After a challenging west coast swing on intermediate tracks, Circle Sport-Leavine Family Racing looks forward to switching things up with the first short track race of the 2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) season at Martinsville Speedway taking place this Sunday.
NASCAR driver Michael McDowell will pilot the No. 95 KLOVE Radio Chevrolet SS during the STP 500 race weekend. McDowell has 10 NSCS starts at Martinsville Speedway with his best finish (26th) coming in his NSCS series debut in 2008 and again in 2013.
“Martinsville is always a test of endurance and durability, which I’m looking forward to after spending Easter in Phoenix with family,” said McDowell. “This is the team’s first time at a short track with our Chevy and we have a lot of high expectations in these races.”
Circle Sport-Leavine Family Racing is enthusiastic about the change to short track racing after using the off-weekend to regroup following the three-week west coast swing. The team has always enjoyed short track racing, as it evens out the playing field. Previous short track success for the team includes an 18th place finish at Bristol in 2014.
It will be crew chief Dave Winston’s first short track race with McDowell, which is an exciting first for the pairing.
“I’m looking forward to Martinsville for sure and I know that Michael is as well,” said Winston. “I have worked with some drivers that just flat did not like Martinsville so going there was not something to look forward to. I grew up going to short track races all around and I really enjoy this type of racing. So, I am cautiously optimistic about the weekend but really looking forward to it.”
Additionally, Winston is eagerly anticipating Martinsville’s unique challenges.
“Martinsville is hard because the line you practice all weekend goes out the window when the race starts,” explained Winston. “When you run the track by yourself in practice, not actually racing somebody, you can use the track to your benefit. Once the race starts and you have to adjust your line to either pass somebody or to hold off a pass from another, everything you have worked to do can go out the window.”
The STP 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Martinsville will take place on Sunday, April 3 at 1pm ET. Follow the race team on Twitter for updates at @CSLFR95.