Crew Chief Club at the Goody's Body Pain 500 Event: Goody's Body Pain 500 When: Sun., April 18 at 1 p.m. EDT on ESPN Where: Martinsville (Va.) Speedway (.526-mile oval) Together, Jimmy Makar, Larry McReynolds, Todd Parrott and Robin...
Crew Chief Club at the Goody's Body Pain 500
Event: Goody's Body Pain 500 When: Sun., April 18 at 1 p.m. EDT on ESPN Where: Martinsville (Va.) Speedway (.526-mile oval)
Together, Jimmy Makar, Larry McReynolds, Todd Parrott and Robin Pemberton have led their drivers to 66 wins, 363 top-five finishes, 579 top-10 finishes and 68 poles prior to this Sunday's Goody's Body Pain 500 at Martinsville Speedway.
Pemberton and Rusty Wallace hold the race record in the spring event at Martinsville Speedway. Wallace finished the race in 3 hours, 13 minutes and 50 seconds on April 21, 1996.
The Crew Chief Club has two wins and four poles in the spring event at Martinsville Speedway. The wins were provided by Pemberton and Wallace in 1996 and 1995. The poles were provided by Makar and Bobby Labonte in 1995, Pemberton and Mark Martin in 1991, McReynolds and Ricky Rudd in 1988 and McReynolds and Morgan Shepherd in 1987.
In last year's Goody's Headache Powders 500, the Crew Chief Club finished in the following order: Parrott/Jarrett Start: 23rd Finish: 3rd Status: Running McReynolds/Earnhardt Start: 31st Finish: 4th Status: Running Pemberton/Wallace Start: 2nd Finish: 6th Status: Running Makar/Labonte Start: 10th Finish: 15th Status: Running
HOW DO YOU GET YOUR DRIVER MENTALLY AND PHYSICALLY PREPARED FOR A PLACE LIKE MARTINSVILLE?
Jimmy Makar - Interstate Batteries Pontiac of Bobby Labonte - "Attitude is one thing in preparing for Martinsville. When you anticipate 500 laps there, everything is critical. Traffic is hard. You have to race someone every lap, whether it be lapped traffic or to pass for position. The driver's mental attitude is very important. You have to make sure that you don't have small problems with the race car. Be sure your breaks are good and the car is driving well. A lot of stuff is easier said than done, but if there is one little thing that could aggravate you during 500 laps at Martinsville, it will and it will get to the driver. Having a car that's well prepared is key, and talking to your driver during the race is a big deal. Martinsville is a place where you have to race the race track and save your race car. Don't abuse it, stay out of trouble and keep the fenders on it. Block everything else out and run your own race."
Larry McReynolds - Lowe's Home Improvement Chevrolet of Mike Skinner - "Martinsville is one of the longest short track races we run because it's 500 laps. I know we just came off of a 500-lap race at Bristol(Tenn.), but the laps at Martinsville seem to take longer. Sure, Bristol is hard on you physically, but Martinsville is just as hard if not harder. It gets so hot in those race cars at Martinsville because of the brake heat. There's just no air circulating in the car. You have to get on your driver early in the week, tell him to start getting ready for Sunday today, and it's only Tuesday or Wednesday. We've seen a lot of guys at Martinsville, even those that won, have to be poured out of their car after the race. The big key at Martinsville is patience. In most cases, the driver can slow the car down and go faster. Martinsville is a track that's easy to overdrive the entrance to the corner, use your equipment up and not run as fast while you're doing it."
Todd Parrott - Ford Quality Care Service/Ford Credit Ford of Dale Jarrett - "Physically, I hope Dale is already prepared for the endurance it takes to run Martinsville. Mentally, we had a good run the last race we were there. I think we had a car capable of winning the race. Hopefully, he's got a different attitude going into Martinsville this time, we're taking the same car as the last race and I feel really good about our chances."
Robin Pemberton - Miller Lite Ford of Rusty Wallace -"In my case, going to Martinsville is the easiest thing to do with Rusty Wallace. He enjoys that race track. The biggest problem there is brake management, as far as equipment on the car goes. But mostly at Martinsville, it's keeping the gear cool, keeping the brakes cool and, under close contact with other automobiles, keeping the driver's head cool."
WITH ALL THE CHANGES AND GROWTH TO THE SPORT, DO YOU THINK SHORT TRACKS WILL EVENTUALLY DISAPPEAR FROM THE WINTON CUP SCHEDULE?
Jimmy Makar: "As the sport grows, I can see short tracks disappearing from the schedule, but not how far into the future. The numbers of people that want to attend the races and the costs of racing and everything else, unfortunately may eliminate the smaller tracks that can't fit the people into the track that big ones can. Purses have to go up, and if you don't have fans in the stands, they can't go up. I see some short tracks going away, but I don't think they all will. It depends on how each track changes with the times. There are some tracks now that are changing well with the times, building grandstands and doing things to make them 21st century race tracks. People won't build half-mile race tracks anymore. When they build, they're going to build a race track that's a mile or larger."
Larry McReynolds: "I would hope not, especially when you look at the crowd and the excitement we had at Bristol last weekend - the excitement of Bristol under the lights, the two races at Richmond under the lights and the tradition that Martinsville carries. But I don't anticipate any new tracks under a mile coming on to the circuit. When you think about Winston Cup racing, even though we're heading to venues of a mile or more and grandstands 150,000 - 175,000 strong, you can't totally forget about where it all comes from. It came from what I call Saturday night short track racing. I think it would be very cruel to our sport to abandon short track racing. Theoretically, we don't have that many true short tracks left, but I would just hate to have the history of our sport thrown by the wayside."
Todd Parrott: "Sooner or later, short tracks will have to be removed from the schedule. The demand for racing is so high that short tracks can't fit all the fans that want to be there."
Robin Pemberton: "I hope we don't lose the short tracks. They have been the backbone of racing today. In fact, it's a shame to see less and less of them. I really wish there would be more on our schedule. In fact, I wish they would build more tracks like Richmond. That would be nice. But if things have to be that way, we would surely hate to see them go away."