* Rusty Wallace's 'Last Call' at Martinsville no sentimental visit: He wants a win DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Oct. 18, 2005) -- Of the 10 tracks involved in Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup, each has characteristics that make it unique. This week,...
* Rusty Wallace's 'Last Call' at Martinsville no sentimental visit: He wants a win
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Oct. 18, 2005) -- Of the 10 tracks involved in Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup, each has characteristics that make it unique.
This week, the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series visits a venue that could make a major difference as the season enters its final five-race stretch.
With the Chase field tightened considerably after last Saturday night's race at Lowe's Motor Speedway, the next event at Martinsville Speedway -- the smallest track on the schedule and host to NASCAR racing since 1949 -- will be a close-quartered proving ground on Sunday.
First-time Chase contender Rusty Wallace (No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge), the winningest active driver at Martinsville, welcomes the challenge.
"Martinsville's been a great track for me," Wallace said. "I always feel like when I get there, if I'm in a ditch or having a problem, Martinsville's a place where I get back on track."
Wallace is optimistic with good reason. He has competed in 43 races at Martinsville, scoring seven victories and 25 top-10 finishes. He has led 3,632 laps there, second-best in track history behind all-time Martinsville lap leader Cale Yarborough. If Wallace can manage to lead 220 or more laps on Sunday, he'll become the track's all-time lap leader -- a fitting honor for Wallace as he closes out his NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series career.
Short tracks, wherever they've fallen on the schedule, have always been a strong point for Wallace. Twenty-five of Wallace's 55 career wins have come on the circuit's short tracks, including Martinsville, Bristol, Richmond, Nashville and North Wilkesboro. Of his 36 career pole positions, 14 have come on short tracks.
The 25-year NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series veteran says any of the 10 Chase contenders has a chance to improve, or falter, at Martinsville.
"I'm definitely treating Martinsville as a place where I can gain some points," Wallace said. "Anybody's got a great chance. Martinsville is a shorter race track that tends to favor me. It's a big guess going into Martinsville -- but I'm going in with a lot of confidence."