Author Topic: My Favorite Track  (Read 6682 times)

Quack

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My Favorite Track
« on: October 20, 2007, 02:42:34 PM »
So the boys are in Martinsville, Virginia this weekend, which is home to my favorite track, Martinsville Speedway.  The action on this tiny little track, just over one-half mile (.526) in length, is non-stop.

Last night at our high school football game, our opponent's band was HUGE - roughly 400 members strong.  When these guys first marched into the stadium, they entered on one end and marched single-file around the entire running track that surrounds the field.  That in and of itself isn't really anything special; I've seen lots of marching bands do that.  I'm sure you have as well.  However, have you ever seen one so huge that by the time the first drum major got around the track, the last member in line had just entered??!!  These guys were nearly 1/4 mile long!

Now then, why on earth would I bother mentioning that?  Well, because it reminds me of a race at Martinsville, that's why!  The cars are wrapped around the entire track, pretty much the whole race.  When I say "pretty much", I mean "except for immediately after the green flag falls at the beginning of the race and immediately after restarts".  And speaking of restarts, when they have a single file restart, as the leader is crossing the start/finish line taking the green, the cars at the back of the field are coming out of Turn 2, already more than half a lap down!

In a nutshell, the cars are in perpetual traffic for 500 bruising laps.  Always someone in front, behind, and/or beside you.  Even when you hear "clear!" on your radio, it's hard to enjoy, because it usually doesn't last more than a few seconds.  And in those few seconds, you're going to be slamming on the brakes to get slowed down for the tight corners.  Martinsville Speedway requires a driver to put in 500 laps of total concentration.  It truly is an awesome place to race, and an awesome race to watch.

The key to a great lap at Martinsville is the entrance to the corner.  Drive it in too deep, and you're going straight through the corner and into the wall - or into the car in front of or beside you, whichever gets in the way first - but you're going to hit something.  Let off too early, and you're going to either get run into from behind or the guy behind you is going to dive inside of you and take the preferred line away.  However, if you hit your marks, and your car rolls the middle well and has some ponies under the hood, you'll pass a ton of cars getting into the corners, and even more of them coming off the corner.

But no matter how well or how poorly your car is handling, you can be assured of one thing: traffic!

Who to Watch
Who? #1, Martin Truex, Jr.
Why? In three career races at Martinsville, Truex has an average finish of 28.0, with a best finish of 19th, which came in his first start at the track.  "Yeah, okay," you scoff, "those are such amazing stats, I'll be sure to pay close attention to him."  Martin surely has not performed well at the little paper clip-shaped track, but he has found something this weekend that works for him, and has turned it into an outside pole starting position.  Is whatever he found good enough to maintain his Top 5 position for 500 laps?  My guess is 'no', but he has made major improvements during this his sophomore season, and if his engine holds together I think he'll place Top 10 at the end of the day.

Who? Joe Gibbs Racing, #11, #18, #20 (Denny Hamlin, J.J. Yeley, Tony Stewart)
Why? Qualifying up front at Martinsville is extremely important.  Case in point: In four previous 30th-or-worse Martinsville starts for Tony Stewart, his average finish is 18.0.  In his nine Top 10 starts, Stewart's average finish is 12.0.  Six positions.  However, if you remove the 2001 race in which his engine blew, Tony's average finish jumps all the way up to 8.4 - nearly 10 positions.  It's no secret that of the three Gibbs drivers, Yeley gets the worst equipment.  His stats solidly back that up.  So what happened this weekend?  Yeley qualifies 8th while Hamlin and Stewart qualify 30th and 34th?  Did the shop screw up and give the good piece to the wrong team?  Can Yeley actually hang with the leaders for 500 laps?  Can Denny and Tony make it through the traffic without damaging their cars and get themselves a solid Top 10 finish?

Who? #8, Dale Earnhardt, Jr.
Why? Does he have anything left in his tank?  Junior is a much better short track driver than most people give him credit for.  While he has yet to win at Martinsville, he does have 7 Top 5s in his fifteen career starts there - including a 5th place finish in April of this year.  Like Truex, if his engine doesn't detonate, look for a solid finish from Mr. Earnhardt.

Who? #2, Kurt Busch
Why? Kurt is kind of an all-or-nothing driver at Martinsville.  He picked up a win and a 10th back in 2002, a 5th in 2004, and a 6th in 2005.  However, in his other ten starts, he has an average finish of just 25.2.  Kurt starts 11th this weekend.  Which Kurt will show up on race day?

Who's Going to Win
In the last nine races at Martinsville Speedway, dating back to April of 2003, only two drivers not named Gordon or Johnson have won.  Rusty Wallace picked up the 55th and final win of his career in April of 2004, while Tony Stewart picked up the win in April of 2006.  The other seven races?  4 wins for Gordon, 3 for Johnson.  Oh, by the way, when Tony picked up the trophy last year, Gordon and Johnson were right behind him in second and third.

Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson both have ridiculous career numbers at Martinsville:

Starts
 
Wins
 
Top 5
 
Top 10
Gordon
29
 
7
 
17
 
23
Johnson
11
 
3
 
7
 
10

Add to that the fact that the two have clearly been the class of the field all year long, and it's kind of hard to bet against one of them heading to Victory Lane this weekend.  So, which one do you think it'll be?   The #48 and #24 have combined to give Hendrick Motorsports a 1-2 finish on four occasions so far in 2007, including the race at Martinsville back in April.  Johnson won the first two such battles, while Gordon has won the last two.  Might we be seeing another 1-2 finish from these two cats this weekend?  I think the chances are pretty strong.

"But who?!?!?!" you ask angrily.

I'm going to have to give the nod this weekend to Jeff Gordon.  He has that fire in his eye.  He's won two in a row heading into the weekend.  He's on the pole.  If I were a betting man, I'd put my money on the #24 Dupont Chevrolet to pick up the win, with Gordon adding his 8th Martinsville grandfather clock to the trophy collection.

But Jimmie Johnson in the Lowe's #48 will probably be nipping at his heels.

Happy racing.

P.S. Ricky Hendrick, John Hendrick, Kimberly Hendrick, Jennifer Hendrick, Joe Jackson, Jeff Turner, Randy Dorton, Scott Lathram, Dick Tracy and Liz Morrison - it has been three years, but you guys are still sorely missed.  R.I.P.

#1Jimmiefan

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Re: My Favorite Track
« Reply #1 on: October 20, 2007, 03:24:24 PM »
P.S. Ricky Hendrick, John Hendrick, Kimberly Hendrick, Jennifer Hendrick, Joe Jackson, Jeff Turner, Randy Dorton, Scott Lathram, Dick Tracy and Liz Morrison - it has been three years, but you guys are still sorely missed.  R.I.P.

Amen.

It doesn't seem like 3 years has already passed. Wow.

caboolarue

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Re: My Favorite Track
« Reply #2 on: October 20, 2007, 05:36:58 PM »
I have to agree with you on Dale Jr. and Truex Jr.  But, with the DEI engines they won't make it.  Jr. drives the hell out of his cars on these short tracks.  For some reason DEI can't build a tough enough engine.  I am rootin for my man Dale Junior to win tonight, providing the engine failure.  He's just gotta win a race.

It doesn't seem like 3 years.  Even with my STML, I'll never forget asking why there was no fly over, on this day.  May the Hendrick Family Rest in Peace.

Signspotter#19

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Re: My Favorite Track
« Reply #3 on: October 20, 2007, 05:38:36 PM »
I have to agree with you on Dale Jr. and Truex Jr.  But, with the DEI engines they won't make it.  Jr. drives the hell out of his cars on these short tracks.  For some reason DEI can't build a tough enough engine.  I am rootin for my man Dale Junior to win tonight, providing the engine failure.  He's just gotta win a race.

It doesn't seem like 3 years.  Even with my STML, I'll never forget asking why there was no fly over, on this day.  May the Hendrick Family Rest in Peace.

Did I miss something? Is there a race tonight?
"Everyone's invited to the Barn for bologna burgers next Saturday night"

caboolarue

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Re: My Favorite Track
« Reply #4 on: October 20, 2007, 07:55:49 PM »
No, Not tonight, wishful thinkin I guess.  I meant tomorrow.  Sorry.  I have too many things going today.

HERM

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Re: My Favorite Track
« Reply #5 on: October 20, 2007, 09:54:18 PM »
dark horse winner in martinsville this weekend.  i think jamie mcmurray will go to victory lane.

caboolarue

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Re: My Favorite Track
« Reply #6 on: October 20, 2007, 10:12:34 PM »
dark horse winner in martinsville this weekend.  i think jamie mcmurray will go to victory lane.
Aw, good pick Did you see Daughter Cabs (my) Avatar  ;)

HERM

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Re: My Favorite Track
« Reply #7 on: October 20, 2007, 10:30:09 PM »
Aw, good pick Did you see Daughter Cabs (my) Avatar  ;)

i see it now.  i was looking at practise speeds when i said it.

caboolarue

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Re: My Favorite Track
« Reply #8 on: October 20, 2007, 10:47:13 PM »
i see it now.  i was looking at practise speeds when i said it.
K-son took this pic down in Norman, OK the day of the OUvsMU game.  He tried to tell me he met Jamie, I knew better.  It was kinda funny.

#1Jimmiefan

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Re: My Favorite Track
« Reply #9 on: October 21, 2007, 12:33:30 AM »
K-son took this pic down in Norman, OK the day of the OUvsMU game.  He tried to tell me he met Jamie, I knew better.  It was kinda funny.
He had a great time at the game, for those interested. He tells me he could almost smell the grass.
Still upset we didn't get to meet, damn it! Cab, get on to that kid of yours! ;D

caboolarue

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Re: My Favorite Track
« Reply #10 on: October 21, 2007, 12:37:16 AM »
He had a great time at the game, for those interested. He tells me he could almost smell the grass.
Still upset we didn't get to meet, damn it! Cab, get on to that kid of yours! ;D
Since I got a heads up on the photobucket thing.  I'm practicing using it as we speak so as soon as I get those game pics, I'll postem, that is if I can figure all this out.  They were right on the sidelines.  She got some great pics of the players praying at the end field.  Oh and of the covered wagon.

Sorry to get off TRACK Quack.   :D

Quack

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Re: My Favorite Track
« Reply #11 on: October 21, 2007, 12:38:16 AM »
Sorry to get off TRACK Quack.   :D

Damn, come on ppl!!!!!!!!!

LMAO!   ;D ;D

Signspotter#19

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Re: My Favorite Track
« Reply #12 on: October 21, 2007, 12:39:08 AM »
Sorry to get off TRACK Quack.   :D


ROFLMAO, now that's funny :D
"Everyone's invited to the Barn for bologna burgers next Saturday night"

#1Jimmiefan

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Re: My Favorite Track
« Reply #13 on: October 21, 2007, 12:40:29 AM »
.  Oh and of the covered wagon.


That would be the "Sooner Schooner"...for those not in the "know", Sooners were the guys that cheated during the land run to get the best spots to lay claim to the "best" spots. Why any school would choose "sooners" as their mascot is beyond me.   Sorry to be "off topic", hope ya forgive me.
« Last Edit: October 21, 2007, 12:42:58 AM by #1Jimmiefan »

caboolarue

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Re: My Favorite Track
« Reply #14 on: October 21, 2007, 12:48:56 AM »
That would be the "Sooner Schooner"...for those not in the "know", Sooners were the guys that cheated during the land run to get the best spots to lay claim to the "best" spots. Why any school would choose "sooners" as their mascot is beyond me.   Sorry to be "off topic", hope ya forgive me.
Oh, yeah I knew that too.  I just didn't think any one would know what the hell I was talking about.

Quack

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Re: My Favorite Track
« Reply #15 on: October 21, 2007, 12:51:40 AM »
F Oklahoma.  What woman would want a "sooner" anyways?  Every woman I've ever known likes a guy that takes his time and does it right.   ;D ;D ;D

#1Jimmiefan

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Re: My Favorite Track
« Reply #16 on: October 21, 2007, 12:52:04 AM »
Oh, yeah I knew that too.  I just didn't think any one would know what the hell I was talking about.

LOL! I just had to drive home what "SOONER" means. I love me some Cowboys and they beat K-State tonight (barely)! WOO HOO!

Sorry Quack and Scott for being "OT", I will go to my room now for being off topic, love ya!

Quack

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Re: My Favorite Track
« Reply #17 on: October 21, 2007, 12:52:14 AM »
By the way, what in the hell does any of this have to do with Martinsville Speedway????  LMAO!   ;D :D ;D :D ;D

caboolarue

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Re: My Favorite Track
« Reply #18 on: October 21, 2007, 12:53:16 AM »
F Oklahoma.  What woman would want a "sooner" anyways?  Every woman I've ever known likes a guy that takes his time and does it right.   ;D ;D ;D
LMAO, you got that right.

#1Jimmiefan

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Re: My Favorite Track
« Reply #19 on: October 21, 2007, 12:55:29 AM »
F Oklahoma.  What woman would want a "sooner" anyways?  Every woman I've ever known likes a guy that takes his time and does it right.   ;D ;D ;D

HEY! Not everyone in Oklahoma likes the Sooners! I like my Cowboys! Don't want a man that can't finish the job.   ;D