Driver Handicaps: Martinsville

    This weekend the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series heads back to Martinsville Speedway for the Goody's Cool Orange 500. To help you make your Dale Jr. Reality Cup Racing fantasy picks, RacingOne brings you our weekly detailed look at some of the field for the 500-lap event.

    Who's HOT at Martinsville Speedway

  • Jeff Gordon leads all active drivers with seven wins.
  • Jimmie Johnson holds the best finishing average (7.2) among active drivers.
  • Tony Stewart is the defending race winner.
  • Ricky Rudd is second among active drivers in laps led with 1,571.

    Keep an Eye on at Martinsville Speedway

  • Jeff Burton has the second best finishing average (12.9) among drivers that have competed in every event since 1998.
  • Denny Hamlin has two top-10 finishes in three Martinsville starts.
  • Dale Earnhardt Jr. has finished in the top five in six of the last 10 Martinsville races.
  • Bobby Labonte finished third in his second track start with Petty Enterprises.
  • Ryan Newman has qualified within the top 10 in all 10 of his starts.
  • Kasey Kahne finished seventh in his last Martinsville start, plus the team seems to have a handle on the Car of Tomorrow.
  • Kevin Harvick is coming off two consecutive top 10s at Martinsville.
  • Kurt Busch has started inside the top 10 in five of the last six Martinsville races.

    Martinsville Rookie Report
    Juan Pablo Montoya and AJ Allmendinger are the only Raybestos Rookie of the Year candidates that have not competed at Martinsville Speedway in one of NASCAR's top divisions. David Ragan is the only rookie that has made a NEXTEL Cup start at Martinsville. Ragan finished 25th last fall, but not before many on track incidents with the most memorable coming with Ken Schrader. David Reutimann has made the most NASCAR starts at Martinsville, with six all coming in the Truck Series where he had an average finish of 20.8. Both Paul Menard and Regan Smith competed in the Busch event last July finishing 12th and 14th, respectively. Although he's not officially a Raybestos Rookie, this weekend will mark Regan Smith's second career Cup start. Rookie Standings

    Qualifying Tidbits
    There have been six different Bud Pole winners in the past 10 events at Martinsville Speedway. Jeff Gordon, who leads all active drivers with five poles, captured four of them in that span, including three-straight. Ryan Newman is the only other multiple pole winner since 2002. Kurt Busch is the latest pole winner at Martinsville. Tony Stewart set the current qualifying record of 98.083 mph in the 2005 fall event, for his third pole at the track. Out of the 111 races run at Martinsville, 17 have been won from the pole, and 84 were won from within the top 10. Past Pole Winners | Starting Positions of Martinsville Winners

    Looking For Speed
    Scott Riggs holds the best average start among the drivers required to qualify on time, at 12.3. Riggs won his first career NEXTEL Cup pole in this event back in 2005. It was his second top-10 start in six races at the track. Ken Schrader, who has competed in the most races at Martinsville among the group, is second in average at 16.4. Besides Riggs, Kenny Wallace and Ward Burton are the only drivers with a pole at Martinsville. Qualifying Averages

    Martinsville Speedway Loop Data Stat Leaders (2005-2006 season)
    *Fastest Early in a Run
    *Fastest Late in a Run
    Avg. Running Pos.
    1. Tony Stewart
    1. Tony Stewart
    1. Tony Stewart - 4.2
    2. Johnny Sauter
    2. Jeff Gordon
    2. Jeff Gordon - 8.3
    3. Jeff Gordon
    3. Jimmie Johnson
    3. Jimmie Johnson - 8.4
    4. Jimmie Johnson
    4. Kasey Kahne
    4. Ricky Rudd - 10.5
    5. Ricky Rudd
    5. Kurt Busch
    5. Kurt Busch - 11.4
    Laps in Top 15
    *Quality Passes
    *Driver Rating
    1. Tony Stewart - 1901
    1. Dale Earnhardt Jr. - 108
    1. Tony Stewart - 129.4
    2. Jeff Gordon - 1672
    2. Kyle Busch - 95
    2. Jeff Gordon - 122.9
    3. Jimmie Johnson - 1612
    3. Jimmie Johnson - 93
    3. Jimmie Johnson - 116.0
    4. Kyle Busch - 1483
    4. Jeff Gordon - 86
    4. Ricky Rudd - 97.2
    5. Kurt Busch - 1476
    5. Rusty Wallace - 40
    5. Kurt Busch - 94.1

    *Fastest Early In a Run: Ranks each driver during the first 25 percent of laps run since a pit stop.
    *Fastest Late In a Run: Ranks each driver during last 25 percent of laps run since a pit stop.
    *Quality Passes: Passing a car running in the Top 15 while under a green flag.
    *Driver Rating : Formula combining the following categories: Wins, Finishes, Top-15 Finishes, Average Running Position While on Lead Lap, Average Speed Under Green, Fastest Lap, Led Most Laps, Lead-Lap Finish. Maximum: 150 points per race.

    Dale Jr. Reality Cup Tiebreakers

    Last Five Number of Lead Changes

    Average: 16.4

    Last Five Number of Cautions Laps

    Average: 104.6

    *RacingOne Staff Picks

    Jeff Wackerlin: Denny Hamlin

    Pete Pistone: Jimmie Johnson

    Jorge Mondaca: Tony Raines

    Rachael West: Jeff Burton

    *Note: Drivers can be selected only one time per season. Race points will be added up each week. This is the third race of the season for this section of the handicaps. Standings

    1. Jeff Gordon (Points: 791): Gordon notched his second Martinsville Speedway sweep in 2005 after starting 16th and 15th, respectively. His last sweep at the track came in 2003, winning both races that year from the pole. In his most recent track start, Gordon finished fifth for his eighth consecutive finish of ninth or better. In total, he has seven wins, five poles, 16 top fives, 22 top 10s and has led in 20 races for a total of 2,206 laps. This event last year, marked the first time Gordon never led a lap at Martinsville since 2002. Gordon's 7.5 average finish is second among active drivers, just shy of his teammate Jimmie Johnson's mark of 7.2.

    2. Jeff Burton (Points Behind Leader: -3): Jeff Burton has competed in five races at Martinsville Speedway with Richard Childress Racing. His fifth-place finish in the 2005 fall event 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 is ranked fifth in laps led (all coming with Roush) among active drivers.

    3. Jimmie Johnson (Points Behind Leader: -75): Johnson won two races at Martinsville Speedway in the 2004 and 2006 October event. His wins came in his current streak of nine consecutive finishes of ninth or better dating back to 2002. Johnson won his first track pole last year in this event and then went on to capture his second straight third-place finish. Johnson has led 611 laps at the .526-mile speedway.

    4. Matt Kenseth (Points Behind Leader: -94): Last year in this event, Kenseth finished 24th in his 14th start 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 have all come in the spring race. Kenseth's best finish in the fall came last year when he placed 11th.

    5. Kevin Harvick (Points Behind Leader: -144): Harvick has four top-10 finishes in 11 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.

    6. Kyle Busch (Points Behind Leader: -152): In the last three races at Martinsville Speedway, Kyle Busch has finished ninth, fifth and 18th, respectively. His first track start in 2005 resulted in a 39th-place finish after mechanical problems took him out of contention. Busch also has two top 10s in the Truck Series at Martinsville.

    8. Clint Bowyer (Points Behind Leader: -170): Bowyer finished 22nd and 23rd, respectively, in his first two NEXTEL Cup starts at Martinsville Speedway in 2006. He won the pole for the Martinsville Busch race and went on to lead 58 laps en route to a second-place finish. He also led 84 laps in the 2006 truck race last October on his way to a seventh-place finish.

    9. Denny Hamlin (Points Behind Leader: -185): Noted as one of the toughest tracks to conquer as a rookie, Hamlin went out and finished eighth in the fall event at Martinsville Speedway in just his third career NEXTEL Cup start. In this event last year, Hamlin never recovered from a bad qualifying run and went on to score his only DNF of 2006. He made up for his spring run in the fall by qualifying third and finishing second. Prior to Cup racing, Hamlin competed in the late model races at Martinsville where he posted three top 10s.

    10. Carl Edwards (Points Behind Leader: -193): Edwards has yet to finish inside the top 10 in five career starts at Martinsville Speedway. Edwards, who finished 12th last year, saw his best track performance come in the Craftsman Truck Series race in 2003 when he finished second.

    11. David Stremme (Points Behind Leader: -204): Stremme has posted an average finish of 26.5 in his two career NEXTEL Cup starts at Martinsville Speedway.

    12. Tony Stewart (Points Behind Leader: -216): Stewart finally got his second Martinsville Speedway win in this event last year after dominating three consecutive events, leading a combined 818 laps. In the fall, Stewart did not lead any laps for the first time since 2004, but did go on to capture his ninth top 10 in his 16th start.

    13. Elliott Sadler (Points Behind Leader: -248): This weekend, Sadler will make his 16th start - second with Evernham Motorsports - at Martinsville Speedway. Last spring, he drove the Robert Yates Racing Ford to a sixth-place finish for his third top 10. His only top-five finish (fifth) came in the spring race in 2003. That race saw him lead for the second time at the track for five laps. He led for the first time at the track in this event in 2001 for 34 laps. In his first track start with Evernham Motorsports he finished 38th.

    14. Bobby Labonte (Points Behind Leader: -266): Labonte has made 28 starts at Martinsville Speedway, capturing one win and one pole. His last five of 13 top 10s at Martinsville have all been finishes of fourth or better. Last year, Labonte finished 32nd and third in his first track starts with Petty Enterprises.

    15. J.J. Yeley (Points Behind Leader: -269): Yeley finished 20th and 31st, respectively, in his only NEXTEL Cup starts at Martinsville Speedway. His best track finish came in the Busch Series when he started 10th and finished ninth. Yeley did lead one lap in this event last year.

    16. Greg Biffle (Points Behind Leader: -270):
    In eight starts, Biffle has never finished in the top 15 at Martinsville Speedway. He scored his best finish of 17th in the 2004 fall race. Although Biffle has yet to perform well at the Virginia track in the Cup Series, he has posted one pole and two top 10s in three Craftsman Truck Series starts.

    17. Dale Earnhardt Jr. (Points Behind Leader: -279): Earnhardt Jr. has finished in the top five in six of the last 10 races at Martinsville Speedway. A pair of third-place finishes in the spring races in 2003 and 2004 mark Junior's best performances in 14 starts at the half-mile track.

    18. Jamie McMurray (Points Behind Leader: -279): McMurray finished ninth in his first Martinsville start with Roush Racing last spring. The finish was his fifth top 10 in eight starts at the track. McMurray's best Martinsville finish (second) came in the 2004 fall race when he led 43 of his 49 career laps at the track.

    20. Kurt Busch (Points Behind Leader: -294): Busch has competed in 13 races at Martinsville Speedway posting four top-10 finishes, including a win in the 2000 fall race. His lone victory came from the 36th starting position, the farthest back a race winner has started at Martinsville by 12 positions. Busch finished 11th and 27th, respectively, in his first two track starts with Penske Racing in 2006. He also won the pole for the fall race.

    21. Robby Gordon (Points Behind Leader: -294): Gordon has yet to post a top-15 finish in 13 starts at Martinsville Speedway. His average finish is 32.9.

    23. Ryan Newman (Points Behind Leader: -323): Newman has qualified within the top 10 in all 10 of his starts at Martinsville Speedway. Two of the starts have come from the pole, both in the fall events (2002, 2004). Last year in this event, Newman finished 18th, ending a streak of five consecutive top 10s at the track. He went on to finish 13th in the spring, bringing his track average to 15.2.

    24. David Gilliland (Points Behind Leader: -343): Gilliland started 29th and finished 28th in his only NEXTEL Cup start at Martinsville Speedway.

    25. Martin Truex Jr. (Points Behind Leader: -347): Truex Jr. has only made two career NEXTEL Cup starts at Martinsville Speedway where he has an average finishing position of 27.5.

    26. Casey Mears (Points Behind Leader: -362): In eight career NEXTEL Cup starts at Martinsville Speedway, Mears has one top-10 finish and an average finishing position of 23.9.

    27. Jeff Green (Points Behind Leader: -367): Green captured his second top 10 at Martinsville Speedway last October with his current team Haas/CNC. He has yet to lead a lap in 13 starts.

    28. Joe Nemechek (Points Behind Leader: -371): Nemechek has yet to post a top-five finish at Martinsville Speedway in 25 starts. His best finish came in the 2005 spring race when he finished 10th. He has led in three races (116 laps), including the fall event in 1999 for 76 laps after starting on the pole in the No. 42 Felix Sabates Chevrolet.

    29. Reed Sorenson (Points Behind Leader: -386): Sorenson only has two career NEXTEL Cup starts at Martinsville Speedway where he has an average finish of 23.5.

    30. Tony Raines (Points Behind Leader: -387): Sunday will mark Raines' fifth start at Martinsville and third with Hall of Fame Racing. His best finish (14th) came last October after starting 11th.

    31. Sterling Marlin (Points Behind Leader: -391): This race at Martinsville Speedway marks Marlin's 42nd start there. He has posted four top fives and 14 top 10s and has led in 11 races for 503 laps. Last year's spring race was Marlin's first track start with Ginn Racing. In that event he led nine laps and finished 14th.

    32. Kyle Petty (Points Behind Leader: -409): Petty will be making his 53rd career Martinsville start on Sunday where he’s posted five top fives and 15 top-10 finishes.

    33. Ricky Rudd (Points Behind Leader: -417): In 53 starts at Martinsville Speedway, Rudd has captured 20 top 10s and has an average finish of 14.9. Sunday will mark Rudd's seventh NEXTEL Cup track start with Robert Yates Racing where he holds an average finish of 12.8 with the team.

    34. Kasey Kahne (Points Behind Leader: -426): Kahne is coming off his second career top 10 at Martinsville Speedway with his seventh-place finish last October. Last year in this event, Kahne recorded a DNF, finishing 35th after engine problems.

    35. Johnny Sauter (Points Behind Leader: -445): Sauter is guaranteed a start Sunday, since he's in the top 35 in owner's points, for his third Martinsville Cup race. The start will also mark his first at Martinsville with Haas/CNC Racing.

    36. Dave Blaney (Points Behind Leader: -466): In 12 career Cup starts, Blaney has an average finishing position at Martinsville of 27.8. This weekend he will attempt to make his seventh track start with Bill Davis Racing.

    37. Dale Jarrett (Points Behind Leader: -471): Jarrett made his first career Cup start at Martinsville on April 29, 1984. In the 41 races since then, Jarrett has posted one win, nine top-five and 18 top-10 finishes. His last top 10 at Martinsville came on April 18, 2004, when he finished 10th. Jarrett has led a total of 145 laps at the .526-mile speedway, and has the fourth best finishing average (13.5) among all active drivers that have competed in every event since 1998. This weekend Jarrett will make his first track start with Michael Waltrip Racing.

    38. Brian Vickers (Points Behind Leader: -492): In six career Martinsville starts, Vickers has notched one top 10. This weekend he will attempt to make his first track start with Team Red Bull.

    39. Scott Riggs (Points Behind Leader: -526): Last year in this event, Riggs recorded his first top 10 at Martinsville Speedway by finishing 10th. He won the pole for the 2005 spring race, but battled an ill-handling car during that race, to finish 21st.

    40. Ken Schrader (Points Behind Leader: -547): Schrader looks to make his 45th career Martinsville start where he compiled one top five and 18 top-10 finishes. Last year he finished 40th and 41st, respectively, in his first two track starts with the Woods Brothers.

    42. Mike Bliss (Points Behind Leader: -579): Bliss has competed in seven events at Martinsville Speedway with five different teams. His finishing average is 30.1.

    46. Ward Burton (Points Behind Leader: -648): Burton made his return to NEXTEL Cup racing last fall at Martinsville Speedway where he finished 26th. Prior to that event, his last start at Martinsville came in the fall in 2004. In that race he started fourth and finished 28th behind the wheel of the No. 0 Haas Chevrolet. Burton's three top-10 finishes and one pole at Martinsville came with Bill Davis Racing.

    48. Regan Smith (Points Behind Leader: -703): Smith will make his first NEXTEL Cup appearance at Martinsville Speedway on Sunday.

    50. Jeremy Mayfield (Points Behind Leader: -725): In 22 career Martinsville Cup starts, Mayfield has an average finishing position of 21.8.

    54. Michael Waltrip (Points Behind Leader: -818): Waltrip hopes to make his 43rd career Martinsville start this weekend where he has an average finish of 20.7 and one top-five and five top-10 finishes.

Upcoming Cup Broadcasts

© 2018 MRN. All Rights Reserved

FacebookTwitterDiggDeliciousLinkedInGoogle BookmarksYahoo BookmarksLive (MSN)

ISC Track Sites