Cut To The Chase: Martinsville

RacingOne breaks down each of the 2006 "Chase for the NEXTEL Cup" competitor's performances at Martinsville Speedway with comprehensive statistics and notes by driver.

1. Jeff Burton
Points: 5763
Best Chase Track by Average: Phoenix
Total Wins on Chase Tracks: 11 (Including Dover 2006)
Average Martinsville Finish Rank Among Chase Drivers: Fourth

Jeff Burton has competed in four races at Martinsville Speedway with Richard Childress Racing. His fifth-place finish in this event last year is his only top 10 with the team at the track. His lone Martinsville win came in this event in 1997. The victory was one of the 11 top 10s he recorded with Roush Racing. At 574, Burton holds the second highest total in laps led (all coming with Roush) among the "Chase" contenders. This weekend Burton will pilot the same car (chassis No. 175) that finished ninth at Richmond (September) and seventh at New Hampshire in July.

Track
Starts
Poles
Wins
Avg. Start
Avg. Finish
Laps Led
% Completed
DNFs
Martinsville
24
0
1
16.9
14.3
574
92.5
3
Atlanta
24
0
0
27.5
18.0
101
93.1
3
Texas
11
0
1
27.2
17.5
145
96.1
1
Phoenix
14
0
2
23.5
11.6
215
99.6
0
Homestead
7
0
0
24.3
13.7
5
97.7
0
Totals
80
0
4
23.9
15.0
1040
95.8
7


2. Matt Kenseth
Points Behind: -45
Best Chase Track by Average: New Hampshire
Total Wins on Chase Tracks: 4
Average Martinsville Finish Rank Among Chase Drivers: Sixth

Matt Kenseth finished 24th in the spring at Martinsville Speedway. It marked his first finish outside the top 20 since finishing 22nd in the 2003 spring race. Kenseth's three top 10s in 13 Martinsville starts have all come in the spring race. Kenseth's best finish in the fall came last year in this event when he led 19 laps on his way to a 12th-place finish. With two top fives coming at Bristol, Kenseth's short-track average is 14.8 in 2006. This weekend he will fly the R+L Carriers colors on chassis RK-164. This is the same car that holds an average finish of 15.7 in the last three starts at Martinsville.

Track
Starts
Poles
Wins
Avg. Start
Avg. Finish
Laps Led
% Completed
DNFs
Martinsville
13
0
0
24.5
17.2
59
98.4
2
Atlanta
13
0
0
25.5
17.5
49
91.7
3
Texas
8
0
1
20.1
12.1
313
98.1
1
Phoenix
8
0
1
21.0
20.8
60
82.2
3
Homestead
6
0
0
26.0
25.5
0
82.1
2
Totals
48
0
2
23.4
18.6
481
90.5
11


3. Kevin Harvick
Points: -89
Best Chase Track by Average: Homestead
Total Wins on Chase Tracks: 3 (Including New Hampshire 2006)
Average Martinsville Finish Rank Among Chase Drivers: Ninth

Kevin Harvick has three top-10 finishes in seven career starts at Martinsville Speedway with his best finish of seventh coming in the 2003 fall and 2006 spring race. He last was out front at Martinsville in the fall of 2004 when he led 104 of his track total of 147 laps. This weekend Harvick will drive the same car (chassis No. 167) that won at Phoenix and Richmond this season.

Track
Starts
Poles
Wins
Avg. Start
Avg. Finish
Laps Led
% Completed
DNFs
Martinsville
10
0
0
18.1
19.1
147
97.7
0
Atlanta
11
1
1
17.2
24.6
59
95.7
3
Texas
7
0
0
23.1
13.4
4
99.8
0
Phoenix
7
0
1
16.1
16.4
10
99.2
0
Homestead
5
0
0
15.6
9.4
59
100.0
0
Totals
40
1
2
18.0
16.6
279
98.5
3


4. Mark Martin
Points Behind: -102
Best Chase Track by Average: Phoenix
Total Wins on Chase Tracks: 17
Average Martinsville Finish Rank Among Chase Drivers: Third

Mark Martin has competed in the most races (41) at Martinsville Speedway among the "Chase" contenders. He holds both a 13.2 starting and finishing average at the .536-mile track. All but four of his starts have come behind the wheel of a Roush Racing Ford. Martin's last of two victories came in the 2000 spring race after leading 64 laps - the only time he has led more than 50 circuits in one Martinsville race. Martin will be behind the wheel of the same car (chassis RK-221) that most recently finished 11th at New Hampshire in September.

Track
Starts
Poles
Wins
Avg. Start
Avg. Finish
Laps Led
% Completed
DNFs
Martinsville
41
3
2
13.2
13.2
318
93.7
6
Atlanta
41
1
2
10.4
15.7
924
87.4
12
Texas
11
0
1
12.0
13.5
169
92.5
1
Phoenix
20
0
1
11.4
9.4
582
97.5
1
Homestead
7
0
0
18.0
11.6
30
98.7
1
Totals
120
4
6
13.0
12.7
2023
94.0
21


5. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Points Behind: -106
Best Chase Track by Average: Texas
Total Wins on Chase Tracks: 10
Average Martinsville Finish Rank Among Chase Drivers: Fifth

Dale Earnhardt Jr. has finished in the top five in six of the last nine races at Martinsville Speedway. A pair of third-place finishes in the spring races in 2003 and 2004 mark Junior's best performances in 13 starts at the half-mile track. His 451 laps led ranks third among the "Chase" contenders at Martinsville. The Budweiser team will unload the same chassis (No. 41) that finished fourth in the spring race.

Track
Starts
Poles
Wins
Avg. Start
Avg. Finish
Laps Led
% Completed
DNFs
Martinsville
13
0
0
12.8
14.4
451
97.6
2
Atlanta
14
1
1
15.7
11.9
475
99.1
1
Texas
8
1
1
8.5
10.8
253
94.7
1
Phoenix
8
0
2
15.1
17.2
310
90.9
2
Homestead
6
0
0
20.8
19.2
46
99.7
0
Totals
49
2
4
14.6
14.7
1535
96.4
6


6. Denny Hamlin
Points Behind: -137
Best Chase Track by Average: Texas
Total Wins on Chase Tracks: 0
Average Martinsville Finish Rank Among Chase Drivers: Tenth

This weekend Denny Hamlin has a great shot of getting his first Truck Series win as a prelude to making his third NEXTEL Cup Series start at Martinsville Speedway. Hamlin will be driving the No. 46 Chevrolet in his sixth Truck Series start. Noted as one of the toughest tracks to conquer as a rookie, Hamlin went out and finished eighth in this event last yaer in just his third career Cup start. In the spring at Martinsville, Hamlin never recovered from a bad qualifying run and went on to score his only DNF of 2006. Prior to Cup racing, Hamlin competed in the late model races at Martinsville where he posted three top 10s. This weekend, Hamlin will return in the same car (chassis No. 105) that opened the "Chase" with a fourth-place finish at New Hampshire.

Track
Starts
Poles
Wins
Avg. Start
Avg. Finish
Laps Led
% Completed
DNFs
Martinsville
2
0
0
23.0
22.5
0
80.7
0
Atlanta
2
0
0
16.0
25.0
16
99.5
0
Texas
2
0
0
11.0
5.5
41
100.0
0
Phoenix
2
1
0
3.5
23.5
23
96.3
0
Homestead
1
0
0
42.0
33.0
1
98.5
0
Totals
9
1
0
19.0
21.9
81
95.0
0


7. Jimmie Johnson
Points Behind: -146
Best Chase Track by Average: Charlotte
Total Wins on Chase Tracks: 13
Average Martinsville Finish Rank Among Chase Drivers: Second

Jimmie Johnson won his first race at Martinsville Speedway in the 2004 October event. His win came in his current streak of eight consecutive finishes of ninth or better dating back to this event in 2002. Johnson won his first track pole in the spring and then went on to capture his second straight third-place finish. Johnson, who has led 366 laps at the .526-mile speedway, will be the same car (chassis No. 48278) that raced in the last two Martinsville events.

Track
Starts
Poles
Wins
Avg. Start
Avg. Finish
Laps Led
% Completed
DNFs
Martinsville
9
1
1
13.8
7.9
366
98.8
1
Atlanta
10
0
1
9.8
11.8
176
99.3
1
Texas
6
0
0
11.7
7.0
2
100.0
0
Phoenix
6
0
0
12.8
8.7
85
100.0
0
Homestead
5
0
0
25.4
15.6
34
89.3
1
Totals
36
1
2
14.7
10.2
663
97.5
3


8. Kasey Kahne
Points Behind: -160
Best Chase Track by Average: Atlanta
Total Wins on Chase Tracks: 4 (Including Charlotte 2006)
Average Martinsville Finish Rank Among Chase Drivers: Seventh

Kasey Kahne posted his best finish at Martinsville Speedway with a runner-up performance in the 2005 spring race. The finish marked his only top 10 in five starts. Kahne's rookie season in 2004, saw him lead his only laps at the track with a combined total of 18. The last two Martinsville races saw Kahne finish 17th and 35th, respectively.

Track
Starts
Poles
Wins
Avg. Start
Avg. Finish
Laps Led
% Completed
DNFs
Martinsville
5
0
0
25.4
17.6
18
94.9
1
Atlanta
5
1
1
11.2
9.8
89
97.0
1
Texas
4
1
1
5.5
20.0
211
81.4
2
Phoenix
4
0
0
15.5
13.8
0
99.9
0
Homestead
2
0
0
3.5
27.0
0
85.3
1
Totals
20
2
2
12.2
17.6
318
91.7
5


9. Kyle Busch
Points Behind: -195
Best Chase Track by Average: Dover
Total Wins on Chase Tracks: 2
Average Martinsville Finish Rank Among Chase Drivers: Eighth

In the last two races at Martinsville Speedway, Kyle Busch has finished ninth and fifth, respectively. His first track start in 2005 resulted in a 39th-place finish after mechanical problems took him out of contention. Busch, who also has one top five in the Truck Series at Martinsville, will be back in the same car (chassis No. 263) that has raced in all of his Martinsville events. This car was also tested at Caraway Speedway earlier this month.

Track
Starts
Poles
Wins
Avg. Start
Avg. Finish
Laps Led
% Completed
DNFs
Martinsville
3
0
0
20.3
17.7
0
86.9
1
Atlanta
4
0
0
23.5
19.8
4
78.4
1
Texas
3
0
0
28.3
25.3
0
99.1
0
Phoenix
3
1
1
14.3
15.0
78
94.3
0
Homestead
1
0
0
4.0
41.0
0
43.1
1
Totals
14
1
1
18.1
23.8
82
80.4
3


10. Jeff Gordon
Points Behind: -216
Best Chase Track by Average: Kansas
Total Wins on Chase Tracks: 28
Average Martinsville Finish Rank Among Chase Drivers: First

Jeff Gordon notched his second Martinsville Speedway sweep last season after starting 16th and 15th, respectively. His last sweep at the track came in 2003, winning both races that year from the pole. In this year's spring race he finished second for his seventh consecutive finish of ninth or better. In total, he has seven wins, five poles, 15 top fives, 21 top 10s and has led in 19 races for a total of 2,041 laps. The April race marked the first time Gordon never led a lap since this event in 2002. Gordon's 7.6 average finish currently leads all active drivers.

Track
Starts
Poles
Wins
Avg. Start
Avg. Finish
Laps Led
% Completed
DNFs
Martinsville
27
5
7
7.3
7.6
2041
99.1
0
Atlanta
28
1
4
14.1
13.6
976
90.2
5
Texas
11
0
0
11.0
17.5
133
87.7
2
Phoenix
15
1
0
10.3
8.9
191
97.4
1
Homestead
7
0
0
15.4
9.6
46
99.8
0
Totals
88
7
11
11.6
11.4
3387
94.8
8

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