David Ragan Time Management

The winner of Sunday’s STP 500 at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway, like every NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race winner there since the mid-1960s, will receive the traditional grandfather clock trophy in victory lane.

Martinsville track president Clay Campbell’s late grandfather and track founder H. Clay Earles teamed up with a local clock company almost five decades ago to create one of the most unique trophies in all of racing.

So, as David Ragan, driver of the No. 18 M&M’s Crispy Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR), heads to Martinsville this weekend, he’ll keep in mind that the key to a strong run at Martinsville is all about “time management.” Taking the time to manage cooling fans, brakes and tires during each lap around the .536-mile paperclip-shaped racetrack can pay huge dividends for competitors in the form of speed at the end of each green-flag run.

There are several other keys to a top finish Sunday at Martinsville, starting with a good qualifying effort Friday to ensure not only a prime starting spot, but a preferred pit stall, which enables competitors to get on and off of pit road as easily as possible. Ragan’s M&M’s Crispy pit crewwill need to stay on top of its game by performing flawless stops, as track position at Martinsville pays more of a premium than anywhere else on the Sprint Cup circuit.

Finally, a good brake package will be crucial for Ragan to be competitive for all 500 laps. Throughout the long afternoon, drivers will be at top speed down the long straightaways, then do all they can to slow their 3,400-pound racecars enough to roll through the corners before jumping back on the gas. Few if any drivers can be successful at Martinsville if they’ve used up their brakes before covering the race distance.

So, as Ragan and the M&M’s Crispy Racing crew head to Martinsville this weekend, they’ll focus on a total team effort and use a little time management in order to bring home a strong run at NASCAR’s shortest track.

Speedway Digest Staff

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