"Mms" Team Just Misses Another Top Ten

Martinsville Speedway is a menace to drivers and crew members. The track is by far the most unique on the circuit, sporting a paperclip shape where the straight-aways are a mere 800 feet long. The corners are tight, with really only two turns. The distance between turns one and two, three and four respectively is a quick turn of the wheel, but a tricky maneuver that goes from full throttle to full brakes in the blink of an eye.

Mastering the track’s tricky turns is only part of the battle. Once the race begins drivers must maintain a masterful level of calm and patience while every other car they pass leaves a ‘donut’ or tire mark. Sheet metal damage is common, but Ken Schrader and the “M&M’s”® Racing Team managed to leave Martinsville with only a few scrapes and dents.

The result of a hard fought race with outstanding pit strategy was an 11th-place finish for Schrader and the Newt Moore led crew. After starting from the 20th position, Schrader and the “M&M’s”® Pontiac began the steady game of passing cars at Martinsville. When the first yellow flag was displayed on lap 54, the “M&M’s”® Pontiac was up to the 15th position. The crew elected to change four tires and make a minor adjustment while some other cars elected to stay on the track and not pit.

Thus began the pit strategy competition. With harder tires that last much longer, the idea to pit or not to pit was tricky. Headed toward the mid section of the race, a caution was displayed on lap 176, not long after the “M&M’s”® Racing Team had pitted. Newt Moore made the call to stay on the track and the result was restarting in the 11th position – and at Martinsville track position is critical.

The field shifted positions several times as teams alternated pitting under yellow, so Schrader was running anywhere from 10-th to 15th. As the laps continued to click off, Schrader maintained the 15th position with a loose race car, but as other cars with older tires started to fall off, the “M&M’s”® Racing Team was able to pick up some positions. The crew came in for its last stop of the day on lap 445 to tightened up the car and take four tires, while some cars elected to stay on the track or take only two tires.

The “M&M’s”® Pontiac restarted 16th on lap 452 and over the next 48 laps Schrader and the No. 36 “M&M’s”® Pontiac made their way to the 11th position. The finish also helped the team maintain its points position.

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Monster Energy NASCAR Cup, 2001

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