Hamlin Looking Forward To Martinsville Speedway Homecoming MARTINSVILLE, VA (March 24, 2007) -- Denny Hamlin has looked forward to coming to Martinsville Speedway his entire life. He may be most excited, though, about coming back for the Goody's...
Hamlin Looking Forward To Martinsville Speedway Homecoming
MARTINSVILLE, VA (March 24, 2007) -- Denny Hamlin has looked forward to coming to Martinsville Speedway his entire life. He may be most excited, though, about coming back for the Goody's Cool Orange 500 at Martinsville Sunday.
Hamlin is coming off a second place finish in the SUBWAY 500 at Martinsville last fall, and was constantly the fastest driver in practicing and testing for the Car of Tomorrow at Bristol. That's pretty important, because the Car of Tomorrow makes its Martinsville debut Sunday.
"Every time I roll in here it just reminds me of my late model days here every single year. It was so exciting to race on a track the Cup guys raced on and to be one now, it's pretty amazing," said Hamlin.
Hamlin did everything but win at Martinsville in the Bailey's 300 Late Model Stock race. He sat on the pole once, outside pole once, led lots of laps and finished in the top five a couple of times in the country's most prestigious Late Model event. More importantly, though, he brought crucial Martinsville experience to the Joe Gibbs Racing FedEx team he drives for now.
"The important thing is we come here and we're competitive every time. A lot of people come here for a long time and never get it figured out. It's just tough to be in the race all day."
Last fall Hamlin was what he calls "one aggressive move" away from winning the SUBWAY 500. He had a shot to win the race if he had put a bumper to eventual winner Jimmy Johnson in the waning laps. What would happen this time around?
"It may would be a little different," Hamlin said smiling.
BACK HOME AGAIN FOR PETERS: In somewhat of a surprise late last week, it was announced that Timothy Peters would be driving in Saturday's Kroger 250 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race at Martinsville.
Peters, who won the Bailey's 300 Late Model Stock race at Martinsville a couple of falls ago, will have the Bailey's Cigarettes colors on the Morgan-Dollar Chevrolet he will be driving. It is the same No. 46 Silverado that Bobby Labonte won this event in two years ago.
Peters left the truck series late last fall after two seasons when it was announced he would be joining Richard Childress Racing's Busch Series program this year. He is driving the No. 21 Chevy for RCR in 22 events this year. It's the same car Kevin Harvick own the national championship with a year ago.
"I have always had a close relationship with the Bailey's. They definitely resurrected my racing career," said Peters, who was sponsored by Bailey's for several seasons of Late Model action. "To return to the trucks two years later with Bailey's and Morgan-Dollar Motorsports, one of the best teams in the truck series, is an honor. It will be cool to get back to my hometown track."
RICH ROOKIES: The Goody's Cool Orange 500 will provide a little extra incentive to this year's stellar group of rookies.
The Raybestos Rookie of the Race normally earns $1,500 per race, but for more than a half-dozen events this season, that figure will be bumped to $5,000, and the Goody's Cool Orange 500 is one of those events.
"There are certain tracks in NASCAR NEXTEL Cup racing where we think a Raybestos Rookie's hard work should be rewarded," said Bob Kaulig, Vice President of Marketing for Affinia Group. "Martinsville is an obvious fit for us because of the emphasis on braking, but we think a Raybestos Rookie who has a great day in the first superspeedway race, the Daytona 500, should also be rewarded. Any young driver who has does a good job for 500 miles at Darlington or at their first trip to a road course deserves special recognition and a little something extra in their paycheck."
EARLY SCHEDULE: Every thing gets started a day early this week the inspection of the new Car of Tomorrow begins at 11 a.m. on Thursday. The grandstands will be open at no charge on Thursday.
TICKETS REMAIN: Despite talk to the contrary, tickets do remain for the Goody's Cool Orange 500. In addition there are openings left in fan suite seating along with fan hospitality, featuring Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jef Gordon.
For more information or to make a purchase, call 877.RACE.TIX or visit www.racetickets.com online.