Martinville II: News of note, schedule

*No-Boil: Patience And Equipment Crucial At Martinsville *Martin Truex Jr. on NASCAR Teleconference Keys To Victory Martinsville Speedway *Denny Hamlin: "Martinsville is definitely a race track where you have to roll the center really well...

*No-Boil: Patience And Equipment Crucial At Martinsville
*Martin Truex Jr. on NASCAR Teleconference

Keys To Victory
Martinsville Speedway

*Denny Hamlin: "Martinsville is definitely a race track where you have to roll the center really well and use little to no brake at all at that race track."

*Crew chief Chad Knaus: "Because it is a 500-lap race, it is very difficult, so you have to have a lot of patience and keep a little reserve for the end of the race."

*Crew chief Steve Letarte: "When you catch a lapped car and he wants to run the bottom or protect the bottom, you have to have a car that can move up. It's basic short-track racing, it has to roll or have good drive-off."

*Jimmie Johnson: "As a driver, the discipline that you need in the braking zone and getting through the center of the turns is very, very important there."

In The Loop: Stewart, Hendrick Motorsports Dominant At Martinsville

If recent history is any indication, the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series standings will look a lot like they do now once the checkered flag flies on the Subway 500 at Martinsville Speedway.

The top two drivers -- Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson -- have phenomenal numbers at Martinsville. They'll likely continue the struggle at the top.

Gordon, who leads Johnson by 68 points with five Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup races complete, ranks in the top five in practically every key Loop Data category.

In collecting five consecutive top-five finishes (including a season sweep in 2005), Gordon has earned the second-best Driver Rating (123.8), the second-best Average Running Position (7.4), the second-highest number of Fastest Laps Run (263), and the second-most Laps in the Top 15 (2,172/86.9%).

Hendrick Motorsports teammate Johnson sits just behind Gordon in the above categories. He has third-best numbers in Driver Rating (117.2), Average Running Position (7.9), Fastest Laps Run (224) and Laps in the Top 15 (2,093/83.7%).

One driver in particular is in dire need of a repeat of past performances -- Tony Stewart. Stewart trails Gordon by 198 points, but a turnaround is in sight. Stewart has excelled at Martinsville in recent years, launching himself to the top of most of the Loop Data statistical categories. With a win last season and four consecutive top 10s, Stewart ranks first in Martinsville Driver Rating (125.5), Average Running Position (4.4), Fastest Laps Run (277) and Laps in the Top 15 (2,401/96%).

One result seems likely, though: the victor should come from the Chase field. The top four (and six of the top eight) in Driver Rating are in the Chase.

One dark-horse driver who has top numbers at Martinsville is native Virginian Ricky Rudd (No. 88 Snickers Ford).

With an average finish of 10.3 in three Martinsville races since 2005, Rudd has earned a Driver Rating of 94.3 (sixth-best) and an Average Running Position of 11.1 (fourth-best).

NNCS, Etc.

On The Line: Martin Truex Jr. On Weekly NASCAR Teleconference

Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup competitor Martin Truex Jr. (No. 1 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet) was the guest on Tuesday's weekly NASCAR Teleconference. Truex comes into this week's Subway 500 in 11th place, in the Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup standings, with five races remaining in the season.

He finished 17th last Saturday night at Lowe's Motor Speedway, dropping one spot in the Chase standings. Following are some highlights from the teleconference:

Q: "Talk about your outlook going into these last five races and how you're going to keep running hard and try to end the season as high as you can."

Truex: "Yeah, we sure are. I have been real proud of my team and their efforts, and we have had some great race cars through out the Chase. It just seems everything that could go wrong has went wrong. It has been a little frustrating, but we are looking forward to the last five races.

"We are just going to go out there and run as fast as we can, and try to win a few of them. Hopefully we will be able to move up in the points, you know, towards the front."

Q: "When drivers like Johnson and Gordon get off to a quick start and build that early lead and they are so consistent, how frustrating is it for you to try and make up that ground knowing that they are always going to be in the top five or top 10? What is your mind set going in there?"

Truex: "Well it's definitely hard. Once you get behind, you really need to pray for a lot of things to go your way for you to catch them. Obviously they were the point leaders coming in for a reason. They have been strong for a long time.

"So for us, we just try and do the best job we could. We knew we could perform well enough to run with them. I think even till now we have done that. It is just, you know, getting the finishes.

"For some reason we have had a lot of trouble, just to have good races and not have stuff happen to us. We have kind of been in the wrong place at the wrong time a lot since the Chase started. We haven't had things go right for us and that is frustrating, but on the flip side we can sit back and look at how we ran and say we have performed well enough to be right there with them. We just haven't been able to get it done. So that is the most frustrating part for us."

Montoya Maintaining Rookie Points Lead

No change in the Raybestos Rookie of the Year standings, where Juan Pablo Montoya (No. 42 Texaco/Havoline Dodge) continues to lead David Ragan (No. 6 AAA Ford).

Montoya finished 37th last week at Lowe's Motor Speedway while Ragan finished 40th. The margin between them remains 15 points (226-211).

A Virginian's Fond Farewell

Sunday's Subway 500 at Martinsville Speedway should mark the final NASCAR NEXTEL Cup appearance by Chesapeake native Ricky Rudd in his home state. Rudd, who returned last week at Lowe's Motor Speedway after missing the last six races with a left shoulder injury, has said he will retire following the '07 season.

Rudd, 51, suffered a separated shoulder in a Sept. 2 accident at California Speedway. He'd been sidelined until last weekend, when he returned to finish 11th at LMS.

Carpentier Makes It Official

Former open-wheel standout Patrick Carpentier, announced as the new Gillett Evernham Motorsports driver on Oct. 10, was scheduled to be formally introduced as such in his hometown of Montreal on Tuesday.

Per his new team, Carpentier will compete fulltime in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series in '08, and also in the NASCAR Nationwide Series.

He made his stock-car debut in the first NASCAR Busch Series event in Montreal on Aug. 4, followed the next week by his NASCAR NEXTEL Cup debut at Watkins Glen International.

Kyle Petty To Make Historic Career Start

Veteran driver Kyle Petty will take sole possession of fifth place on the all-time series start list Sunday when he takes the green flag at Martinsville Speedway.

Currently tied with three-time series champion Darrell Waltrip with 809 career starts, Petty also will make his 54th career start at Martinsville.

NASCAR's Brian France Honored

NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France will be inducted into the Broadcasting & Cable Hall of Fame next Monday night (Oct. 22) at Cipriani on 42nd Street in New York, during the 17th annual induction ceremonies. France is one of 12 inductees this year; the others include ABC World News Tonight anchor Charles Gibson and Univision CEO Joe Uva.

Established in 1991 by Broadcasting & Cable Magazine, the Hall of Fame membership includes Walter Cronkite, Edward R. Murrow and Ronald Reagan.

Martinsville Speedway Makes A Cover

The historic .526-mile track in southern Virginia recently was chosen as the cover image for the new book One Helluva Ride: How NASCAR Swept the Nation, by Washington Post staffer Liz Clarke, a longtime NASCAR beat writer.

Fast Facts

The Race: Subway 500

The Place: Martinsville Speedway, Martinsville, Va.
The Date: Sunday, Oct. 21

The Time: 1:30 p.m. (ET)
TV: ABC, 1 p.m. (ET)
Radio: MRN; SIRIUS Satellite Radio, Channel 128

The Track: .526-mile oval
The Distance: 263 miles, 500 laps

The Purse: $4,872,371

2006 Polesitter: Kurt Busch
2006 Winner: Jimmie Johnson

Pre-Race On-Track Schedule (ET): Friday -- Practice, noon-1:30 p.m. Qualifying, 3:45 p.m.; Saturday -- Practice, 10-10:50 a.m. and 12:50-1:50 p.m.

-credit: nascar

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jeff Gordon , Darrell Waltrip , Tony Stewart , Kyle Petty , Kurt Busch , Patrick Carpentier , Jimmie Johnson , Martin Truex Jr. , David Ragan , Denny Hamlin , Chad Knaus
Teams Hendrick Motorsports