Driver Handicaps: Martinsville

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This weekend the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series heads to Martinsville Speedway for Sunday's Goody's Fast Pain Relief 500. To help you make your fantasy racing picks, RacingOne brings you our weekly detailed look at some of the field for the 500-lap event.

Who's HOT at Martinsville
• Jeff Gordon leads all active drivers in wins (7), top fives (20) and laps led (2,613).
• Five-Time winner Jimmie Johnson leads all drivers with a 5.6 average finish.
• Defending race winner Denny Hamlin has a 3.4 average finish in his last five starts.
• Dale Earnhardt Jr. has led 307 laps en route to three top 10s in the last four races.
• Tony Stewart has finished seventh or better in five of his last seven starts, including a win in this event in 2006.

Keep an Eye on at Martinsville
• Of the drivers not already mentioned - Jeff Burton, Clint Bowyer and Carl Edwards all have an average finish of 10.0 or better in the four races at Martinsville with the new car.
• Mark Martin will be making his first start since 2006 at Martinsville, a track where he has recorded two wins and 21 top 10s.
• Martinsville is Juan Pablo Montoya's best oval on the circuit based on his 12.8 average finish.
• Matt Kenseth has finished in the top 10 in three of the four COT races at Martinsville.
• Martinsville is one of five tracks on the circuit where Bobby Labonte has captured 13 or more top 10s.
• Ryan Newman has the fourth best average finish (12.8) over the past five years at Martinsville.
• If Kyle Busch is to score back-to-short track wins, he will need to improve his 33.5 average finish with Joe Gibbs Racing at Martinsville.

Best Average Finish at Martinsville
Last # of Races Driver
Avg. Fin.
Two Races Jimmie Johnson
2.5
Four Races Jimmie Johnson
1.8
Six Races Jimmie Johnson
1.8
Eight Races Jeff Gordon
2.5
10 Races Jimmie Johnson
2.7

Martinsville Loop Data Stat Leaders (2005-2008)
*Fastest Early in a Run
*Fastest Late in a Run
Avg. Running Position
1. Jeff Gordon
1. Jeff Gordon
1. Jimmie Johnson - 6.4
2. Jimmie Johnson
2. Jimmie Johnson
2. Jeff Gordon - 6.8
3. Tony Stewart
3. Tony Stewart
3. Tony Stewart - 7.4
4. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
4. Denny Hamlin
4. Dale Earnhardt Jr. - 10.4
5. Denny Hamlin
5. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
5. Denny Hamlin - 12.0
Laps in Top 15
*Quality Passes
*Driver Rating
1. Jimmie Johnson - 3579
1. Jeff Gordon - 220
1. Jimmie Johnson - 124.7
2. Jeff Gordon - 3539
2. Dale Earnhardt Jr. - 219
2. Jeff Gordon - 124.0
3. Tony Stewart - 3471
3. Jimmie Johnson - 214
3. Tony Stewart - 113.7
4. Dale Earnhardt Jr. - 3049
4. Kyle Busch - 199
4. Dale Earnhardt Jr. - 102.4
5. Kyle Busch - 2666
5. Tony Stewart - 193
5. Denny Hamlin - 101.3

*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.


For a complete look at all the loop data statistics for Martinsville Speedway Click Here to view RacingOne's Goody's Fast Pain Relief 500 pre-race eBook.

Season Loop Data Leaders
*Fastest Early in a Run
*Fastest Late in a Run
Avg. Running Position
1. Jeff Gordon
1. Carl Edwards
1. Jeff Gordon - 6.1
2. Carl Edwards
2. Kurt Busch
2. Jimmie Johnson - 7.2
2. Matt Kenseth
2. Matt Kenseth
3. Kyle Busch - 10.0
4. Kurt Busch
4. Jeff Gordon
4. Carl Edwards - 10.2
5. Greg Biffle
5. Jimmie Johnson
5. Denny Hamlin - 10.5
Laps in Top 15
*Quality Passes
*Driver Rating
1. Jeff Gordon - 1463
1. Carl Edwards - 305
1. Jeff Gordon - 118.2
2. Jimmie Johnson - 1397
2. Kurt Busch - 272
2. Kyle Busch - 113.0
3. Carl Edwards - 1361
3. Jeff Gordon - 241
3. Jimmie Johnson - 108.1
4. Denny Hamlin - 1243
4. Jeff Burton - 232
4. Kurt Busch - 103.1
5. Kyle Busch - 1122
5. Denny Hamlin - 231
5. Carl Edwards - 100.1
*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.


COT Performers
Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon have dominated the competition in the four races at Martinsville with the new car. Johnson, who has won three of them, has finished in the top five in all of the races and has led 734 laps. Gordon, who has finished second twice in the span, has posted an average finish of 2.8 and has led 407 laps. Defending race winner Denny Hamlin is third in average finish at 3.8. Dale Earnhardt Jr., Matt Kenseth and Clint Bowyer are the only other drivers to have finished in the top 10 in three of the races.

Qualifying Tidbits
There have been seven different pole winners in the past 12 events at Martinsville Speedway. Defending Goody's Fast Pain Relief 500 pole winner Jeff Gordon, who leads all active drivers with seven poles, captured five of them in that span, including three-straight. Ryan Newman is the only other multiple pole winner since 2002. 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 120 races run at Martinsville, 18 have been won from the pole, and 87 were won from within the top 10. Top five starting averages: Gordon (6.9), Newman (7.5), Jimmie Johnson (12.0), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (12.2) and Jamie McMurray (13.2). Past Pole Winners | Starting Positions of Winners

RacingOne Staff Picks
Jeff Wackerlin: Jeff Gordon
Pete Pistone: Jimmie Johnson
Rachael West: Kyle Busch
Kym Opalenik: Denny Hamlin

Top 20 Driver Notes - Ordered by Current Standings

1. Jeff Gordon: Gordon notched his second Martinsville Speedway sweep in 2005 after starting 16th and 15th, respectively. His previous sweep at the track came in 2003, winning both races that year from the pole. In his most recent track start, Gordon finished fourth for his 12th consecutive finish of ninth or better. In total, he has seven wins, seven poles, 20 top fives, 26 top 10s and has led in 24 races for a total of 2,613 laps. Gordon's 6.9 average finish is second among active drivers, just shy of his teammate Jimmie Johnson's mark of 5.6.

2. Kurt Busch: Busch hasn't enjoyed much success at Martinsville Speedway since joining Penske Racing. In six starts with the team, Busch has yet to post a top 10 and has an average finish of 25.0. All of Busch's success at Martinsville came with Roush Racing from 2002-2005 where he captured one win and four top 10s. This weekend Busch will return in the same car (chassis No. 574) that won last June's rain-shortened race at New Hampshire.

3. Clint Bowyer: Bowyer lowered his Martinsville finishing average to 14.0 after posting three consecutive top 10s in his last three starts. Bowyer won the pole for the Martinsville Nationwide race in 2006 and went on to lead 58 laps in the March 2006 truck race on his way to a seventh-place finish. This weekend Bowyer will debut chassis No. 218 in Sunday's Goody's Fast Pain Relief 500.

4. Kyle Busch: Busch posted his best finishes at Martinsville Speedway in 2007 after finishing fourth in both events. The results, which came in his last two track starts with Hendrick Motorsports, helped lower his average finish to 18.2 in seven starts. Last year, Busch finished 38th and 29th, respectively, in his first two track starts with Joe Gibbs Racing. This weekend Busch will be racing the same car (chassis No. 223) that finished eighth at Phoenix last fall.

5. Carl Edwards: Statistically, Martinsville Speedway has been one of Edwards' worst on the Cup Series schedule. But in the past two races, Edwards has crept closer to taking the checkered flag after scoring his first top 10s in nine career starts. With respective finishes of ninth and third in 2008, Edwards has now lowered his overall finishing average at Martinsville to 17.3. This weekend Edwards will be back in the same car (chassis No. RK-587) that he raced at Martinsville last fall.

6. Kasey Kahne: Kahne's seventh-place finish in the 2006 fall race was his second, and last, top 10 in 10 starts at Martinsville Speedway. Last year in this event, Kahne started sixth and finished 17th.

7. Tony Stewart: Stewart captured his second Martinsville Speedway win in the 2006 spring race after dominating three consecutive events, leading a combined 818 laps. Since then, Stewart has only led 11 laps, but has combined for an average finish of 11.0. Last year in this event, Stewart finished fifth for his 11th top 10 in 20 starts. This weekend Stewart will debut a new car (chassis No. 525) in the Goody’s Fast Pain Relief 500.

8. Denny Hamlin: After posting three straight finishes of sixth or better, Hamlin was finally able to pull into Victory Lane at Martinsville Speedway in this event last year. He led 82, of his track total 235 laps, in that event after starting from outside the front row. Noted as one of the toughest tracks to conquer as a rookie, Hamlin went out and finished eighth in the 2005 fall event at Martinsville in just his third career Sprint Cup start. In the 2006 spring race, Hamlin never recovered from a bad qualifying run and went on to score his only DNF of that season. Hamlin, who finished fifth last year in the fall at Martinsville, will be racing a new car (chassis No. 238) in the Goody's Fast Pain Relief 500.

9. Jimmie Johnson: Johnson has finished in the top five in the last seven races at Martinsville Speedway, which includes four wins. He combined to lead 1,174 laps in that span and his overall average finish of 5.6 (14 starts) leads all drivers.

10. Matt Kenseth: Kenseth has finished outside of the top 15 three times in the last 10 events at Martinsville Speedway. His worst finish in that span came in this event last year when he took the checkered flag in 30th. Last October, Kenseth finished eighth for his sixth top 10 in 18 starts.

11. David Reutimann: Reutimann has posted an average finish of 28.2 in four starts at Martinsville Speedway. His best finish came in the 2007 fall race after taking the checkered flag in 17th.

12. Kevin Harvick: Harvick has six top-10 finishes in 15 career starts at Martinsville Speedway. He matched his best finish, of seventh, for the third time last fall. Harvick was last out front at Martinsville in the fall of 2004 when he led 104 of his track total of 147 laps. This weekend Harvick will pilot the same car (chassis No. 258) that finished 13th at Lowe's Motor Speedway last fall.

13. Jeff Burton: Burton has competed in nine races at Martinsville Speedway with Richard Childress Racing. His third-place finish in this event last year was his third top 10, and best finish, with the team. 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 662, Burton is ranked fifth in laps led (574 coming with Roush) among active drivers at Martinsville. This weekend Burton will be behind the wheel of a car (chassis No. 255) that has posted an average finish of 18.4 in seven starts in 2008. The car last finished 40th at Homestead-Miami.

14. Brian Vickers: Last season, Vickers finished 23rd and 11th, respectively, in his first two starts at Martinsville Speedway with Team Red Bull. He previously attempted two races with the team but failed to qualify for them in 2007. In his previous six starts at Martinsville with Hendrick Motorsports, Vickers posted one top 10 and an average finish of 22.7.

15. Juan Pablo Montoya: Martinsville is Juan Pablo Montoya's best oval on the circuit based on his 12.8 average finish. Montoya has one top-10 and four top-20 finishes at the .526-mile oval. His best finish, of eighth, came in the 2007 fall race. This weekend Montoya will drive the same car (chassis No. 817) that raced in both Richmond events in 2008.

16. AJ Allmendinger: Allmendinger is the only driver to qualify for all five races who entered the 2009 season without a guaranteed starting spot. His 16th-place position in owner points guarantees the No. 44 Dodge a starting spot in the Goody's Fast Pain Relief 500. This weekend Allmendinger will pilot a new car (chassis No. 283) when he makes his fourth start at the .526-mile oval. Last fall he scored a 15th-place finish with Richard Petty Motorsports.

17. Elliott Sadler: Sadler hasn't fared too well in his five starts at Martinsville Speedway with Richard Petty Motorsports (Gillett-Evernham). After placing 38th when an engine expired in his No. 19 Dodge in his first track start with the team, Sadler went on to post an average finish of 30.0 in his next four starts. The No. 19 car is the third team Sadler has competed with at Martinsville Speedway following Yates Racing and the Woods Brothers. Sadler's three top 10s at the track all came with Yates.

18. Greg Biffle: Biffle's lone top 10 in 12 starts at Martinsville Speedway came in the 2007 fall race. Biffle started 37th and was able to post a seventh-place finish to lower his overall average finish to 22.7. Last year, Biffle finished 20th and 12th, respectively.

19. Dale Earnhardt Jr: Earnhardt Jr. has finished in the top five in eight of the last 14 races at Martinsville Speedway. His second-place finish last fall is his best performance in 18 starts at the half-mile track. Last year in this event, he led 146 laps en route to a sixth-place finish in his first track start with Hendrick Motorsports.

20. Martin Truex Jr: Truex Jr. is coming off his first top-10 finish in six starts at Martinsville Speedway. This weekend Truex will pilot the same car (chassis No. 078) that finished 43rd at Phoenix last fall due to overheating.

Notable Drivers Outside the Top 20

23. Bobby Labonte: Labonte has made 32 starts at Martinsville Speedway, capturing one win and one pole. His last four starts have resulted in finishes of 22nd or worse. Prior to that, he recorded one top 10 with Petty Enterprises and 12 top 10s with Joe Gibbs Racing. Last week Labonte tested at Rockingham Speedway in anticipation for his first start with Hall of Fame Racing at Martinsville.

27. Ryan Newman: With the exception of the last four races, Newman has qualified within the top 10 in all of his starts at Martinsville Speedway. Two of the starts have come from the pole, both in fall events (2002, 2004). Overall, Newman has posted an average finish of 15.0 and has led 83 laps. His best finish, of second, came in the 2007 fall race. This weekend Newman will make his Martinsville debut with Stewart-Haas Racing.

28. Jamie McMurray: Martinsville is McMurray's best short track on the circuit based on his 16.9 average finish. The track is also his best qualifying oval on the schedule with an average starting position of 13.2. In his six starts with Roush-Fenway Racing, McMurray has finished in the top 10 three times, including this event last year. This weekend McMurray will be driving a new car (chassis No. 637) in the Goody's Fast Pain Relief 500.

31. Mark Martin: Martin made 42 starts at Martinsville Speedway and has captured two victories, 11 top fives and 21 top 10s. He also earned three consecutive poles at the short track from September 1990 through September 1991. This weekend he will pilot the same car (chassis No. 515) that finished sixth at Martinsville last October with driver Casey Mears.

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