Martinsville, VA--- Like a man strolling virtually untouched through a barroom brawl, Mark Martin made it eight faces in eight races this season by taking the appropriately named $2,187,168 Goody's Body Pain 500 NASCAR Winston Cup race Sunday at...
Martinsville, VA--- Like a man strolling virtually untouched through a barroom brawl, Mark Martin made it eight faces in eight races this season by taking the appropriately named $2,187,168 Goody's Body Pain 500 NASCAR Winston Cup race Sunday at Martinsville Speedway.
Driving the Valvoline Ford, Martin stayed on the track while the leaders pitted, took the lead with 64 laps to go and finished 1.5 seconds in front of Jeff Burton in the Exide Batteries Ford.
Michael Waltrip was third in the Nations Rent Chevrolet, Jeff Gordon fourth in the DuPont Automotive Chevrolet and Dale Jarrett fifth in the Quality Care Ford.
"We were so bad in practice we went to Jeff Burton's team and asked for help," Martin said. "The whole Valvoline team deserved to win a race. There was no question we were staying out because we had actually pitted when the other guys hadn't hoping to get fresh tires or something because we didn't run that good.
"Once I got into the lead, I ran like a dog and nobody came," Martin, who scored his second Winston Cup win here, said. "It feels like the biggest win of my career. The Valvoline team needed to win and deserved to win a race and it feels good to win."
Burton said he had nothing for Martin at the end. "Me finishing second today is a borderline felony," he laughed. ""We didn't deserve it. There was no way I could catch him. I was running as hard as I could and he was pulling away."
The typical Martinsville race had more bumping and grinding than a nighclub act. There was an event record 17 caution flags for 112 laps but the only thing hurt on the tight .526-mile track was sheet metal and feelings.
"Martinsville is always weird," Burton said. "The competition is so close that bumping will happen but it's not intentional." The wild race kept the record crowd of 84,000 on its feet much of the day.
Heartbreak of the day had to go to Rusty Wallace, who was making his 500th Winston Cup start. He put the Miller Lite Ford on the pole, dominated the race by leading 343 of the 500 laps on five occasions and once came from two laps down back to the lead.
He was forced to make a late pit stop, giving Martin the lead, and came back buried 14th in the field. With 38 cars still on the track, he never was a factor again. "I really thought we needed to put tires on to get position and go," Wallace said. "I didn't think a bunch of them would just stay out like they did.
"I got behind, my car pushed, and I just couldn't get around them. Track position is everything in the world nowadays and we should have just stayed out."
Martin led the last 64 laps, Dale Earnhardt 42, Ken Schrader 23, Mike Skinner ten, Bobby Labonte nine, Ward Burton eight and Michael Waltrip one as the lead was swapped 14 times.
Martin, who won $104,650, joins Wallace, Jarrett, Bobby Labonte, Burton, Ward Burton, Earnhardt and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. in the victory column this year. He now has 1,210 points and is second to Bobby Labonte's 1,246 in the Winston Cup championship battle as the tour moves to Talladega Super Speedway next weekend.
On Monday, Mike Wallace will be on the pole for the $400,037 NAPA 250 NASCAR Craftsman Truck series race at 11 a.m. this was rained out Saturday. He has won two of the four truck races this season and leads in money won with $164,850.
Joe Ruttman, who will start sixth in the DANA Corporation Dodge, is fifth in the standings and has one victory this season while the other win was taken by Andy Houston who will start tenth.
"With the concrete in the turns here, the rain delay shouldn't have that much of an effect," he said. "After 30 or 40 laps Monday everything should be fine. And after the Winston Cup race there should be plenty of rubber down for us on the track."
This is the third time in series history that a race has been delayed by rain. The last time a truck race was delayed at Martinsville was in 1995 and Ruttman won it on Monday.
On the outside pole Monday will be Winston Cup driver Bobby Hamilton at 92.452 miles per hour followed by Rick Carroll, Jack Sprague and Scott Riggs. Carlos Contreras of Mexico City, making his debut here, qualified 17th with Winston Cup driver Ken Schrader going 20th and defending champion Jimmy Hensley 21st.
Tickets for Monday's truck race are $30 for adults, $5 for children 6-12, are unreserved and may be purchased at the ticket office.