Jimmy Hensley takes on "home-track" - Martinsville

MARTINSVILLE, VA (April 3, 2000) - If Jimmy Hensley could have his way, every race on the 2000 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series schedule would be run at Martinsville Speedway. You can't blame Hensley for having affection for the ...

MARTINSVILLE, VA (April 3, 2000) - If Jimmy Hensley could have his way, every race on the 2000 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series schedule would be run at Martinsville Speedway. You can't blame Hensley for having affection for the historic. 526-mile oval nestled in the Virginia foothills. After all, it's just a few miles up the road from Hensley's Ridgeway, VA home. It's also where the 54-year-old driver usually dominates the competition as evidenced by his win in the Craftsman Truck Series NAPA 250 last year. "Martinsville is home and is certainly a track we'd like to do well on," said Hensley. "I've been fortunate enough to have run well there over the years and won a few races. I won the truck race there last year so everyone on the team is geared up for me to go back there and defend the victory." Last year, Hensley started his Richard Petty owned #43 Dodge in the ninth position and played a game of patience taking the lead with just 36 laps remaining in the 250-lap event. This time around, Hensley will be behind the wheel of the #16 Chevrolet Silverado fielded by Team Rensi. According to Hensley, the differences between the two makes of trucks shouldn't prove to be a problem in this year's NAPA 250. "I imagine we'll probably go to Martinsville with pretty much the same set up as I ran there last year," Hensley stated. "Being in a Chevy this year as opposed to a Dodge last year shouldn't make that much different as all the makes seem to be real close. That's especially true on the shorter tracks where the aerodynamic differences between the makes doesn't seem to matter as much." Another thing that hasn't mattered much to Hensley over the years at Martinsville has been what kind of vehicle he's driving. Car or truck, Hensley is usually considered to be on the favorites to visit Victory Lane. While a regular in the NASCAR Busch Series ranks, the "Virginia Gentleman" scored three victories winning both the pole and the Winston Classic in 1987. His qualifying time of 20.411 seconds (92.774 miles per hour) set that year is still the track record for the NBS division and may stay that way forever given Martinsville fell off the NBS schedule in 1994. Hensley also won the 1988 Miller Classic from the 13th starting position and closed out the NBS trifecta of wins with a victory on the 1991 Miller Classic. For good measure, Hensley also owns a NASCAR Winston Cup pole position taking over the driving chores from Dale Earnhardt in 1989 after Earnhardt was detained due to damage to his Mooresville, NC farm from Hurricane Hugo. According to Hensley, there's no secret to getting around Martinsville. "The key to winning at Martinsville this weekend will be having a good handling truck," said Hensley. "The right combination of springs and shocks allow you to be in the hunt at the end of the race. If there's one track we go to where I guess my "local knowledge" can help, its Martinsville, so I'm really pumped up about going there." Hensley and the rest of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series regulars will break the seal on the NAPA 250 on Friday, April 7, with practice and qualifying. The 250-lap NAPA main event will take the green flag Saturday, April 8 at 1 p.m. and will be televised live by ESPN. The event will also be broadcast live on MRN radio.

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Series NASCAR Truck
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Richard Petty , Jimmy Hensley