Sawyer glad to be back on hometown 'Martinsville' track

A week ago Rodney Sawyer didn't know if he would even attempt to make next Saturday's Advance Auto Parts 250 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race at Martinsville Speedway. Now the Ridgeway, VA driver is hoping he can avenge last year's bad ...

A week ago Rodney Sawyer didn't know if he would even attempt to make next Saturday's Advance Auto Parts 250 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race at Martinsville Speedway.

Now the Ridgeway, VA driver is hoping he can avenge last year's bad fortune in the event.

Sawyer announced Thursday that he's obtained a one-race sponsorship from Smirnoff Ice which will allow him to attempt to make the field for the Advance Auto Parts 250.

"I had pretty much decided I wasn't going to go. It costs so much and I was trying to do it all myself and my budget was gone," said Sawyer.

Sawyer said he began negotiations with Smirinoff about a month ago and tied up all the loose ends early this week.

Sawyer has committed to run for rookie-of-the-year honors on the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, but has not been in the field in either of the circuit's first two starts. He didn't attempt to make the field for the season-opener at Daytona and suffered a mechanical problem in qualifying for the second race of the year at Darlington.

Perhaps the third race of the year will be the charm for Sawyer, though.

"Martinsville Speedway is a track I know. I've been around it quite a few times. It's my home track," said Sawyer, who has competed in a dozen or so Late Model Stock races on the track and three years ago won the pole for the Taco Bell 300 Late Model Stock event.

"A lot of places we go to, it's the first time I've seen it and I'm at a disadvantage. If I ever had an advantage anywhere, it would be Martinsville and South Boston."

A year ago, Sawyer was consistently clocked among the top 10 drivers in practice for the Advance Auto Parts 250, but suffered engine trouble before time trials and could not even take a qualifying lap.

Sawyer doesn't expect engine trouble this time around, though. Midway through last year he teamed with Martinsville engine builder Joey Arrington. Arrington's company, Arrington Manufacturing, produced more winning engines than anyone else last year. Arrington engines have been under the hood of both of the winning trucks this season.

"As far as I'm concerned Joe Arrington engines are the only one out there," said Sawyer, who wound up running six Craftsman Truck Series races a year ago with his best finish a 14th. "Since we've been running his motors, we've never had to worry about motor problems. Everyone has proven his are the best engines out there."

The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series competitors will time trial for the Advance Auto Parts 250 at 1:30 p.m. while qualifying for the Virginia 500 is set for 3 p.m. Tickets for MW Pole Day qualifying are $15 for adults and children under 12 get in free.

The Craftsman Truck Series racing action begins at 2 p.m. on April 13 when the green flag waves on the Advance Auto Parts 250. Tickets for the Advance Auto Parts 250 Craftsman Truck race are $30 for adults and $5 for children ages 6-12. All seats are unreserved.

There still are great seats available for the Virginia 500 NASCAR Winston Cup race for $40-$70 each. To purchase tickets call the speedway ticket office toll free at 877-722-3849 or online at www.martinsvillespeedway.com

-ms-

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Series NASCAR Truck