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Whether it’s before the race or during it, Martinsville Speedway prides itself on getting fans as close to the action as possible and the Goody’s® Headache Relief Shot®500 on Oct. 26 will be no exception.

In an effort to give fans more access than ever before, the historic half-mile track is moving the drivers’ meeting to pit road, just inside turn four.

“Our number one goal is to make sure the fans have the best experience possible when they come to a race here,” said Martinsville Speedway President Clay Campbell. “They’ve grown accustomed to feeling a part of the action during the race and now, by getting a view of what goes on in the drivers’ meeting, they will feel a part of what goes on before the race as well.”

Fans who have added the Green Flag Experience to their ticket package will be able to be on the track, while the drivers’ meeting takes place.

In addition to being on pit road, the drivers’ meeting will be broadcast live on SprintVision.

The Green Flag Experience is a ticket add-on that will give fans an opportunity to attend question and answer sessions with Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kevin Harvick, Kyle Larson, Jamie McMurray and David Ragan. In addition to being able to see the drivers’ meeting, Green Flag Experience holders will also have the opportunity to walk on the track and stay to get an up-close and personal view of driver introductions from the front stretch.

The Green Flag Experience can be added to any Goody’s® Headache Relief Shot® 500 race ticket for just $40, while supplies last.

Ticket prices for the Goody’s® Headache Relief Shot® 500 begin at just $45.

Martinsville Speedway PR

Martinsville Victory Tour Event With Brad Keselowski

Written by
Published in Speedway News
Monday, 20 October 2014 15:20

Brad Keselowski went from the brink of elimination to having a spot in the Eliminator Round of NASCAR’s Chase for the Sprint Cup. Fresh off his must-needed win at Talladega, Keselowski now has his sights set on the Goody’s® Headache Relief Shot® 500 at Martinsville Speedway on Oct. 26.

Keselowski, who in nine career starts owns a 13.4 average finish at Martinsville, said he knows the challenge that lies ahead at NASCAR’s smallest track.

"You know, this place is tough. It’s very, very tough," said Keselowski, the 2012 Sprint Cup Champion. "At any given time you can have a good day spoiled by something out of the ordinary happening."
Keselowski, whose fourth place finish one year ago marked his career best at Martinsville, said he hopes to improve on those efforts and not have a repeat of his first start at the half-mile speedway.

"I still remember my first race here," he said. "I think I wrecked half-way through and I wrecked on pit road and I wrecked again on the racetrack."

Even with the ups and downs, he finished 38th in the spring, Keselowski looks at Martinsville as a special place and knows he’s in for a physical challenge.

"I think Martinsville isn’t just one of the most historic tracks, it is the most historic track in NASCAR. It goes back to the grassroots of not just NASCAR, but automobile racing," he said. "There’s lots of beating and banging. It’s kind of back to the roots, not just because of the age of the track, but because of the genre of the track, as a short track."

Keselowski said the beating and banging he referred to is a product of the unique layout of the track.

"It’s obviously a paperclip," he said. "It’s very, very small; very, very tight. It has fast straightaways and very slow corners."

The Goody’s® Headache Relief Shot® 500 race weekend kicks off on Friday with the Virginia Lottery Pole Day.

Martinsville Speedway PR

Michigan International Speedway officials announced today that the racetrack is using green power as part of a partnership with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Consumers Energy.

The track uses nearly five million kilowatt-hours (kWh) of green power annually, enough green power to meet 100 percent of the organization's electricity use.

MIS is the first facility in all of motorsports and one of the first sporting venues in the country to join the EPA’s Green Power Partnership and offset its energy use from green power.

Michigan International Speedway participates in Consumers Energy’s Green Generation Program.  This demonstrates a proactive choice to support cleaner renewable energy alternatives.

“This is a huge honor and we are proud to be recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency,” Michigan International Speedway President Roger Curtis said. “Using green power helps our organization become more sustainable, while also sending a message to others across the U.S. that supporting clean sources of electricity is a sound business decision and an important choice in reducing climate risk.”

MIS is the first motorsports facility to have 100 percent of its electricity use generated by the Green Power Partnership annually. NASCAR’s fastest track joins the Philadelphia Phillies (Major League Baseball), Philadelphia Eagles (National Football League) and the National Hockey League as only the fourth sports team, league or facility in the Green Power Partnership to be using renewable energy.

Renewable energy or green power is electricity that is generated from environmentally preferable renewable resources, such as wind, solar, geothermal, eligible biogas, biomass, and low-impact hydro. Under Consumers’ Green Generation Program, 78% of the energy is supplied by wind and 22% is supplied by landfill gas. Using green power helps accelerate the development of new renewable energy capacity nationwide and helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the power sector.

“EPA’s Green Power Partnership is excited to welcome Michigan International Speedway as the first NASCAR track to join the Partnership and applauds the speedway for using 100 percent renewable energy,” Green Power Partnership Program Manager Mollie Lemon said. “Complementing the racetrack’s other sustainability initiatives, their green power commitment helps to reduce the speedway’s carbon footprint and provides an excellent example for other sports organizations.”

MIS and Consumers Energy are working together to improve the environment through the track and its campground. The two organizations will work together to develop wind, solar and renewable energy at the track as well as identify ways to cut energy usage for the speedway. In addition, MIS and Consumers will plant more than 3,000 trees in Michigan for the two race weekends.

“We’re happy for Michigan’s leading racetrack and are proud to be powering their commitment to green energy,” Consumers Energy Vice President of Customer Experience, Rates and Regulation Patti Poppe said. “MIS is a leader in our Green Generation program, and they are showing the way for other businesses we serve to sustain both Michigan’s economy and environment.”

According to the U.S. EPA, Michigan International Speedway'sgreen power use of nearly five million kWh is equivalent to avoiding the carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions of nearly 700 passenger vehicles per year, or the CO2 emissions from the electricity use of nearly 500 average American homes annually.

At a glance: MIS environmental efforts

Given its location in the lush Irish Hills area and with over 1,400 acres of property, Michigan International Speedway is at the front of green initiatives, implementing such programs as:

·         Broad-based Recycling – through partnerships with Coca-Cola, Schupan and others at the track, MIS has collected more than 273,834 pounds of plastic bottles, aluminum, glass, cardboard and paper at the track since May 2008. In addition, MIS recycled 113,560 pounds of construction material in 2013. MIS has used recycled asphalt and concrete to create over 10 miles of road in campgrounds, parking lots and tram routes since 2008.

·         Pace Car – A Ford Fusion Energi Hybrid paced the fields for the Quicken Loans 400 and Pure Michigan 400 in 2013. That car, through a promotion between Pure Michigan, Quicken Loans and Ford, was given away to a fan.

·         Government Partnerships – MIS is the first professional sports venue in the state to join the Michigan Business Pollution Prevention Partnership (MBP3) and Retired Engineers Technical Assistance Program (RETAP).  These self-administered, private programs (with overview from the state) are designed to reduce pollution, lower energy usage and reduce costs.

·         School Partnerships – MIS has partnered with Adrian College to observe and analyze its 200 acres of wetlands around track property to inventory plant, animal and insect species in designated areas, as well as conducting water studies and identifying invasive plant species.

·         Educational Partnerships – MIS also partnered with Adrian College to conduct an educational program called Track and Explore to teach children about the animals, plantlife and wetlands that call MIS home.

·         Alternative Power – MIS is researching alternative power sources such as wind and solar to operate its facility. The speedway’s suite/media center opening is solar-powered.

·         Wetlands conservation – MIS maintains approximately 200 acres of protected wetlands in and around the facility.

·         “Green Escape – National Park” – MIS is pursuing open-space programs to make the property available to the community as walking/biking trails and athletic fields. Two soccer fields have been built for use by local school children.

 

MIS PR

Brad Keselowski pulled off NASCAR’s version of the Hail Mary pass, the walk-off homer and the three-pointer at the buzzer.

Needing a victory Sunday at Talladega Superspeedway in order to advance into the next round of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup championship, Keselowski motored into the lead on lap 187 and then held off a swarm of challengers during a thrilling green-white-checkered finish to win the GEICO 500.

Keselowski was briefly passed by Ryan Newman on the backstretch of the final lap, but pulled back into the lead heading into Turn 3 and remained in front the rest of the way, nipping Matt Kenseth at the finish line by 0.14 seconds. Clint Bowyer finished third, Landon Cassill was fourth and Newman came in fifth.

“We had one job to do, and that was to come to Talladega and win, and we did it,” a jubilant Keselowski said afterward. “The first win of my career was here (in 2009) and that was really big. This one at least equals it. To be able to win here is really a privilege. Everything about today is just so special.”

The victory enables Keselowski to advance into the Eliminator Round of the Chase, along with Kenseth, Newman, Joey Logano, Kevin Harvick, Denny Hamlin, Carl Edwards and Jeff Gordon. Sunday’s results knocked Jimmie Johnson, Dale Earnahardt Jr., Kasey Kahne and Kyle Busch out of championship contention.

With so much riding on the outcome, Sunday’s GEICO 500 turned out to be one of the most exciting and intense races in the 45-year history of Talladega Superspeedway. There were 38 official lead changes among 19 drivers, but that doesn’t include all the jockeying that was taking place throughout the field lap after lap.

“It was great excitement,” Bowyer said. “What a wild racetrack to come to for that last run (before the championship field is cut from 12 to eight). I think they really did nail it there. What a never-wracking race to be in.”

The intensity only increased during the final laps, especially for the drivers who either needed a victory to advance (Keselowski, Johnson and Earnhardt) or needed an excellent finish (Kenseth, Kahne and Busch).

“I couldn’t tell you everything that happened in those last two laps. There’s so much that happened so fast,” Kenseth said. “You’re trying to manage your momentum, listen to your car, watch everybody around you and try to make the best moves you can.”

Johnson led the most laps Sunday (84), and Earnhardt was second (31), but both drivers got shuffled back in the pack on some late restarts.

“At least we went down swinging. I’ll take some pride in that,” Johnson said. “We just had a very competitive race and a shot to win it, but we came up short.”

Said Earnhardt, “I’m not retiring or anything, so we’ll try again next year. We’ve had a good season (three victories and 17 top-10 finishes) and we have a lot to be looking forward to. We’re definitely not going to get too tore up about. We just weren’t good enough today.”

TSS PR

Brian Vickers posted a speed of 196.129 mph Saturday at Talladega Superspeedway to win the Coors Light Pole Award for Sunday’s running of the GEICO 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race.

“This feels awesome,” said Vickers, whose first career Sprint Cup victory occurred at Talladega Superspeedway in 2006. “I’ve always loved coming here. This has been a special place for me. I’m sure it’s going to be a wild race (Sunday).”

Six-time Sprint Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson will start on the outside of the front row after he reached 195.732 mph in NASCAR’s new rapid qualifying format, which sets the 43-car field through three rounds of five-minute qualifying sessions.

“I’m thrilled with the results,” Johnson said. “There was a lot of jockeying going on, trying to set up your run against the clock. It’s a bit of a cat-and-mouse game.”

AJ Allmendinger qualified third, followed by Ryan Blaney fourth and Brad Keselowski fifth. Among the drivers still eligible to win the Sprint Cup championship, Kasey Kahne will start eighth, Ryan Newman 11th, Matt Kenseth 13th, Carl Edwards 15th, Dale Earnhardt Jr. 28th, Denny Hamlin 38th, Kevin Harvick 39th, Joey Logano 40th, Kyle Busch 41st and Jeff Gordon 43rd.

There is always an element of tension at Talladega Superspeedway because of the high speeds and close-quarter racing that takes place at the track. But the pressure will be especially strong for Earnhardt, Johnson and Keselowski, who all need to win the race in order to advance to the next round in the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship. Kahne and Kenseth also need a good finish – though not necessarily a victory – in order to avoid elimination.

“Several of these race cars are going to have guys driving and thinking about the situation and understanding how dire and critical things are,” said Earnhardt, who has five career victories at Talladega Superspeedway. “That’s probably going to trigger guys to be making moves and doing things with more urgency than they typically would at one of these races.

“This (new Chase elimination format) really seems to be working as far as drawing a lot of interest. What we would love to see is an exciting race with an awesome finish. I want people talking about how awesome and great the racing was out there on Sunday, regardless of what happens.”

Terry Labonte set to make final career Sprint Cup start: Terry Labonte will make the 890th and final NASCAR Sprint Cup Series start of his career in Sunday’s GEICO 500. Labonte has won 22 Sprint Cup races, including twice at Talladega Superspeedway (1989 and 1997). In 60 career Sprint Cup starts at Talladega, Labonte has posted 14 top-five finishes and 23 top 10s.

“I’ve always looked forward to coming to Talladega,” said Labonte, who will start in the ninth position Saturday. “There have always been some exciting races here. It’s a fun place.”

TSS PR

It’s pretty easy for Steve and Jan Maroun to prove they have a love affair with Martinsville Speedway.

First, they drove 2,596 miles to make sure they were among first to enter the track’s campground when it opened at 8 o’clock Saturday morning, a full week before the Goody’s® Headache Relief Shot® 500 on Oct. 26.

“We left home at 1:30 Tuesday morning,” said Jan.

“Home” is Upland, Calif., 30 miles east of Los Angeles. They have a camper, but did not tow it coast-to-coast. That’s another part of their love story with the historic track.

“We bought it (the camper) and leave it in North Carolina just for this race,” said Jan.

Actually, they bought more than a camper in North Carolina.

“We like it here (Martinsville Speedway) so much, we bought a house in North Carolina,” said Jan. “We leave our camper at the house we bought in Greensboro.”
Jan is originally from North Carolina. She still has family there that tows the camper to Martinsville every fall a week or so before the campground opens to guarantee Jan and Steve have a good spot in line.

Steve, a retired deputy in California, has been coming to the fall Martinsville race for a decade. Jan started coming with him six or seven years ago and was immediately bowled over by the track, its fans and the racing.

“We saw how much fun everyone was having in the campground and we knew we had to buy a camper,” said Jan. “We’ve been to a lot of other tracks and their campgrounds, but nothing is like here in Martinsville.

“It’s a family campground. The deputies that sit over on the corner near us at nights tell us they’ve seen our kids grow up here.”

The Marouns are part of a larger group of family and friends that set up together every year. Their compound is easy to spot, brightly decorated for Halloween.

“We just love it. There are kids running around everywhere having such a good time,” said Jan.

Steve said “the whole overall experience at Martinsville” is awesome, but it’s what happens on track that keeps him coming back.

“I love the racing. The racing here is what it’s all about,” said Steve. “If I wasn’t camping, I’d still be here.”

Saturday’s campground opening marked the official beginning of the Goody’s® Headache Relief Shot® 500 race week. Activity will pick up on Thursday when both the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and NASCAR Sprint Cup Series haulers roll into the track.

The first-on-track action will be Friday when practice for the Goody’s® Headache Relief Shot® 500 begins at noon.

Martinsville Speedway PR

The high-speed chess match that has long been a trademark of racing at Talladega Superspeedway will now extend into qualifying, as Saturday marks the debut of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series’ new rapid qualifying format.

Qualifying for Sunday’s running of the GEICO 500 Sprint Cup race will begin at 3:40 p.m. Saturday. The field will be divided by random draw into two 23-car groups, and each group will compete in what is basically a mini five-minute race. The 24 drivers who post the fastest lap speeds from either group will advance to the second round of qualifying and will be guaranteed a starting spot in the top 24 for Sunday’s race.

Those 24 drivers will then compete in another five-minute dash, with the 12 fastest lap speeds advancing to the final round of qualifying. That speedy dozen will take part in a final five-lap shootout, and the driver with the quickest lap speed during that session will sit on the pole for Sunday’s GEICO 500.

Strategy for the drivers under this format will be similar to what they face on race day in terms of finding drafting partners and plotting how and when to make a pass. But because each qualifying session will last only five minutes, the drivers will have to quickly turn those plans into action.

“Qualifying is going to be based on the group you’re in and if you can catch someone in front of you,” said Jimmie Johnson, a two-time winner at Talladega Superspeedway. “So there will be so many more circumstances that determine your qualifying effort. The short format will put an emphasis on everybody going (fast) right away.”

Denny Hamlin, who won the Aaron’s 499 at Talladega Superspeedway in May, agreed. “Really it’s going to be whatever group forms up the best,” Hamlin said. “You could have all 24 cars from one group moving on to the next round. We’re just going to try to get out there and form something pretty quick.”

Seven of the 12 drivers who are still in contention for the Sprint Cup championship are in the first group, including Dale Earnhardt Jr. He will be joined by Hendrick Motorsports teammates Johnson and Kasey Kahne, as well as Hamlin, Matt Kenseth, Brad Keselowski and Ryan Newman. Danica Patrick and Kurt Busch also will be in the first group.

Jeff Gordon will be the only Hendrick Motorsports driver in the second group, so he might attempt to draft with Kevin Harvick of Stewart-Haas Racing, since SHR has an engine alliance with Hendrick. Chase drivers Carl Edwards, Kyle Busch and Joey Logano also will be in the second group.

Reddick takes Truck Series pole: The new qualifying format was initially put on display Friday afternoon in Camping World Truck Series qualifying for the fred’s 250 Powered by Coca-Cola, with 18-year-old Tyler Reddick capturing the first pole of his career.

“I had no idea we’d be able to get a first-place qualifying position,” Reddick said. “That’s just the uncertainty with this new qualifying format. You don’t know what’s going to happen until it’s said and done with.”

Tyler Malsam qualified second and will start on the outside of the front row for Saturday’s race, which is scheduled to begin at noon. CWTS points leader Matt Crafton qualified third, followed by Johnny Sauter fourth and Ryan Blaney fifth. Mobile native Darrell Wallace Jr. will start 27th.

Crafton, who holds a 19-point lead over Sauter in his attempt to become the first CWTS driver to win back-to-back championships, was one of several drivers who said they enjoyed the faster pace of the new qualifying format.

“I like it. It’s definitely a lot better than what we’ve had,” Crafton said. “I’m sure all the fans and the people watching on TV probably like it more. It’s a little more chaotic.”

The fred’s event gets the green flag at 12 Noon Saturday (LIVE on FOX and MRN/Sirius XM), and later in the day at 3:40 pm (CT), the Sprint Cup drivers take to the track for Food Land/Food Giant Pole Qualifying (LIVE on ESPNEWS) for the GEICO 500.

Here are the two groups for the first round of Saturday’s Sprint Cup qualifying:

GROUP 1

Paul Menard, Mike Wallace, Brian Vickers, Dale Earnhardt Jr. (CHASE), Danica Patrick, Aric Almirola, Kasey Kahne (CHASE), Jimmie Johnson (CHASE), Joe Nemechek,  Ryan Newman (CHASE),  Michael McDowell, Jamie McMurray, Brad Keselowski (CHASE), Casey Mears, David Gilliland, Kurt Busch, Martin Truex Jr., Denny Hamlin (CHASE), Ryan Blaney, Greg Biffle, Matt Kenseth (CHASE), Michael Annett, Alex Bowman.

GROUP 2

Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Cole Whitt, Tony Stewart, Reed Sorenson, AJ Allmendinger, Travis Kvapil, Trevor Bayne, Jeff Gordon (CHASE), Kyle Larson, Michael Waltrip, Landon Cassill, Marcos Ambrose, Terry Labonte, David Ragan, Austin Dillon, Clint Bowyer, Kevin Harvick (CHASE), JJ Yeley, Justin Allgaier, Carl Edwards (CHASE), Kyle Busch (CHASE), Joey Logano (CHASE), Josh Wise

TSS PR

Governor Tom Corbett today announced a $1 million Economic Growth Initiative (EGI) grant to assist in the Pocono Raceway’s renovation and improvement plan.

“This raceway is a major tourism catalyst for Pennsylvania bringing in tourism dollars from neighboring states and around the country,” said Gov. Corbett. “This investment will help ensure the safety of event spectators as well maintain the viability of this worldwide destination.”

The project will include substantial improvements to the raceway’s main facility entrance with the rebuilding of two, 50 year old tunnels. These tunnels provide the only entrance and exit from within the racetrack. The project will also include construction of a pedestrian walkway.

“As a structure that has stood for as long as this, safety becomes paramount in what we look at in projects that we must undertake here at Pocono Raceway stated Brandon Igdalsky, Raceway President and CEO.  This project not only will shore up the safety & longevity of this area of the property, but also increase that first impression of a facility that is instrumental to tourism in the Pocono Mountains.  This project will help us highlight not just who we are, but allow us to help showcase the region and our geography.  In addition, it will open up a new ability to allow pedestrians to be able to safely use our tunnels as well as vehicle traffic.”

The Pocono Raceway has generated more than $250 million in income for Northeast Pennsylvania residents.  The attraction supports more than 2,700 jobs, and has generated almost $15 million of tax revenue for the commonwealth. 

In 2012, Gov. Corbett reformed the state’s method of funding Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program with a significant redesign, making the process more transparent and objective.  Projects are now selected based upon their job-creation potential, their economic impact, as well as their viability and construction readiness.

Prior to Gov. Corbett taking office, the state’s spending and borrowing for capital redevelopment assistance had become unsustainable for the state and its taxpayers, growing from $400 million in 1986 to slightly more than $4 billion in 2010. Gov. Corbett also said that the program had strayed considerably from its intended purpose of encouraging and assisting job growth through regional economic development projects. 

In the program’s prior announcements, the Corbett administration announced 58 new Economic Growth Initiative grants, totaling more than $133 million. The announced projects are expected to create more than 45,000 jobs in 24 counties across the state.

To ensure the commonwealth can continue supporting Economic Growth Initiative grants, Gov. Corbett continued to urge the state legislature to enact meaningful pension reform and address the current pension system’s $50 billion debt. Ballooning pension costs, which consume approximately 60 cents of every new dollar of general fund revenues, detract from the commonwealth’s ability to invest in economic development and projects that spur job creation.

Pocono Raceway PR

On Sept. 27, 1964 Fred Lorenzen won at Martinsville Speedway. His prize for crossing the finish line first – a grandfather clock. It was then NASCAR’s most iconic trophy was born.

When the Sprint Cup Series returns to Martinsville on Oct. 26 for the Goody’s® Headache Relief Shot® 500, it will mark the 50th anniversary of the race winner taking home a grandfather clock trophy.

To put things into perspective, that’s a full five years before Neil Armstrong became the first man to walk on the moon and just eight months after The Beatles made their first American television appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show.

Since Lorenzen won the first grandfather clock trophy, Martinsville Speedway has given more than 125 clocks to race winners. First, to what is the now Sprint Cup Series race winners, then to all Sunday race winners and eventually to all race winners.

However, it’s the drivers who don’t have a grandfather clock that seem talk about it the most.

“Everyone always says they’ve got that place in their house,” said Joey Logano, who has yet to win a grandfather clock. “’There’s my Martinsville clock. I’ve just got to get it first,’ but you’ve got that place for it.”

Paul Menard can count himself among those Logano was referring to.

“It would look good in my living room,” he said during a recent test session at Martinsville Speedway.

Dale Earnhardt Jr., who watched as his dad took home six clocks during his hall-of-fame career, doesn’t have a clock in his collection, but says finding room for one wouldn’t be an issue.

“I don’t know where I’d put it, but I could clear out a spot for sure,” Earnhardt said.

Logano isn’t as concerned with where he would put a clock, should he win one, but rather how he would get it home.

“I think I’d need a trailer for it,” he said. “I couldn’t fit it in the back of my pickup truck.”

At seven feet tall and more than 130 pounds, Logano may have a point.

Much like the green jacket at Augusta, being different is what makes the clock so special.

“You know the clock is just so unique from any trophy we have,” said Clint Bowyer, yet another driver who doesn’t have a clock.

“No other tracks are giving away clocks. They have their niche,” Earnhardt said. “It’s unique to this particular event and so that makes it very special, more so than any plaque or trophy that you could win.”

“The grandfather clock is one of the coolest trophies on the schedule,” said rookie Kyle Larson.

“I think the cool part of that trophy is that it’s something that you put in your house; not necessarily in a trophy room, in your house,” said Jamie McMurray, who actually won at Martinsville, but doesn’t have a clock to show for it. He won a Camping World Truck Series race in 2004, the last truck race to not award a trophy to the winner. “It’s a great conversation piece and also something to give you some really good memories.”

The clock is not the only thing unique about Martinsville. The shortest track on the Sprint Cup schedule can be a challenge to drivers, especially in the beginning of their careers, making a win even more special and coming close, but walking away empty handed such a hard pill to swallow.

“I’ve gotten so close so many times here, especially as of late, the last two or three years,” Bowyer said. “This is the one that I want to win more than anything.”

“I’ve always wanted a clock. We’ve run second. We’ve run third,” said Kasey Kahne, who also finds himself without a clock. “This was probably my toughest race track when I first came into the Sprint Cup Series and I think with laps and testing I’ve figured it out a lot better today.”

“It’d be huge. This is a track for me where we’ve had a fair amount of success,” Casey Mears said. “I haven’t been one of the top two or three guys, but I’ve always been someone to contend and have a good day. If we could bring home one of those clocks, it would be pretty big.”

“I’d love to have a clock,” said Brad Keselowski, who has a Sprint Cup Championship, but no Martinsville trophies. “You know, I don’t have a grandfather clock, but we’ve been close here and had some really strong runs and we’d love to finish that off when we come back here.”

Through just two career starts at Martinsville, Larson has learned the frustration the track can have and the reward that a win would bring.

“I don’t care if it was a random year like the 67th anniversary. To win here at Martinsville would probably be one of the biggest wins of my career, because of how tough it is on me,” he said.  “I hope I can figure this place out someday and take one of those (clocks) home with me.”

As Logano was quick to point out, the clock is more than a trophy, it’s a piece of history, just like the track it represents. The half-mile speedway is the only remaining original NASCAR track.

“There’s something very special about winning here,” Logano said. “Obviously the clock is what everyone talks about, but just winning here at Martinsville. When you think of the history behind it alone, it’s enough just to say you’ve won here, but having that clock is special.”

Ultimately though, it is all about the clock.

“It would be awesome,” Menard said. “The clock is one of the trophies to have in NASCAR and I don’t have one. I really want one.”

Martinsville Speedway PR

Whether you’re a longtime NASCAR fan who’s passionate about the sport’s rich history or a car buff with an interest in unique rides, the Goodguys Southeastern Nationals will have a can’t-miss stock car collection on display when the annual car show rolls into town next weekend.

In partnership with Denver, North Carolina-based Rhine Enterprises, Goodguys officials are bringing together a collection of rare cars that were driven by some of the biggest icons in motorsports.

“We restore original vintage and historic NASCAR race cars,” said Rhine Enterprise founder Bill Rhine. “I like what NASCAR is, but I love what it was. From the 70s through the 80s, it just caught my attention. It was spectacular.”

Rhine goes to great lengths to restore the cars to their original condition, even bringing in former drivers and crew members to tell stories about the cars and how they were built in hopes of adding as much authenticity to the restoration projects as possible.

The centerpiece of the display is a restored 1981 No. 2 Wrangler Pontiac from the Rod Osterlund racing stables, which has not been on public display in more than 25 years. The familiar blue and yellow Wrangler was driven by NASCAR Hall of Famer Dale Earnhardt.

Other cars on display during the three-day Goodguys Southeastern Nationals include:

  • A No. 2 Old Milwaukee Pontiac driven by Tim Richmond in the early 1980s. One of the original 1983 Blue Maxx Racing Pontiac Lemans, the car won at Darlington and Pocono.
  • A No. 00 Sam Ard, Thomas Brothers Country Ham Olds Omega, a restored original speedway car raced in the mid-1980s. This will be the first time the car has been viewed by the public in more than 25 years.
  • A No. 75 RAHMOC Racing 1977-80 Monte Carlo. This is one of the last of the big cars, (pre 1981). It was run out of the Butch Mock and Bob Rahilly racing stables from 1977 through 1980. This car was raced by Harry Gant at Texas Speedway in 1980 and Lennie Pond at Atlanta in 1980.
  • A No. 43 Petty Enterprise 2002 Dodge. This is the 2002 POP SECRET Dodge that raced in the Pop Secret 400 at Rockingham Speedway, driven by John Andretti. The car’s chassis raced several races during the 2001-02 race seasons but is most significant for the one race limited edition paint scheme run at the 2002 Pop Secret Rockingham race.

In addition to this rare collection of racing muscle, fans will enjoy a kaleidoscope of candy colored hot rods, custom cars, muscle cars and tricked out trucks to the infield of Charlotte Motor Speedway, filling the spacious fairgrounds with more than 2,500 cars throughout the weekend. Entries from 28 states and two Canadian provinces are currently registered, signaling a 10 percent increase over last year’s event.

The colorful show is part of the Goodguys’ 19-event national schedule, which features the nation’s most progressive high-performance automotive lifestyle events. The new event spotlights customized American muscle. On display will be everything from Lil’ Deuce Coupes (’32 Ford hot rods) to 1970s era muscle cars to new American performance machines like the new generations of Chevy Camaro, Dodge Challenger and others.

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