* Quiet contender: John Andretti has plenty of experience at Martinsville * More happy returns - Darrell Waltrip makes first series appearance since 1995 NEWS & NOTES * Wallaces, Green look for repeat of 1994 -- A finish similar to the ...
* Quiet contender: John Andretti has plenty of experience at Martinsville
* More happy returns - Darrell Waltrip makes first series appearance since 1995
NEWS & NOTES
* Wallaces, Green look for repeat of 1994 -- A finish similar to the last NASCAR Busch Series race at Martinsville on Oct. 16, 1994 would suit Kenny and Mike Wallace (No. 00 Miccosukee Resort Dodge) and David Green just fine. The three veterans are the only drivers entered in Saturday's event who also raced in the fall 1994 race. Kenny Wallace won -- his second Martinsville victory -- followed by Green, who had captured the Busch Pole for the event. Green would go on to claim the series title at the season finale the next week at Rockingham. Green's Martinsville result was sandwiched in between the Wallaces as Mike finished third that afternoon. "The last time I won there was 12 years ago; it doesn't seem like that long," said Kenny Wallace. "The track has been resurfaced, the facilities have been updated. We used to be able to knock the fenders off the cars at Martinsville and still be competitive and now you have to make sure you keep all the fenders attached. In 12 years, the whole sport has changed. Denny Hamlin (No. 20 Rockwell Automation Chevrolet) wasn't around, Clint Bowyer (No. 2 ACDelco Chevrolet) wasn't around. Now Rusty [Wallace]. That's how much it has changed."
* "DW" back in action with first series appearance since 1995 -- Saturday's race not only marks the return of the NASCAR Busch Series to Martinsville, but will have the added bonus of the return of three-time NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series champion Darrell Waltrip. Like many NASCAR NEXTEL Cup regulars, Waltrip also raced in the NASCAR Busch Series, compiling 13 wins in 94 career races. His last race was at Nashville Speedway in March 1995 where he won the pole and finished eighth. Appearing in commercials with his brother, two-time Daytona 500 winner and NASCAR Busch Series owner/driver Michael Waltrip, "DW" has lobbied to race the No. 99 Aaron's Dream Machine Dodge. Earlier this year, Michael "relented," and with his wife Stevie's permission, Darrell will compete this weekend. Michael Waltrip Racing is 16th in the series owner point standings, thereby securing a spot in the field for Darrell. The race will be the elder Waltrip's first NASCAR Busch Series event at Martinsville -- he has 11 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup wins at the track. "I wonder if NASCAR will allow him to run the 30-minute rookie practice session even though he's won at Martinsville 11 times in a Cup car?," Michael Waltrip asked.
* "Rookie" Andretti a dark horse at Martinsville? -- John Andretti (No. 10 RVs.com Ford) could be a factor on Saturday. In his first full season in the NASCAR Busch Series, the former NASCAR NEXTEL Cup veteran and ppc Racing teammate of Kenny Wallace may carry a rookie stripe, but is no newcomer to Martinsville. Andretti captured the second of his two career NASCAR NEXTEL Cup series wins at this track in 1999 driving for Petty Enterprises. He has run 20 races at the track in NASCAR's top series, with another top five and two top-10 finishes in addition to his win. He has also been at his most consistent in recent outings, registering three top-15 finishes -- including at top 10 at Daytona earlier this month -- in his last five races to move to a season-best 12th in the point standings, 98 points out of 10th. "Martinsville is one of those tracks you either love or hate and if you like it, it's because you've run good there. I am one of the ones who love it, so we should run really well," he said.
* Martinsville not "In the Loop" -- yet -- Since the NASCAR Busch Series is making its return to Martinsville for the first time in 12 years.
ON THE RIGHT TRACK
Kenny Wallace is the leading active driver in NASCAR Busch Series wins at Martinsville with two. Wallace has led 314 laps at the track, first among active drivers and fifth all-time. His four top fives and six top-10 finishes in 13 career races are also best among active drivers. -- David Green's two Busch Poles -- captured in back-to-back fashion in his series championship year in 1994 -- are also the most among active drivers.
ETC. Ford's win at New Hampshire last week courtesy of Carl Edwards (No. 60 Ameriquest Ford) was its fourth of the season and first since winning at Nashville in June. The victory moved Ford solidly into second place in the Bill France Performance Cup standings with 122 points. Chevrolet continues to lead with 13 wins and 149 points. Dodge is in third with three wins and 109 points. Three different manufacturers have won the last three races, and Chevrolet has the slight edge among active manufacturers in wins at Martinsville with three, although Kenny Wallace's win in the last series race at the facility prior to this week's return was in a Ford. -- Ricky Craven will make his return to the NASCAR Busch Series at Martinsville in the No. 14 Family Dollar Dodge for FitzBradshaw Racing. Craven has wins at Martinsville in NASCAR NEXTEL Cup and NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series competition, and won his first poles in the NASCAR Busch Series and in NASCAR NEXTEL Cup at the half-mile track. Craven, the 1992 NASCAR Busch Series Raybestos Rookie of the Year, has 141 series starts, the last at Chicagoland Speedway in 2004. -- Kevin Harvick has posted his steady numbers this season without the benefit of a Busch Pole. -- Steve Wallace (No. 64 Jackson Roscoe Foundation Dodge) was eight years old when his uncle, Kenny, won the last NASCAR Busch Series race at Martinsville. -- Substitutes for the eight NASCAR NEXTEL Cup drivers making the trek from Pocono to the sixth stand-alone race of the year are: Two-time NASCAR Busch Series champion Randy LaJoie for Harvick; David Ragan for Edwards; Brandon Miller for Clint Bowyer; Aric Almirola for Denny Hamlin; Casey Atwood for Yeley; Jason Keller for Greg Biffle (No. 66 Cub Cadet Ford), the 2002 NASCAR Busch Series champion and Dennis Setzer, using an open week in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series where he's 10th in the points to sub for Kyle Busch. Setzer and LaJoie also ran in the last series race at Martinsville. -- Stephen Leicht will attempt to make his NASCAR NEXTEL Cup debut at Pocono; his Robert Yates Racing teammate Matt McCall will drive the No. 90 CitiFinancial Ford at Martinsville. -- Burney Lamar is back in the No. 77 Dollar General Chevrolet this week after being replaced at New Hampshire by Jeff Burton to assist in evaluating the team. -- In addition to Mark McFarland, other drivers with Virginia ties are entered. Among them: Hamlin (Chesterfield), Jon Wood (No. 47 Clorox/America Red Cross Ford - Stuart), Danny O'Quinn (No. 50 TransAmerica Ford - Coeburn), Ashton Lewis Jr. (No. 25 U.S. Marine Corps Ford - Chesapeake), and Stacy Compton (No. 59 Kingsford/Bush's Baked Beans Ford - Grit).
* "It's a neat little track with a lot of history and I love their hot dogs." - Wes Ward, crew chief for Mark McFarland on Martinsville.
* "At least this is only about a 1,000-mile trip instead of the 8,000-mile one from Sonoma." - Kyle Busch on commuting from Pocono to Martinsville.
FROM THE NASCAR BUSCH SERIES "25 SEASONS RUNNING" ARCHIVES
Martinsville Speedway was a prominent track in the NASCAR Busch Series inaugural season of 1982. Three series events were held there with the first being staged on March 28, the fourth race for the new series.
Sam Ard won the 250-lap Dogwood 500 from the third starting position for the first of his 22 career wins. Ard took home $9,150 for his efforts.
The second race at Martinsville took place on September 25. It was known as the Autumn 150 and Ard again was the victor, this time from the Busch Pole.
The third and final race of the season at Martinsville was the Cardinal 500. Tommy Ellis took the pole while Butch Lindley won the race. The first and third races were held in conjunction with 250-lap events for the NASCAR Modified Division, hence the "500" was added to the name of the race.
NASCAR BUSCH SERIES "25 SEASONS RUNNING" QUOTABLES
"It's only fitting as we celebrate 25 years with Anheuser-Busch that we have this facility back on our schedule." -- David Green on the NASCAR Busch Series' return to Martinsville.
ON DECK: GATEWAY INTERNATIONAL RACEWAY
The 25th anniversary celebration of series sponsor Anheuser-Busch comes full circle on July 29 when the NASCAR Busch Series arrives in St. Louis, the hometown of A-B, for the Silver Celebration 250 presented by Shop n' Save. The event will be run during the 10th anniversary season of Gateway International Raceway. Reed Sorenson won last season, while 2006 series points leader Kevin Harvick has two wins in his only two races there. Two-time series champion Martin Truex Jr. was on the pole last season, his second consecutive at the track. Ashton Lewis won the pole -- his only career Busch Pole to date -- at Gateway in 2003.
What: Goody's 250 (Race No. 21 of 35 in the NASCAR Busch Series).
Where: Martinsville Speedway, Martinsville, Va.
When: 3:45 p.m. EDT, Sat., July 22.
Track Layout: .526-mile oval.
Race Length: 250 laps/131.5 miles.
Posted Awards: $1,444,347.
TV: NBC, 3:30 p.m., EDT.
Radio: MRN, XM Satellite.
Oct. 1994 Winner: Kenny Wallace.
Oct. 1994 Polesitter: David Green.
2006 NASCAR Busch Series Top 10: 1. Kevin Harvick 3,092. 2. Carl Edwards 2,784. 3. Clint Bowyer 2,705. 4. Denny Hamlin 2,667. 5. J.J. Yeley 2,636. 6. Greg Biffle 2,398. 7. Paul Menard 2,373. 8. Kyle Busch 2,311. 9. Johnny Sauter 2,220. 10. Kenny Wallace 2,140.
Pre-race schedule (all times local): Thur., July 20 - Practice, Noon-7:00 p.m. Fri., July 21 - Practice, 3:30-4:30 p.m.; Rookie Practice, 5-5:30 p.m.; Final Practice, 6-7:00 p.m. Sat., July 22 - Qualifying 12:05 a.m. (Impound).