Martinsville II: GM Racing Saturday bullet points

Tony Stewart won last week's UAW-GM Quality 500 at Lowe's Motor Speedway, clinching Chevrolet's 23rd NASCAR Manufacturers' Championship of the modern era (since 1972) in the process. It was the 27th for Chevrolet since 1952 and the 34th for...

Tony Stewart won last week's UAW-GM Quality 500 at Lowe's Motor Speedway, clinching Chevrolet's 23rd NASCAR Manufacturers' Championship of the modern era (since 1972) in the process. It was the 27th for Chevrolet since 1952 and the 34th for General Motors in that span.

Twice as Good--

Chevrolet has won 30 races in the modern era here at Martinsville, more than twice as many as the nearest manufacturer. Adding Pontiac's six victories and two by Buick, GM Racing has won 38 of the 63 races here at Martinsville, a startling .603 winning percentage.

He's The Man

In the last 12 races here, there have been 11 different winners. The lone repeater? Jeff Gordon, who sits on the pole for Sunday's Subway 500, won the fall race in 1999 and the spring race here this year. For the second straight week, a Chevrolet driver will attempt a season sweep. Jimmie Johnson came up just short last week at Lowe's, finishing third.

Martinsville Quick Shots

---With four races left, Kevin Harvick has to make up 267 points on leader Matt Kenseth to win the championship. 259 points to make up on Matt Kenseth. That means he needs to outpoint leader Matt Kenseth by an average of 53.4 points per race. Kenseth rebounded after losing more than 40 percent of his once-massive lead, finishing ninth at Lowe's.

--Seven Chevrolet drivers are in the top 10 in series points after 31 races, and eight of the top 11. Nine driver have at least one victory, while Jimmie Johnson (3), Michael Waltrip (2), Robby Gordon (2) and Stewart (2) have multiple victories. GM Racing machines have won 16 of the 31 races so far this season, exceeding last year's total for victories. Chevrolet has 15 victories and Pontiac has one.

--Both Stewart and Jeff Gordon are on a king-sized roll of late. Stewart has finished third, third, fourth and first in the last four races, while Gordon has finished fifth in the last four.

--Chevrolet has led at least one lap in every race this season.

--Jimmie Johnson, the only driver to have been in the top 10 in points all season, is currently working a streak of 63 consecutive races in the top 10. He is currently fifth.

--Jeff Gordon won the last three Bud Poles at Martinsville for the spring race, but until Friday, he had never won one for the fall event here.

--Bobby Labonte is the only driver to have three top-five finishes in the five short-track races run this year. He has also scored more points than any other driver over the last 25 short-track events. In that span, he has 16 top-10 finishes and an average finish of 11th.

--Of the top five drivers in the current point standings, Dale Earnhardt Jr. has the best average finish at Martinsville. Junior's 16.0 is better than point leader Kenseth (20.0) and second-place Harvick (25.8), much better than fourth-place Ryan Newman's 31.3 and slightly better than fifth-place Jimmie Johnson's 16.7.

--Jeff Gordon has led 14 percent of the 8,871 laps run this season, more than any other driver. He also has 23 top-10 starts in 32 races, tied with Newman for the best in the series.

--Johnny Benson, who will start 25th Sunday, was second to Kurt Busch in last year's fall race at Martinsville, trailing the winner by .460 seconds. He led 16 laps in the Valvoline Pontiac, losing the lead to Busch with 90 laps remaining.

Racing Around

--The General Motors Chevrolet Corvette Racing team secured a position on the second row of the GTS grid during qualifying on Friday before Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta. Chevrolet factory drivers Oliver Gavin, Kelly Collins and Andy Pilgrim will start today's race from the fourth position in the GTS class, 16th overall, after qualifying the #4 Compuware Corvette C5-R at 1:29:574. Ron Fellows, Johnny O'Connell and Franck Freon will start the 1,000-mile race from the sixth position in class, or 19th overall on the 38-car grid, after qualifying their #3 Compuware Corvette C5-R at 1:30:230.

With five GTS victories to date in the American Le Mans Series in 2003, the factory-backed

Chevrolet team is on the brink of capturing a third consecutive manufacturers' crown; Corvette has to finish in the third position in class to clinch the title. Drivers Ron Fellows and Johnny O'Connell go into this weekend's Petit Le Mans with the GTS drivers' title locked, while Oliver Gavin and Kelly Collins, driving the #4 Corvette C5-R along with Andy Pilgrim, hope to protect their second position in the drivers' standings with an impressive showing on Saturday.

--Sam Hornish Jr.'s quest for a third straight Indy Racing League championship ended last week with a fifth-place finish in the points. Hornish was among the leaders on lap 176 when an apparent problem with his Gen IV Chevy Indy V-8 sidelined him for the rest of the day. He finished 17th in his last race for Panther Racing.

Chevrolet finished third in the IRL Manufacturers' chase, with three victories in the 16 races. Vitor Meira, driving John Menard's Dallara-Chevrolet, was Chevy's highest finisher in fourth place.

--Chevrolet is the only manufacturer currently competing in the ALMS, Indy Racing League, NASCAR Winston Cup and NHRA.

-gm racing-

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Jeff Gordon , Matt Kenseth , Bobby Labonte , Tony Stewart , Michael Waltrip , Kevin Harvick , Robby Gordon , Kurt Busch , Ryan Newman , Ron Fellows , Johnny O'Connell , Franck Freon , Andy Pilgrim , Johnny Benson , Jimmie Johnson , Kelly Collins , Oliver Gavin , Sam Hornish Jr. , Vitor Meira
Teams Panther Racing , Corvette Racing