Martinsville II: Roush Racing preview

Roush Racing Fast Facts - Mark Martin's fifth-place run at Lowe's last week moved him up two places to fifth in the Nextel Cup point standings. Martin was also able to close the gap to the leader from 113 to 51 points. Martin is 34 points out...

Roush Racing Fast Facts

- Mark Martin's fifth-place run at Lowe's last week moved him up two places to fifth in the Nextel Cup point standings. Martin was also able to close the gap to the leader from 113 to 51 points. Martin is 34 points out of fourth and 40 points behind third.

- Martin has started a total of 111 races at the remaining five tracks that will make up the Chase for the Nextel Cup. He has posted 6 wins, 36 top-five and 60 top-10 finishes at those tracks. Martin has a 13.32 average finish at Chase tracks and he has led a total of 1,814 laps, including 318 at Martinsville.

- Though not a favorite of his, Martin has experienced success at Martinsville where he has won twice and boasts 21 top-10 finishes and three poles. Martin posted a strong showing at Martinsville in the spring, finishing third. The finish was Martin's first top-five at Martinsville since he won there in April of 2000.

- Martin was strong at Martinsville right off the bat, qualifying fifth and posting a third place finish in his first race there on September 27, 1981. Martin finished third there this spring as well. Martin has finished third at Martinsville on six occasions.

- With the 3rd place finish at Charlotte, Greg Biffle maintained the third position in the point standings. He currently trails leaders Tony Stewart and Jimmie Johnson by only 11 points and has a six-point advantage over fourth place contender Ryan Newman.

- Earlier this season at Martinsville, Biffle had a top-20 run going until a tire came apart on lap 181, which caused damage to the car.

- In addition to his Cup Series record at Martinsville, Biffle also has one pole, one top-five and two top-10's in NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series.

- This weekend the No. 16 Ford will feature the yellow Subway paint scheme for the Subway Fresh 500.

- In his 11 starts at Martinsville, Matt Kenseth has one top-five and three top-ten finishes.

- Kenseth will be racing car number 23 this weekend in Martinsville. This car raced in both events at Loudon this year, as well as Phoenix and the second race in Richmond. In its' four runs, it has posted two top-five and three top-ten finishes.

- Matt Kenseth has led more laps this season (832) than any other since his Cup Series debut in 1998.

- Kurt Busch and the No. 97 Roush Racing team remain 10th in the "Chase" standings after a second-place finish at Lowe's Motor Speedway last week, Busch's career best at the track. Busch now trails co-leaders Tony Stewart and Jimmie Johnson by 142 points at the half-way point of the Chase.

- The No. 97 brings the blue and yellow of IRWIN Industrial Tools to Martinsville on chassis #48, the same car that won at Richmond six weeks ago.

- Busch has three top-10 and two top-five finishes at NASCAR's shortest speedway, including a fifth-place finish one year ago. Busch led 33 laps in the spring event at Martinsville before Jeff Gordon clipped the rear of Busch's Crown Royal Ford and took him out of contention with 50 laps remaining.

- Busch picked up his second career victory at Martinsville in the Old Dominion 500 on October 20, 2002 from the 36th starting position, the farthest back a race winner has started at Martinsville by 12 positions (Lee Petty's win on May 3, 1959 from the 24th spot was the previous record).

- Carl Edwards currently sits sixth in the overall point standings with 5,723 points. After posting his fourth straight top 10 finish Edwards gained on points leader Tony Stewart trailing him by just 54 points. Three points separates Edwards from fifth place Mark Martin.

- Edwards and the No. 99 Office Depot team tested at Martinsville in preparation for this weekend's event.

- This weekend marks the last non-companion event for Edwards. Edwards will qualify and practice the Cup car in Martinsville then travel to Memphis to race the Busch car. He will then return to Martinsville in time to race the Cup car on Sunday.

- Edwards, along with teammate Mark Martin, will make a cameo appearance on "The Guiding Light" this Friday, October 21. Check your local listings for air times.

NNCS:

Mark Martin
Team: No. 6 Viagra® Ford Taurus
Crew Chief: Pat Tryson
Chassis: RK-274 (fifth run this season, finished third here in the spring)

Martin on racing at Martinsville Speedway: "Martinsville is a place that I've always hated with a passion, but we've won two or three times there. I"ve always loved Pocono, but I've never won there, so what does that tell you. It's always been a thorn in my side as far as short tracks. People have always told me how well I run there, but it sure never feels that way. It can be physically demanding. Sometimes you leave there worn down, sometimes you feel fine. It's been a real challenge for me, because it really just doesn't fit my driving style. However we had a good run there in the spring and we've been pretty good there the last few times. Hopefully we can put together another top five and keep moving forward.

"We had a good run last week at Charlotte and we just have to keep that going. Pat (Tryson) and the guys have done an outstanding job during the 'Chase' and I don't think that we are anywhere near through just yet."

Crew Chief Pat Tryson on racing at Martinsville Speedway: "We had a good car there in the spring and were able to run up front and get a third place finish out of the race. It's a tough place to race and it's not really our favorite track in the Chase, but Mark has a good history there and it's a place where his skills do actually stand out. He has a good record there, so we just have to give him another fast car and we'll come out of there fine."

Greg Biffle
Team: No. 16 Subway Ford Taurus
Crew Chief: Doug Richert
Chassis: RK-297 (tested last week at Martinsville)

Biffle on racing at Martinsville Speedway: "Martinsville has never been a very good track for me as a driver so last week we took two full days testing there. We had a really good test and I feel more confident going there this week than I ever have. We're taking a car that I really liked in the test and I have a good feel for it. I think it will be a good car for us at Martinsville and I look for us to have a solid run there. That's really all we need and the just move on to Atlanta, Texas, Phoenix and Homestead where we've had a lot of luck in the past."

Crew Chief Doug Richert on racing at Martinsville Speedway: "Our test in Martinsville went well, which is encouraging. We're taking RK 297 because Greg liked the feel a little better than the car we've been running at some of the other short tracks this season. We feel like we'll be a little better there this time around than we were earlier this season. We need to get out there and have a good qualifying run so we can start with good track position and hopefully maintain it through the race rather than try to catch up the whole time."

Matt Kenseth
Team: No. 17 DEWALT Ford Taurus
Crew Chief: Robbie Reiser
Chassis: RK-23 (raced at both Loudon races and Phoenix)

Kenseth on racing at Martinsville Speedway: "Our record has certainly been inconsistent at Martinsville. Back in the spring, we ran in the back most of the day and were fortunate to stay out of trouble and be there at the end to pull out an 11th-place finish. I think we may see a lot of cautions and it will be important to take care of your equipment and try to avoid trouble."

Crew Chief Robbie Reiser on racing at Martinsville Speedway: "We tested in Martinsville back in the spring but still didn't quite get the set-up right for the first race. We've addressed that issue and hopefully will be better this weekend. We took a hit at Charlotte over the weekend and are looking to rebound from that. Martinsville historically has not been a good track for us but we're staying positive and focused on coming out with a strong finish."

Kurt Busch
Team: No. 97 IRWIN Industrial Tools Ford Taurus
Crew Chief: Jimmy Fennig
Chassis: #48 (won at Richmond last month)

Busch on racing at Martinsville Speedway: "We've got some hope because we ended up with an okay finish last week at Lowe's. That's the first Chase race where you could say nothing went wrong for us, so it gives us optimism about the next few. We're 140 points out, and that's still a long ways to go. We just still have to do our job and hope for some good fortune for our own team. We're looking forward to this weekend at Martinsville because it's a track we ran well at earlier this year before we were wrecked by the No. 24, and we're bringing back the car we won with last month at Richmond, so we feel good about it."

Crew Chief Jimmy Fennig on racing at Martinsville Speedway: "With those long straights and tight corners, Martinsville is a tough track on the brakes and the motors. It really puts a lot of it on the driver too because it is so mentally exhausting to go run around for 500 laps on those tight turns. We had a good run going in the spring here before we were wrecked, and Kurt has taken the car to victory lane here before. We all know he knows how to run short tracks, so we'll see if he can keep the fenders clean and get a good finish."

Carl Edwards
Team: No.99 Roush Racing Ford Taurus
Crew Chief: Bob Osborne
Chassis Number: RK-249 (raced at Phoenix)

Edwards on racing at Martinsville Speedway: "It's a lot of fun to race there. It's probably one of the toughest tracks for me personally in the Cup car. We tested there last week and I felt like we were pretty quick. If we can have a decent qualifying run in the Office Depot Ford I think we can race well there. A lot can happen in 500 laps and at Martinsville things like pit strategy and tire management can make or break you. This is definitely one of the bigger obstacles for us as a team in the 'Chase.'"

Crew Chief Bob Osborne on racing at Martinsville Speedway: "Martinsville is a difficult track. I would say it's one of the tracks we've struggled the most with this year. I feel like we haven't been fast enough there but I think we made some strides during our test last week. We need to qualify well so we don't go a lap down early in the race. This will be a tough track for us no doubt but I think we will only get better and hopefully we can continue our momentum from the last several weeks."

NCTS:

Todd Kluever
Team: No. 50 World Financial Group Ford F-150
Crew Chief: Mike Beam
Chassis: #39 (last raced at Loudon)

Todd Kluever on racing at Martinsville Speedway: "After three weeks off I'm ready to go racing again. I've done a lot of testing during the break in the schedule, but nothing can substitute for racing. I've only raced at Martinsville once before in the spring and I can't say it is one of my favorite tracks. I had a tough time in the spring, but part of that was due to our poor qualifying position. You can't start 29th and expect to stay out of trouble trying to get to the front. This week the plan is to qualify well and stay up front. Of course, anything can happen but at least your odds are better if you can stay ahead of some of the trouble."

Crew Chief Mike Beam on racing at Martinsville Speedway: "We're taking a different truck than Todd raced at Martinsville in the spring. That truck has been rebuilt since the accident in Richmond and we are saving it for Phoenix. I know Todd is not a big fan of Martinsville so we'll just have to give him a good truck. If he has a fast truck and is competitive he'll start to enjoy Martinsville a lot more."

Ricky Craven
Team: No. 99 Superchips Ford F-150
Crew Chief: John Quinn
Chassis: #35 (finished second at Martinsville in the spring)

Ricky Craven on racing at Martinsville Speedway: "Martinsville has always been one of my favorite tracks because it's really the only true short track we race on. Bristol is a completely different half-mile, so I don't really count that. Martinsville goes back to being a kid and reading "Speedway Scene" about the sportsmen and modified races, and eventually getting to race there myself. I got my first Busch Series pole, my first Nextel Cup pole and my first Nextel Cup win at Martinsville. It's just a fun place to race.

"We finished second there in the spring and we had a great test there at the end of September. I really have high expectations going into this race. We found some extra speed at the test and the truck was even better than it was in the spring. Although we may not be contenders for the championship, I still believe we can win a race, or two, before the season ends."

Crew Chief John Quinn on racing at Martinsville Speedway: "We had a really good test there last month so I don't see any reason why Ricky wouldn't have a shot at the win. It's one of his favorite tracks and this whole team is determined to get a victory in these final five races."

-rr

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jeff Gordon , Matt Kenseth , Tony Stewart , Greg Biffle , Kurt Busch , Ryan Newman , Jimmie Johnson , Ricky Craven , Carl Edwards , Todd Kluever , Doug Richert , Mark Martin , Lee Petty