders, bent bumpers and hot tempers. You just have to persevere through it. You've got to be bigger than the challenge."
- source: khi