Chase nuggets at Martinsville

Up Next: Martinsville Fast Facts: Top 10 at Martinsville Jeff Burton has one win Matt Kenseth has scored only three top 10s Kevin Harvick has three top-10s in 10 starts Mark Martin has two victories Dale Earnhardt, Jr. has six top-five and six...

Up Next: Martinsville

Fast Facts: Top 10 at Martinsville
Jeff Burton has one win
Matt Kenseth has scored only three top 10s
Kevin Harvick has three top-10s in 10 starts
Mark Martin has two victories
Dale Earnhardt, Jr. has six top-five and six top-10s finishes in 13 starts
Denny Hamlin has two-career Cup starts with one top-10
Jimmie Johnson has one victory and eight consecutive top-10s
Kasey Kahne has one top-10 in five races
Kyle Busch has two top-10s in three races
Jeff Gordon is a seven-time winner

Where they are starting, what they're saying:

1. Jeff Burton: (Leader)
Qualified: 28th

"This track is always a huge challenge," said Burton. "I think it's one of the hardest race tracks we run on all year with typically a one groove race track. It's very difficult to be patient here. (There's) a lot of tremendously good competition. I think it's one of the biggest challenges of the year. It's also a physically demanding race. I think a lot of people don't understand that actually the smaller the race track the more physically demanding it is.

"This race lasts forever. It seems like it's one of the longest races of the year. We got into it with really high hopes. We're excited about it. At the same time we have a tremendous amount of respect for how difficult it is. But I do consider it one of my hometown tracks and I take a lot of pride in being from Virginia so I look forward to the race."

"I stalled the car leaving the pits and went a lap down and had to fight to get it back," explained Burton. "We got back by the 9 car and we were able to do it..I feel pretty bad that I stalled it leaving the pits but it was a good night."

2. Matt Kenseth: (-45)
Qualified: 20th

"Martinsville is one of our tougher tracks and it hasn't been too kind to us for sure," said Kenseth. "I'm just not a big fan, mostly because it's so slow and there's no room to pass. Racing at Martinsville is kind of like racing around two cones out in a parking lot somewhere. That being said, we have to stay focused on the job at hand and that is trying to score a top- 10 finish this weekend. This is the race that I knew would be the toughest for us going into the Chase. Some people point to Talladega, but I've always pointed to Martinsville as the real wild card for us. If we can get a good finish this weekend I think we'll be in good position to make a run at the title, because we've had success at the remaining tracks."

3. Kevin Harvick: (-89)
Qualified: 12th

"I think just keeping your track position is the most important thing," Harvick commented of the race this weekend. "Trying to position yourself for the lap 100 laps to do what you need to do. Keep the fenders on it, be somewhere near the front with 100 laps to go. We haven't done anything different. We always run pretty good here. We are ready to go."

4. Mark Martin: (-102)
Qualified: 25th

"It's pretty much no secret that I don't care much for racing at Martinsville, but that seems to have little to do with success, as they keep reminding me that I have a pretty good record there," Martin said. "I love Pocono and have never won there, so I guess it doesn't matter that much if you love a track or not. Martinsville can be physically demanding and a lot of times you leave there feeling really worn down. Martinsville has always been a real challenge for me, because in the end, it just doesn't fit with my driving style. But, we ran okay there in the spring and we like the car we are taking back this time."

5. Dale Earnhardt, Jr.: (-106)
Qualified: Seventh

"It's a tough little ol' track, because you can never get away from anybody," said Earnhardt, Jr. when asked about Martinsville. "There's always someone to race, whether it's a lap-down car or for position. We need to qualify a little better than we did last time so we don't get caught up in some crashes. I think the last three times we've been there, the best we've started was 20th. But we're taking a good car. It's the one we finished fourth with at Martinsville last time, so we should be able to race like hell and give 'em a show!"

6. Denny Hamlin: (-137)
Qualified: Third

"It would mean a lot (to win here)," said Virginia native Hamlin. "A lot of the time under my pit suit I have my Virginia.sweatshirt on. This is a place that I love to come too.I feel comfortable here and I feel fairly confident. I hope we can come away with a top five."

7. Jimmie Johnson: (-146)
Qualified: Ninth

"You can get turned around, you can cut a tire and end up on pit road from just some light contact you will lose two or three laps on the race track," explained Johnson. "This can definitely be a wild card race. I know coming in to this race in the past when I was closer to the points lead, I was really nervous and worried about things here. This year, where we are, I am kind of excited coming in here; don't have as much to lose. I am kind of far out of this thing but the luck may swing our direction. I have a suspicion about that for some reason."

8. Kasey Kahne: (-160)
Qualified: 32nd

"I think it could be for sure," Kahne responded when asked if Martinsville could be his break out track. "It's a short track. Lots of things can happen. Cars can spin. You can get close together and get caught up in other wrecks and get a lap down. So many cars are a lap down it's hard to get Lucky Dogs compared to some of the other race tracks. It should be interesting. I'm pretty excited. I think it's a great track for us to gain some points if we come out and do everything right and have a good run like we did in the spring. We were having a great run.

"I think if we do all that stuff we can hopefully gain a lot of points and just have a good race. If Burton is up front, if Junior is up front, Mark Martin and all those guys then hopefully we are, too, and don't lose any points. We're right there. We're on the outside, but we can still make it if we get close to the front."

9. Kyle Busch: (-195)
Qualified: 15th

"Any one who is in the top-10 will be fine there (at Martinsville)," said Busch. "Jeff is always good there, Harvick, Burton are always good there. We are decent. Junior is always good there. It will be a tough day, again. Everyone that is in the top-10 runs well everywhere at these last 10 or have this year. If you were racing two or three guys for the championship like what happened in 1992, five races to go Allen KulwIcki came from 250 points back, but he was racing two other guys. It is too hard to race nine other guys."

10. Jeff Gordon: (-216)
Qualified: Second

"Well, we're certainly going to make as much of a comeback as we are capable of," said Gordon. "You know, obviously it's been disappointing the last three races to have the problems that we've had. You know, our goals are to go into these last five races just giving it everything we've got to win races and get as high up in the points as possible. "The likelihood of having seven, eight guys in front of us have problems to get us back into the Chase I think is very unlikely. So we're kind of more relaxed now where we're just going out there to win. Martinsville is a great place for us to do that."

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Jeff Burton , Jeff Gordon , Matt Kenseth , Kevin Harvick , Jimmie Johnson , Kasey Kahne , Denny Hamlin , Kyle Busch , Mark Martin