Martinsville Home Depot Team Preview

NAPA AutoCare 500 Martinsville Speedway - .526-mile oval Race 28 of 34 - NASCAR Winston Cup Series October 1-3, 1999 Race time: Sunday, October 3, 1999, 1 p.m. EDT Live television coverage: ESPN, Live radio coverage: MRN Tony Stewart and the ...

NAPA AutoCare 500 Martinsville Speedway - .526-mile oval Race 28 of 34 - NASCAR Winston Cup Series October 1-3, 1999 Race time: Sunday, October 3, 1999, 1 p.m. EDT Live television coverage: ESPN, Live radio coverage: MRN

Tony Stewart and the #20 Home Depot Racing Team head to Martinsville, Va., for the NAPA AutoCare 500 after finishing a solid second at Dover and earning the 10th top-five finish of his rookie year.

Last April, just eight races into the 1999 season, Stewart became the first NASCAR rookie at Martinsville Speedway's 40-plus year history to sit on the pole when he set a qualifying record of 95.275 mph. Though Stewart started up front, he got caught in an incident on lap 267 and finished 20th, one of only three races that he has finished outside of the top 15 this year.

Since the start of the second half of the 1999 season, Stewart and the #20 team have finished outside the top 10 only once. Stewart has completed 7,442 laps out of the possible 7,813, the most of any driver. Stewart moved into the top 10 in points after the first Martinsville race and moved into the top five following the Charlotte race. He is currently fourth in the overall point standings and well on his way to becoming the first rookie since 1966 to finish the season in the top five. Stewart has led 13 races and his finishing average in the last five races is 4.4, better than any driver currently in the top five.

Home Depot and Habitat for Humanity: The Home Depot has launched an unprecedented philanthropic initiative tied to its NASCAR sponsorship to benefit Habitat for Humanity International. Through the sale of commemorative merchandise, the program's goal is to raise funds - expected to be at least $4 million - to build more than 100 houses throughout North America. Stewart also will run a special Habitat for Humanity paint scheme during the Oct. 10 UAW-GM Quality 500 in Charlotte.

As part of the special program, Habitat for Humanity representatives and homeowners in Richmond, Va., Loudon, N.H., Dover, Del., and Martinsville, Va., will be invited to attend races in their local markets. This week, Martinsville representative Kevin Campbell and his family will be guests of NASCAR and the #20 Home Depot team for the NAPA Autocare 500.

Tony Stewart, Driver -- (Fourth in standings with 3,858 points) On Returning to Martinsville: "The brake rotors get so hot at Martinsville that you could almost run a night race from the glow alone. It's a tough little track that keeps you on your toes the whole race. Brake and tire management are key. It takes a lot of concentration to run the Home Depot Pontiac down the straight as fast as it can go, then come to an almost complete stop to turn left.

"A 500-lap race at Martinsville is one of the most physically and mentally demanding races we run. There's no room for error. If you make a mistake, it not only takes you out, but usually four or five other cars as well. We need to avoid the wrecks, take care of our equipment and get a good finish."

#20 Home Depot Team 1999 Winston Cup Stats

STARTS POLES WINS TOP 5 TOP 10 TOP 15 MONEY WON 27 2 1 10 18 24 $1,933,021

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Tony Stewart