NASCAR Busch Series returns to Martinsville for the first time since 1994 DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (July 18, 2006) -- It's fitting that the NASCAR Busch Series makes its return to Martinsville Speedway -- the shortest track on the schedule at ...
NASCAR Busch Series returns to Martinsville for the first time since 1994
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (July 18, 2006) -- It's fitting that the NASCAR Busch Series makes its return to Martinsville Speedway -- the shortest track on the schedule at .526-mile -- in its 25th anniversary season.
The series was built on short-track racing, and its legends -- many of them former winners at Martinsville during the first 33 races held between the inaugural event in 1982 won by Sam Ard and the last race in October 1994 captured by Kenny Wallace (No. 22 AutoZone Ford) -- have proudly hammered that very point home.
"Probably my favorite track was Martinsville, without a doubt," said Tommy Ellis, the 1988 NASCAR Busch Series champion who won two races there. "I always looked forward to going there. I just liked the race track. It was made for me. It was just a big old short track."
"On the short tracks, technology didn't matter," said Chuck Bown, who won the series championship in 1990 and was victorious at Martinsville in 1993. "You had to drive it and get it handling [properly]."
"It's very exciting to get back to one of the most historic tracks in NASCAR," said David Green (No. 27 Kleenex Ford), the 1994 series champion who won the Busch Pole and finished second to Wallace in the last race at Martinsville. "[It's] the true short track of NASCAR and now we finally have it back on our schedule."
A decade after Wallace's win, the thrill of racing on a short track is evident even in some of the youngest competitors, many of whom were in elementary school when Wallace won in the fall of 1994.
"I've been waiting for this weekend all year," said 28-year-old Mark McFarland (No. 88 U.S. NAVY Chevrolet), a native of Winchester, Va.
"Martinsville is where I have the most experience of all the tracks we go to in the NASCAR Busch Series. I should have a pretty good advantage because the [NASCAR] Busch cars haven't been there in a while and I've logged a ton of laps at Martinsville.
"I think all of my Late Model experience will help us out a bunch this weekend. I've raced there so many times and come pretty close to winning."
" It's going to be a good place to go back to. It's the roots of the NASCAR Busch Series, really," said Kyle Busch (No. 5 Lowe's Chevrolet), sounding older than his 21 years.
"I think most of the guys have probably raced their Late Models, trucks or [NASCAR NEXTEL] Cup cars at Martinsville at one time or another," said series points leader and 2001 champion Kevin Harvick (No. 29 U.S. Coast Guard Chevrolet). "We also have an open practice session on Thursday (Noon -- 7 p.m.) that should help everyone. Come race time, everyone should be used to the track."