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THE NEXT Winston Cup RACE
NEWS, STATS and INFO
THE RACE: Virginia 500
Winston Cup Race #9 of 36 for the 2003 Winston Cup season
Updated: often, leading up to the race
- Rumblings - Martinsville: Jeff Gordon's win was his 4th at Martinsville, the 62nd of his career (he's 7th on the all-time win list), the 110th for Hendrick Motorsports, and he's the first driver to win from the pole this season (Kurt Busch won the 2002 finale at Homestead from the top-spot). We've now had 9 different winners in the first nine races....and Gordon's take of the $4.0+M in posted awards was a cool $219,143 (that's more than Dale got last week at that "big track", tho the posted awards were greater).
Jeff Burton (4th) had his best finish since he was 3rd at Homestead last November.
Ken Schrader (10th) had his best finish since he was 10th at Darlington in September of 2001
STREAKIN....Dale Earnhardt Jr has 6 Top-10's in the last 7 races. Jeff Gordon has 5 Top-10's in the last 6 races.
This Week's Elevator....UP: Operator of the week (in a very quiet shaft this week) is Bobby Labonte (+37). DOWN: The Big Dropper was Ryan Newman (-35), followed by Jamie McMurray (-28). This is the second week in a row that Newman has headlined the downer category.
The best move forward in the points goes to Kenny Wallace (28th to 23rd), while Ryan Newman fell the most spots (11th to 20th). Newman was 8th in the points when we left Texas...it sure has been all downhill since his victory there (might have something to do with being the Big Dropper back-to-back).(StockCarFans.Com WinstonCup Newsletter)(4-14-2003)
- Jeff Gordon wins at Martinsville: #24-Jeff Gordon won the Virginia 500 at Martinsville Speedway, his first of 2003 and 62nd of his career [he is 7th All Time]. It was Gordon's first win in 15 races, his last being at Kansas in Spet 2002. Gordon as now won at least one race a season for ten years in a row. There has now been 9 different winners in the first 9 races. #18-Bobby Labonte, who started 39th using a provisional finshed a close 2nd. The race ended under yellow as #17-Kenseth spun and created a lot of smoke and #97-Busch got hit by someone and turned around and got stuck on a corner. #38-Sadler and #20-Stewart had a 'spirited' fight for 5th, with Sadler finishing 5th and Stewart getting a cut left rear tire and aa bit ticked off, banging into Sadler a few times on the track during the final yellow. #49-Schrader gets his first top 10 in 55 races and the first ever for BAM Racing. Highest finishing Rookie of the Year candidate was #16-Greg Biffle at 18th. The highest finishing Pontiac of the five in the race? 27th by #32-Ricky Craven. The unofficial top ten:
#24-Jeff Gordon (190 laps led)
#18-Bobby Labonte (49 laps led - started 39th using a provisional)
#8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. (195 laps led)
#38-Elliott Sadler (5 laps led)
#20-Tony Stewart (11 laps led)
#40-Sterling Marlin (23 laps led)
#2-Rusty Wallace (13 laps led)
#49-Ken Schrader (last top 10 was 55 races ago, at Darlington in 9/2001 when he was 10th)
2003 Points Leader: #17-Matt Kenseth finished 22nd, a lap down
Laps Leaders Unofficial (9): #24-Gordon (190 laps led); #20-Stewart (11); #2-Wallace (13); #8-Earnhardt Jr. (195 led the most lap); #40-Marlin (23); #5-Labonte (1); #29-Harvick (13); #38-Sadler (5); #18-Labonte (49); and maybe #7-Spencer (2)
Cars on the lead lap: 12 (of 43 starters)
Off track/out of race (6): #02-Sadler (out-engine); #37-Cope (out-?); #01-Nadeau (out-rearend?); #19-Mayfield (off-changing radiator); #42-McMurray (out-engine); #12-Newman (off-accident/brakes);
Cautions: 11 for 64 laps (approx)
Caution 11: lap 498-END: #17-Kenseth spun and created a lot of smoke and #97-Busch got hit by someone and turned around and got stuck on a corner.
Caution 10: lap 487-492: #5-Labonte and #17-Kenseth got together, Labonte spun around and #97-Busch got into him and Labonte ended up against the inside retaining wall, but no serious damage.
Caution 9: lap 446-451: #32-Craven stopped on the track against the outside wall, stalled and then restarted and drove off. Cut a tire down and NASCAR held him for a lap as they said he regained a lap after taking the yellow flag on caution 8.
Caution 8: lap 435-443: #12-Newman cut a tire and spun around.
Caution 7: lap 348-354: #77-Blaney spun around after coming down on #1-Park, Blaney ended up near the inside turn 4 wall
Caution 6: lap 319-324: debris on the track (metal in turn 2) and #42-McMurray lost an engine.
Caution 5: lap 294-299: #0-Sprague got punted by #15-Waltrip as they had been beating and banging for a few laps, Sprague spun around.
Caution 4: lap 271-282: #01-Nadeau's car slowed up then stalled and is stopped against the outside wall in turn 3. Nadeau got out of the car and looked under the car towards the rear-end.
Caution 3: lap 243-249: #19-Mayfield spun after making contact with #12-Newman
Caution 2: lap 120-127: #21-Ricky Rudd spun out in turn 4 after getting into #17-Kenseth.
Caution 1: lap 79-84: #01-Nadeau and #20-Stewart got together, with Nadeau spinning out doing a 360, but hit nothing and no one hit him.
NOTES: After the Caution 7 green flag, #7-Spencer, #17-Kenseth and #88-Jarrett are just ahead of the leaders, on the tail end of the lead lap, if a yellow comes out, they get back on the lead lap. #23-Wallace got back on the lead lap before the Caution 7 yellow flag. During caution 5, #88-Jarrett had many problems on his pit stops, the team fixed the fender, then came back after loose lugnuts, then sped down pitroad and had to come back for a 3rd time, a driver-thru penalty. On lap 290 #88-Jarrett got tapped by #49-Schrader, went sideways, then got into the #43-Andretti car which allowed him to straighten out but pushed in the fender. #19-Mayfield went to the pits and the team is under the hood during caution 4 trying to fix his power sterring. #42-McMurray's car has lost power steering, Hermie Sadler is standing by if McMurray needs a relief driver, as of lap 258 but suring caution 4, McMurray stayed in the car as he is still on the lead lap. Just about all the teams came in during caution 3, #23-Wallace went down another lap due to pitting under the green just a few laps before. #23-Wallace came into pit under green on lap 228 as the team didn't get all the fuel in the last stop, other teams should start green pit stops soon. #29-Harvick is have heat problems inside the car and the team is working on a heat shield as Harvick's feet are getting burned. he burned his feet during the truck race Sat. During the caution 2 pit stops, #7-Spencer left with his gas can attached, had to come in for a stop and go penalty. Everyone headed to the pits during the caution 1.
Race Re-air: The race will be re-aired on Speed Channel, Wed, Apr 16th, 8:00pm/et (enhanced) and Thurs, Apr 17th, 1:00am/et and at 3:00pm/et.
Results Links at: Jayski 2003 Winston Cup Race Results page
- To the Back Sunday: #22-Ward Burton wrecked his primary car in the early Saturday practice at Martinsville and went to a back up, so he will have to give up his 12th starting spot and fall to the rear of the field before the green flag. Also #37-Derrike Cope lost an engine in practice and goes to the back [he was to start 42nd, so he won't go too far] and #02-Hermie Sadler goes to the back [but was to start 43rd/last anyway] due to a driver change as Dennis Setzer [who won the Truck race] qualified the 2002 Chevy for Sadler, who was in Nashville for the Busch race.(4-12-2003)
- Happy Hour Practice at Martinsville is over. The fastest were #23-Kenny Wallace at 92.155mph, followed by #24-Jeff Gordon 91.958 and #99-Jeff Burton at 91.829. Slowest was #37-Derrike Cope at 89.778.
For speeds see ThatsRacin.com - speeds.(4-12-2003)
- Jeff Gordon wins the pole at Martinsville: #24-Jeff Gordon won the pole for the Virginia 500 at Martinsville Speedway with a speed of 94.307mph, his third spring pole in a row at the track and 43rd career Bud Pole. It is Gordon's first pole since the August Bristol race last season. The outside pole goes to #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. No one missed the race as their were 43 drivers and 43 drivers make up a full field. #88-Jarrett and #31-Gordon are a few of the seven drivers who used provisionals, none were charged since their were 43 entries. #02-Hermie Sadler/Dennis Setzer is running a 2002 Chevy. #88-Dale Jarrett locked up his brakes during his 2nd lap and just drove the car to the garage. #54-Todd Bodine spun during his 2nd lap, but didn't hit anything. For qualifying results and race lineups, see my Jayski's Virginia 500 Qualifying Page, along with practice speeds, comparision between practice and qualifying speeds, provisional rank, pole progression and notes.(4-11-2003)
- Sat First Practice is over at Martinsville. The fastest was #99-Jeff Burton at 92.047mph, followed by #20-Tony Stewart at 92.003 and #43-John Andretti at 91.891. Slowest were #37-Derrike Cope at 81.501 [lost an engine] and #74-Tony Raines at 90.270. For speeds see ThatsRacin.com - Sat First practice speeds.(4-12-2003)
- Ramblings - Martnsville: #24-Jeff Gordon thus becomes our seventh different pole winner in the nine events this year. He now has 43 career poles, with the last 5 coming on short- tracks. Qualifying is always tight at Martinsville, and today was no exception. We had four sets of ties, and amazingly enough, had 4 cars within 1/1000th of a second! Jeff Burton (10th) and Jamie McMurray (11th) ran 20.336, while Ward Burton (12th) and Jimmy Spencer (13th) ran 20.337. Remember, all ties are broken by owner points. Joe Nemechek (6th) has his best starting spot since he lined up 4th at Homestead last November. Kenny Wallace (9th) has his best starting spot since he lined up 8th at Homestead last November. Jack Sprague (14th) has his career-best starting spot for Sunday. His previous best was last week at Talladega when he started 20th. STREAKIN....Ryan Newman has 7 Top-10 starts in a row. Jeff Gordon has 5 Top-10 starts in a row.(StockCarFans.Com Winston Cup Newsletter - note: this is NOT Jayski's opinions or commentary)(4-12-2003)
- Cold and Damp, but no rain at Martinsville, Friday practice is over: The quickest was #24-Jeff Gordon at 93.511mph followed #20-Tony Stewart at 93.497 and #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr at 93.359. Slowest were #02-Dennis Setzer [in for Hermie Sadler] at 91.740 and #54-Todd Bodine at 91.931. The track record is 95.371 by Tony Stewart in 9/2000
For speeds, see ThatsRacin.com - Friday practice speeds.(4-11-2003)
- Qualifying Order is up for the Virginia 500 at Martinsville Speedway. 43 cars/drivers are listed, so all will make the race and no provisionals will be charged [for the third time this year]. First driver due out is #22-Ward Burton, #01-Jerry Nadeau is the last of 43 drivers scheduled to go out. See above for the order links.(4-11-2003)
- Entry List is up for the Virginia 500 at Martinsville Speedway. 44 cars/drivers/teams listed, 42 full time teams along with #02-Hermie Sadler and #37-Derrike Cope. See above for the link and other info on the race.(4-8-2003)
UPDATE: the #14-Larry Foyt is no longer listed and has withdrawn, so 43 cars are listed, all will make the race and no provisionals will be charged, unless there is another entry.(4-8-2003)
- How to break a tie during qualifying?(same speed/time) When drivers are tied for a starting spot during qualifying, it is broken by owners points standings(not drivers). For provisionals standings see the Jayski's Provisional Status page
- Links: Practice speeds, qualifying and results can be found at these
sites: NASCAR Online and That's Racin'
- Martinsville Grand Marshall: In his two years as Attorney General of the Commonwealth of Virginia, Jerry Kilgore has made a
lasting impression in his fight to make Virginia a safer, better place to live. But he has still managed to find a little time to keep up with one of his passions – NASCAR racing. And he’ll get closer than ever to the sport this weekend when he will serve as Grand Marshal for the Virginia 500 NASCAR Winston Cup race at Martinsville Speedway. Kilgore also understands the importance of auto racing to the state
of Virginia. “As a lifelong NASCAR fan and a frequent visitor to Martinsville Speedway, it is a tremendous honor to serve as grand marshal for the Virginia 500,” said Kilgore. “We have a proud racing tradition in the Commonwealth, with outstanding drivers and teams who have fans around the world. Since this region of Virginia is where the sports has its roots, Martinsville really could be called the birthplace of NASCAR.” Kilgore said he is looking forward to a few hours away from his Richmond job and performing his grand marshal duties. Kilgore is married to a former public school teacher, Marty Kilgore. She served as Deputy Secretary of the Commonwealth under Governor Gilmore, and is currently Executive Director of the Tobacco Settlement Foundation. They have two children Klarke W., age nine, and Kelsey E., age six. MW Pole Day, which will feature Winston Cup qualifying for the Virginia 500, is scheduled for Friday, along with qualifying for the Advance Auto Parts 250 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race. The Advance Auto Parts 250 is set for Saturday, while the Virginia 500 is scheduled for Sunday, April 13. Good seats remain for both the Virginia 500 and Advance Auto Parts 250. Virginia 500 tickets may be purchased by calling 1-877-RACE-TIX or by visiting www.martinsvillespeedway.com. Advance Auto Parts 250 tickets may be purchased by calling 1-877-RACE-TIX.(Martinsville Speedway PR)(4-8-2003)
- Martinsville Speedway Unveils New Infield Care Center: A state-of-the-art building that Martinsville Speedway officials hope to use on a very infrequent basis was unveiled Tuesday afternoon. With help from NASCAR Winston Cup driver Ricky Craven and officials of
Memorial Hospital, Martinsville Speedway President Clay Campbell officially opened the doors to the track's new Infield Care Center. The new 2,000-square-foot Infield Care Center, located in the first-and-second turn end of the infield, features a four-bed examination room; a two-bed trauma room; a waiting room; a family waiting room; a reception area; and a break room. The care center will be staffed and equipped by Memorial Hospital of Martinsville. Owned and operated by Province Healthcare, Memorial Hospital is a 237-licensed bed, acute care facility which received full accreditation by Joint Commission in 2002. With over 330,000 square feet, Memorial Hospital is a progressive facility that boasts various centers of excellence, including its Ambulatory Surgery, Women's Center, state-of-the-art Critical Care Unit, Sleep Lab, Hyperbaric/Wound Care Clinic, Julius Hermes Breast Care Center, and our Ravenel Oncology Center which is affiliated with both Duke University and Wake Forest.(Martinsville Speedway PR)(4-2-2003)
- Martinsville Tix: Good seats remain for the Virginia 500 at Martinsville Speedway. Every Spring about this time the Speedway ticket office gets calls questioning if the event is sold out. Although the Virginia 500 is normally sold out before the green flag flies, there are good seats remaining for the event. In addition to available tickets for the Virginia 500 on April 13, there are plenty of prime seats available for the Advance Auto Parts 250 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race, scheduled for April 12. Ticket prices for the Virginia 500 range from $40 to $72. Tickets for the Advance Auto Parts 250 are $30 and all seats are unreserved. Speedway officials also warn potential ticket buyers to avoid unauthorized independent ticket agencies across the country who are selling tickets far above face value.These agencies have no connection with Martinsville Speedway. They have obtained tickets through over-the-phone or internet orders, without divulging their planned use for the tickets. To purchase tickets call the speedway ticket office toll free at 877-722-3849 or order online at www.martinsvillespeedway.com. Martinsville Speedway's ticket office is open daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Saturday's from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.(Martinsville Speedway PR)(3-31-2003)
- Rick Mast to be Grand Marshal at Martinsville's Truck Race: Martinsville Speedway has always been one of Rick Mast's favorite tracks, a home track of sorts for the Virginia native. On Saturday, April 12, Mast will make a special trip to Martinsville Speedway, the first visit to any race track in almost a year for the former Winston Cup driver. Mast won't be in a driver's suit though. Instead he will be the Grand Marshal for the Advance Auto Parts 250 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race. Mast officially retired from racing during the winter after being diagnosed with chronic carbon monoxide poisoning, but he stopped racing late last spring after symptoms of the ailment became severe. "I think it's fitting that Martinsville is the first place I show back up," said the 45-year-old Mast. "That's the track where I had a lot of my early success in the sport. It's the track that I always thought of as my home track." Mast said he didn't return to a track last year because he was still involved in medical testing that eventually led to the diagnosis. "I wasn't diagnosed until the end of the year and I didn't want to go to the track and answer questions over and over without knowing what was wrong with me," said Mast. Mast made 364 starts over a 15-year Winston Cup career. His career highlights included a pole in the inaugural Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and a sixth in the 1989 Daytona 500 while driving an unsponsored car. He won over $9 million in his Winston Cup career. Mast had several top-10 Winston Cup runs at Martinsville Speedway, with his best finish a fourth in the 1996 Old Dominion 500. He also has a Busch Grand National victory at Martinsville, winning a 150-lap Busch race in 1987. Mast says he has missed the camaraderie of racing, but "has kept in touch with a lot of the drivers on the phone and in letters." Mast probably won't ever fully recover from the carbon monoxide poisoning, but he understands the ailment better these days and says the trip to Martinsville shouldn't be a problem. "I'm still working on figuring exactly what exposure I can be around. I'm starting to get a handle on it and I can pretty much tell," said Mast. "Martinsville garage is not a closed-in area, but you still won't find me in there involved in a half-hour conversation with all 40 cars going." Action picks up at Martinsville on Friday, April 11 when both the NASCAR Winston Cup Series and the Craftsman Truck Series qualifying during MW Windows Pole Day. The Advance Auto Parts 250 is set for Saturday, April 12, at 3 p.m. while the Virginia 500 is scheduled for Sunday, April 13, at 1 p.m. Good seats remain for both the Virginia 500 and Advance Auto Parts 250. Virginia 500 tickets may be purchased by calling 1-877-RACE-TIX or by visiting www.martinsvillespeedway.com. Advance Auto Parts 250 tickets may be purchased by calling 1-877-RACE-TIX.(Martinsville Speedway PR)(3-20-2003)
- Martinsville Tix on Sale: Tickets for the Old Dominion 500 NASCAR Winston Cup race at Martinsville Speedway went on sale
Wednesday, March 5th. The Old Dominion 500 is scheduled for Sunday, October 19. Tickets for the 2003 fall race are $40-$72 each and can be purchased by calling the ticket office toll free at (877) 722-3849 or by visiting the Martinsville Speedway website: www.martinsvillespeedway.com. Good seats
also remain for the Virginia 500 NASCAR Winston Cup race at Martinsville Speedway on Sunday, April 13 and the Advance Auto Parts
250 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race on Saturday, April 12.(Martinsville Speedway PR)(3-6-2003)
- Martinsville to increase hours: Beginning this week, you’ll be able to purchase your tickets to the Virginia 500 at Martinsville Speedway as effective this Saturday, March 1, Martinsville Speedway’s ticket office will be open on Saturdays from 9:00am to 3:00pm/et through the Virginia 500 race weekend on April 11-13. And beginning Monday, March 17, the ticket office will extend its daily hours to 8:00am to 5:00pm. And tickets are always available 24 hours a day via “tickets.com” on the speedway’s web site, www.martinsvillespeedway.com or by calling 1-877-RACE-TIX.(Martinsville Speedway PR)(2-26-2003)
- Martinsville Speedway Unveils Plans To Add Seats, Move Railroad Tracks And Construct New Entrance: Martinsville Speedway officials announced Friday the largest one-year capital expenditures project in the 56-year history of the track. Speedway president Clay Campbell unveiled plans that included construction of a new, six-lane entrance to the facility, moving the railroad tracks that parallel the speedway’s back stretch to allow for future expansion, and the addition of 2,000 high-rise seats. Work on the new entrance and seats will begin immediately after the running of the Virginia 500 on April 13. Those two projects should be completed in time for the Old Dominion 500 NASCAR Winston Cup race on October 19. A start-up date on the railroad shift has not been set, but the venture should be completed within a year. The new entrance will be six lanes wide with four lanes for vehicular traffic and two for pedestrian traffic. It will begin at the site of the present entrance, then veer to the left and proceed through the middle of the large parking area on the left side of Speedway Road. The new road will intersect with Speedway Road near the souvenir and display area. The 2,000 new seats will be added in the first-and-second turn end of the track, and will be positioned above the suites in that area. When that section of suites was built in 2000, they were constructed with features to allow for seating expansion. The 2,000 new seats will increase the track’s seating capacity to 88,000. The Norfolk Southern railroad line along the backstretch has prevented growth in that direction, but the speedway and Norfolk Southern completed an engineering study of the project three years ago. Norfolk Southern gave the OK to move the tracks 350 feet back from their present location at the completion of the study. The project will move ahead as soon as the cost estimates included in that study are brought up to date. Martinsville Speedway will fund the cost of relocation project. Two projects are already underway at the Speedway, including the construction of a new state-of-the-art, 2,000-square foot infield care center. The old care center is being converted into a public relations workroom.(Martinewsville Speedway Newsletter)(1-31-2003)
- How to Calculate Track Speeds: use the formula Speed = Distance divided by Time. Distance is Track Length, and Lap Time into Hours. Once hour is 3600 seconds, so the calculation for a 48 second lap at Daytona(2.5 miles) would be: Speed = 2.5 x (3600/48), = 2.5 x 75 = 187.500mph. For a 19 second lap at Bristol(.533 miles): Speed = .533 x (3600/19), = .533 x 189.474 = a speed of 100.990mph
- Past track news: posted in the past at Jayski's Past Track News/Rumors - Martinsville Speedway
- Milestone at Martinsville: #38-Elliott Sadler is slated to make his 150th career Winston Cup start at Martinsville Speedway.(4-8-2003)
- #14 Withdraws from Martinsville to regroup: In an effort to catch up on building up resources and test for upcoming events, the #14 Foyt/Harrah's Racing team has withdrawn its entry for this weekend's NASCAR Winston Cup Series event at Martinsville Speedway. "It was a very tough decision to not go to Martinsville this weekend, but we think it's the best choice for us right now," said Larry Foyt, driver of the #14 Foyt/Harrah's Racing Dodge. "We got such a slow start at the beginning of the year and this will give us a chance to catch up, build up our resources and actually test, something we haven't been able to do since the season started." The team plans on doing a two-day test next week at Richmond International Raceway.(Performance PR Plus PR)(4-9-2003)
- Bodine to double dip, Nashville and Martinsville: Busch Series points leader Todd Bodine [#54-Ford in Cup, #92-Chevy in Busch] will race in Nashville this Saturday and Martinsville on Sunday. Mike McLaughlin will practice and qualify the #92 Busch Series car in Nashville while Bodine is in Martinsville for Cup qualifying/practice.(Fox Sports Net's Totally NASCAR), Hermie Sadler will do the same but Dennis Setzer will practice and qualify the #02 Cup car while Sadler qualifies the #54 Busch car.(4-8-2003)
- Sadler to Pull Double Duty: The #02 GoTeamVa.com Winston Cup car normally driven by Hermie Sadler will be practiced and qualified at Martinsville by Dennis Setzer while Sadler competes in the Busch Series race in Nashville, TN on April 12 the team announced today. Sadler, who qualified in the top 10 for last fall's Martinsville Winston Cup race, knows his car is in good hands. "Dennis Setzer is one of the best race car drivers around. I am honored that he can step in and help us out. His record speaks for itself." GoTeamVa.com is the Motorsports Club website for Go Team Virginia, a program that includes The University of Virginia, Virginia Tech, James Madison University, and Virginia Commonwealth University. The site hosts a fantasy racing league for its members and also gives them chances to win pit passes, race tickets and other special promotions. For more information, visit www.goteamva.com.(The Patterson Group)(4-2-2002)
- See the 2003 Team Chart which has links to past news for each team and info on each team.
PAINT SCHEME NEWS
SOME NOTES and NEWS
- Some Martinsville Facts: Rusty Wallace was the last driver to win both Martinsville races in the same year, doing so in 1994. Geoffrey Bodine (1990), Darrell Waltrip (1989), Cale Yarborough (1977), Richard Petty (1967, 1969 and 1972) and Fred Lorenzen (1964) are the other drivers to accomplish the feat. Terry Labonte leads all other active drivers with 26 top-10 finishes at Martinsville, but has posted only two top-10 finishes in his past 11 races there.(ThatsRacin.com)(4-8-2003)
and more: In the last 11 Martinsville races, there have been 11 different winners. There have been 10 different Bud Pole winners in the last 12 races at Martinsville. Tony Stewart and Jeff Gordon (two each) are the only repeat Bud Pole winners in the 12-race period. #2-Rusty Wallace is the leader in Martinsville victories among active drivers, with six. That victory total is tied (with Dale Earnhardt and Cale Yarborough) for third all-time behind Richard Petty (15) and Darrell Waltrip (11). Wallace was the last driver to win both Martinsville races in the same year, doing so in 1994. #24-Jeff Gordon and #21-Ricky Rudd have three victories apiece at Martinsville. In the five Martinsville races since October 2000, #32-Ricky Craven is the only driver who has led at least one lap in each. #88-Dale Jarrett has had top-10 finishes in his last eight Martinsville events, including a victory in April 2001. #8-Dale Earnhardt Jr. was the only driver last year to have top-five runs in both Martinsville races.
Red Byron won the first NASCAR Winston Cup (then known as NASCAR Grand National) race at Martinsville Speedway. It was a 200-lap event on dirt, held Sept. 25, 1949. Byron drove an Oldsmobile. This was the second “ and last “ victory of Byron's career. He went on to win the series title in 1949.(NASCAR PR)(4-10-2003)
- Qualifying On Speed: Beginning with the Virginia 500 from Martinsville Speedway, SPEED Channel will be the exclusive home for NASCAR Winston Cup Series qualifying for the remainder of the FOX portion of the broadcast season [thru Sonoma in June). The FOX NASCAR team of Mike Joy, Darrell Waltrip, Larry McReynolds and Jeff Hammond will handle the on-air responsibilities. During the second half of the season, which begins July 5 with the Pepsi 400 from Daytona [On NBC], SPEED Channel also expects to carry a majority
of the NASCAR Winston Cup Series qualifying events, tentatively scheduled to handle 15 of the 19 qualifying sessions. In addition, SPEED Channel continues to be the exclusive home of NASCAR Busch Series qualifying for the remainder of the season.(SPEED Channel PR)(4-8-2003)
- Traction Control to be watched at Martinsville: NASCAR will employ “special help” to monitor teams for traction control this weekend at Martinsville, where spinning the tires coming off the corners is a big concern.(Sporting News)(4-7-2003)
- Contingency Plans for travel and TV in case of war: With the country on the verge of war, NASCAR teams and officials are considering contingency plans for travel to Fort Worth, Talladega and Los Angeles in the coming weeks. "I know that became a concern when we went to Dover last year, and I'm sure at some of these tracks there will be different restrictions that come up," Robbie Loomis, Jeff Gordon's crew chief, said. "It's a pretty stressful time on all the folks in the military and their families right now." Fox is expected to put Winston Cup races on its FX cable if or when war begins.(Winston Salem Journal)(3-14-2003)
UPDATE: Jim Hunter, NASCAR vice president of communications, also an Army veteran, addressed the topic of war and racing on Friday. "I have always felt that one of Bill France's quotes was right on target on this subject," Hunter said. "I can remember people asking 'Bill, who are your fans?' And he would say, 'I'll tell you who our fans are. They are the kind of people that win wars for you.' And never has that been more true than today." Hunter said NASCAR has monitored the expected showdown with Iraq for the last several months and has worked through several scenarios which includes postponing an event if necessary. "I don't really want to speculate but certainly that would be an option and we've done it before," Hunter said. "Just to arbitrarily do that, no. It depends on the circumstances, and what is best under those circumstances, not only what is best for the racing community but what is best for the country."(Daytona Beach News Journal)(3-16-2003)
STATS and STUFF