Martinsville II: Dodge Motorsports preview

DODGE AT MARTINSVILLE SPEEDSWAY * The last Dodge victory at Martinsville Speedway came in the 2004 spring event with Rusty Wallace taking the win. * Dodge has 10 wins at Martinsville including three sweeps (1953, 1956 and ...


* The last Dodge victory at Martinsville Speedway came in the 2004 spring event with Rusty Wallace taking the win.

* Dodge has 10 wins at Martinsville including three sweeps (1953, 1956 and 1975).

* Dodge drivers with wins at Martinsville include Lee Petty, Jim Paschal, Buck Baker, Jack Smith, Bobby Isaac, Richard Petty, Dave Marcis and Rusty Wallace.

* Eight of the 11 Dodge drivers entered in Sunday's race are in the top 35 and guaranteed a starting spot. The three drivers that must qualify for the race on speed are Chad McCumbee (No. 45), Sam Hornish Jr. (No. 77) and A.J. Allmendinger (No. 10)

*         Kurt Busch and Bobby Labonte had wins at Martinsville before
they joined the Dodge Motorsports family.  Busch swept both races in
2003.  Labonte won the spring race in 2002.


* Kasey Kahne recorded the 200th win by Dodge in the Sprint Cup Series with his victory in the Pocono 500 at Pocono Raceway earlier this year.

* Kurt Bush gave Dodge its last Sprint Cup victory when he won the LENOX Industrial 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in June.

* A.J. Allmendinger will replace Patrick Carpentier in the No. 10 Dodge Charger from Gillett Evernham Motorsports this weekend at Martinsville Speedway.

* The Dodge R6P8 engine made its NASCAR Sprint Cup Series debut at Kansas Speedway in the No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger driven by Kurt Busch. The R6P8 also powered Busch to his third-place finish at Lowe's Motor Speedway last weekend. Penske Racing and other Dodge teams are expected to use the engine at other events this year. These are steps toward full implementation in 2009, well ahead of the 2010 NASCAR mandate.

* Kurt Busch won the 2002 fall race at Martinsville from the 36th starting position, the furthest back a race winner has started.

* Kurt Busch, Ryan Newman and Bobby Labonte have all earned a pole position at Martinsville Speedway.


* Martinsville Speedway opened in 1947, before NASCAR was first organized, as a dirt track with 750 seats.

* Martinsville Speedway is the only track among those originally sanctioned when NASCAR was formed that continues to host races in the series.

* The track was paved in 1955.

* Starting up front at the .526-mile track is definitely an advantage. The winner has started from the front row 32 times in 119 events, 17 from the pole.

* Only 29 of the 119 previous races have been won from a starting position outside the top 10 and only five from outside the top 20.

* Richard Petty has 15 wins at Martinsville, four more than Darrell Waltrip in second.

* Petty Enterprises has won 19 races at Martinsville, more than any other organization.


* Sam Hornish Jr. -- The three-time IndyCar Series champion and 2006 Indy 500 winner is three points out of first place in the Raybestos Rookie of the Year standings. Hornish has qualified for 30 of 31 Sprint Cup races of the season. Hornish finished 13th at the Coca-Cola 600, his best finish of the season in Sprint Cup competition. Hornish Jr. finished 28th in his first-career start earlier this season at Martinsville.


* Juan Pablo Montoya was the Raybestos® Rookie of the Race in the 2007 TUMS QuikPak 500. Montoya scored an eighth-place finish in the race and led the event once for nine laps. He was the only rookie driver to finish inside the top-10.

* Martinsville Speedway is the shortest track currently on the NASCAR Sprint Cup schedule. A .526-mile track, Martinsville has 12 degrees of banking in the turns and no banking on the straights. Bristol Motor Speedway is a .533-mile track.

*         There has been no races run caution free at Martinsville --
three with only one caution.  The most recent was 1971.


What are the restarts like at Martinsville Speedway? "The place is about as tough as they come. When you head down into Turn 1 with a fresh set tires, your car doesn't grip as good as it does at most places. It takes like five or six laps for the tires to really reach the optimum temperature. You're sliding around - grabbing gears on a restart -- lapped cars sometimes have fresher tires than you do. On this track you really have to absorb a lot on those restarts."
    Kurt Busch -- Driver, No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger

On Martinsville: "We've had a few races this year where we feel like a good finish either slipped away or was taken away. Martinsville was definitely one of those. We had worked our way up to third place and had the track position game in our favor, but we got caught up in a wreck that was the product of hard, short track racing. It didn't end our day, but it took away any shot we had at winning. One thing about racing is that redemption can be a motivator. We want redemption this weekend and hopefully that translates into a win.

"Every time we would come to Martinsville everyone paid special attention to their brake packages. Big pads, big rotors and special cooling. Then you had to hope that would be enough for your brakes to last all day. Now that the equipment has become so much better we don't see brake failures like we used to at Martinsville. But we do see a lot of right front tire issues that can be attributed to the brakes. The heat melts the bead of the tire and leads to a lot of failures."
    Bobby Labonte -- Driver, No. 43 Cheerios/Betty Crocker Dodge Charger

On reaching the half-way point of the Chase: "The last couple weeks we have been racing to some of our best finishes all year. If you look at our finishes since the Chase started you'd see that of the non-Chase guys we are consistently turning in some of the best finishes each week. We are focusing on winning, but we are in a position that we can take some chances down the stretch. We can try new things that could help us for 2009 and really use each week to test something new to find out what this car is capable of heading into next season. We are still racing for wins each week, but we also have the luxury of taking chances to get ahead that some of the other teams can't right now because they are racing for points."
    Elliott Sadler -- Driver, No. 19 Best Buy Dodge Charger

On racing in Virginia: "Racing in Virginia is something that I really enjoy. The Virginia tracks hold a special place in my heart. Martinsville and Richmond are both tracks that I visited with my family growing up. When I was a kid we would come out here and watch the races and cheer for our favorite drivers. Now it's pretty cool to think that I'm one of the people fortunate enough to be able to race at the highest level of our sport in front the fans. I used to be one of those fans sitting in the stands."
    Elliott Sadler -- Driver, No. 19 Best Buy Dodge Charger

What are your thoughts on racing at Martinsville this weekend? "I haven't had the best luck racing there in the past, but Kenny (Francis, crew chief) has given me very competitive racecars this year and I'm looking forward to leaving Martinsville with a solid finish. Martinsville is definitely a challenging race -- 500 laps in heavy traffic from start to finish. Patience is essential, but you still have to be aggressive to stay up front. It's typical short-track racing."
    Kasey Kahne -- Driver, No. 9 Budweiser Dodge Charger

On Martinsville Speedway: "The biggest challenge of Martinsville Speedway is not overdriving and getting into the corners too deep. If you do that, then you give up a lot of time on corner exit. It's a Karate Kid approach to driving. You try to be fluid and avoid any sudden movements. This team has made substantial improvements to its short track program over the course of this season. I've heard that it's like a light switch at Martinsville when you finally understand the nuances of the track. It just clicks for you. I'm hoping that happens for us this "
    Sam Hornish Jr. -- Driver, No. 77 Mobil 1 Dodge Charger

On Martinsville: "I always look forward to short track racing because that's what I grew up on. The Allison Legacy Series and late model stock racing at Myrtle Beach (S.C.) Speedway did a lot to prepare me for this weekend. And I have a lot of experience in the truck series at Martinsville. It's not going to be an easy weekend. I know a lot of guys struggle in their first cup race at Martinsville, but I believe that I have enough experience, and a good enough team, to run well on Sunday."
    Chad McCumbee -- Driver, No. 45 Marathon American Spirit Motor Oil Dodge Charger

Racing at Martinsville: "A lot of people like to compare racing at Martinsville to the tracks that I grew up racing on, and I definitely see similarities. It's a great short track that I have really enjoyed racing on in my career. Like any short track, the key to Martinsville is patience. You have to be patient maneuvering the car around the track and through the tight corners. At Martinsville, the brake pedal is just as important as the gas pedal. And most importantly, you do not want to go a lap down. We struggled with the handling of our car at Martinsville in the spring, and we really want to go back there with a better package."
    Ryan Newman -- Driver, No. 12 Alltel Dodge Charger

Qualifying at Martinsville: "Traditionally, we have qualified well at Martinsville, which is important. You want to qualify in the top 10 or top 15. This is a short track and it is easy to get down a lap if you are in the back, which is something that you don't want. But it is also important to qualify well because of the pit selection for the race. That can be critical since the stalls are so small."
    Ryan Newman -- Driver, No. 12 Alltel Dodge Charger

On Martinsville: "Martinsville is a cool little racetrack. It's one of those places that has so much history you can't help but look forward to going there. When I think of some of the names that raced at that place, I still get excited.

"But it's not all fun and games either. Martinsville is tough, really tough. It can humble you real quick. One of the keys there is to have a car that rotates well through the center of the corner. Then get back on the gas as soon as possible to carry speed down the straightaways. If you can qualify well, roll the center and maintain track position, you might have a shot at victory."
    A.J. Allmendinger -- Driver No. 10 Two Truck in a Box Dodge Charger

-credit: dodge motorsports

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Juan Pablo Montoya
Teams Team Penske