Martinsville Could Produce Eighth Different Winner

Martinsville, VA--Seven races, seven faces and an eighth different winner could pop up Sunday in the $2,168,867 Goody's Body Pain 500 NASCAR Winston Cup Series race at Martinsville Speedway. Thus far, victories have gone to Dale...

Martinsville, VA--Seven races, seven faces and an eighth different winner could pop up Sunday in the $2,168,867 Goody's Body Pain 500 NASCAR Winston Cup Series race at Martinsville Speedway. Thus far, victories have gone to Dale Jarrett, Bobby Labonte, Jeff Burton, Dale Earnhardt, Ward Burton, Rusty Wallace and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. Of those, only Burton, Earnhardt and Wallace can claim wins on this tight, demanding .526-mile track. John Andretti is the defending champion for the race while Jeff Gordon took last fall's NAPA AutoCare 500. Gordon now has gone 12 races without a top five finish. Sharing the weekend with the Winston Cup stars will be the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, which will compete in the NAPA 250. Bud Pole time trials start on Friday with the trucks determining their 36 starting positions at 1:40 p.m. and the Winston Cup locking in its top 25 at 3 p.m. There are 46 trucks entered and 47 Winston Cup cars. Mike Bliss set the truck qualifying record last year with a speed of 94.275 miles per hour while hometown favorite Jimmy Hensley of Ridgeway is the defending champion. In five races there have been five winners with Jay Sauter, Rich Bickle, Mike Skinner and Joe Ruttman also scoring. Tony Stewart holds the Goody's Body Pain 500 and track qualifying record for Winston Cup at 95.275 miles per hour. There have been six different pole winners this year and Jarrett is the only driver who has sat on the top spot twice. Wallace, Gordon, Ricky Rudd, Steve Park and Terry Labonte won the other poles. Since 1994, there have been 11 different pole winners at Martinsville with Bobby Hamilton the only driver to win two. One of the drivers hoping for a good run is Kenny Wallace in the Square D Chevrolet, who took the pole for the 1997 event and has six top ten finishes in the last ten races here. "I think the reason that this team has two top tens in its first two Martinsville races is that our team performs at another level when we compete at tracks that I've been successful at," Wallace said. "I've just had a lot of good things happen at Martinsville through the years and my team feeds off that. I've won Busch Grand National races and even grabbed the pole for a Winston Cup race. It just seems that Andy Petree Racing has given me the right equipment for Martinsville. "I have a lot of good memories at Martinsville. It put me in an elite group and it proved that I belong at this level. It gives me a lot of confidence knowing that I can get the job done on the short tracks at the Winston Cup level. I have two grandfather clocks from Busch races, which is what Martinsville gives to winners instead of a trophy. Even with those victories, the memory I'm most proud of is the Winston Cup pole. "Martinsville is one of the toughest tracks to qualify at on the Winston cup circuit. The corners are made of concrete, the straightaways are made of asphalt and that makes the tires spin out. The transition between the two surfaces is a difficult one. On top of that, the corners at Martinsville are tight because they aren't very wide. So you can see there are many variables that make Martinsville difficult to get around. Not many drivers can post consistent laps at this track." Second round Winston Cup time trials to complete the 43-car field will be held at 12:30 p.m. Saturday with the $400,037 NAPA 250 starting at 2 p.m. Sunday's Goody's Body Pain 500 takes the green flag at 1 p.m. and tickets are still available by calling (540) 956-3151 or toll free at 877-722-3849.

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , John Andretti , Rich Bickle , Ward Burton , Bobby Hamilton , Dale Jarrett , Bobby Labonte , Terry Labonte , Tony Stewart , Rusty Wallace , Steve Park , Mike Skinner , Kenny Wallace , Jay Sauter , Joe Ruttman , Jimmy Hensley , Andy Petree , Mike Bliss