Jimmy Spencer has many good Martinsville memories

Jimmy Spencer's had only one really strong finish at Martinsville Speedway in more than a dozen years of NASCAR Winston Cup racing. But that hasn't clouded Spencer's view of the .526-mile oval. "Every time I pull into Martinsville, it brings...

Jimmy Spencer's had only one really strong finish at Martinsville Speedway in more than a dozen years of NASCAR Winston Cup racing.

But that hasn't clouded Spencer's view of the .526-mile oval.

"Every time I pull into Martinsville, it brings back memories of why I got into asphalt racing to begin with," said Spencer, whose best Martinsville Winston Cup finish was a third in the 1993 Old Dominion 500. "It brings back so many memories of the short tracks where I got started, where most all of the Cup drivers got started."

Spencer will get to experience those feelings all over again when the driver of the Target Dodge rolls into Martinsville Speedway for the Virginia 500, set for Sunday, April 14.

Spencer first raced at Martinsville in the late 1970s when he first switched from dirt-track racing to the NASCAR Featherlite Modified Tour. Even though he's never won a race at Martinsville, it's no wonder he likes the place. He clinched the 1986 Modified national championship at Martinsville and piled up a fist full of top-five finishes on the Virginia track.

"Martinsville's a really neat place," said Spencer. "The fans are so close to the racing. They can smell the fuel and rubber and feel the cars. And it' s a track the drivers really enjoy, too."

Spencer's 2002 season got off to a bad start ^Å he didn't make the field for the Daytona 500. But since then he's been gathering steam.

Spencer has not started outside of the top five in the last three races and ran up front in all three races. Sunday at Darlington he was about the only driver who could challenge Jeff Gordon early before getting caught up in a wreck not of his making.

Even though he has just one top-10 finish in four starts, Spencer things his team will be in good shape for the Virginia 500.

"I've had success at Martinsville and this team (Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates) has had success at Martinsville in the past. I think we can help each other a lot at Martinsville," said Spencer. "I think we'll run better and better as the season goes on."

Spencer and the rest of the Winston Cup circuit will roll into Martinsville Speedway on Friday, April 12 for MW Windows Pole Day.

The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series competitors will time trial for the Advance Auto Parts 250 at 1:30 p.m. on Friday, April 12 while qualifying for the Virginia 500 is set for 3 p.m. Tickets for qualifying are $15 for adults and children under 12 get in free.

The Craftsman Truck Series racing action begins at 2 p.m. on April 13 when the green flag waves on the Advance Auto Parts 250. Tickets for the Advance Auto 250 are $30 for adults and $5 for children ages 6-12. All seats are unreserved.

Great seats are still available for the Virginia 500 NASCAR Winston Cup race for $40 to $70 each. To purchase tickets call the speedway ticket office toll free at 877-722-3849 or order online at www.martinsvillespeedway.com.

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jeff Gordon , Jimmy Spencer , Chip Ganassi , Felix Sabates
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing