RACE #8 – MARTINSVILLE SPEEDWAY
Celebrating its monumental 75th anniversary, Martinsville Speedway gears up for an historic weekend as the host of all three NASCAR National Series for the second of three-consecutive short-track races. The action-packed weekend marks the only time this season that all three series will compete under the lights at the same venue as Chevrolet teams have their eyes set on winning the prestigious grandfather clock. The bowtie brand returns to Martinsville Speedway as defending winners after Chevrolet claimed the victory in all three series during NASCAR’s last appearance at the venue in October 2021.
The NASCAR Cup Series (NCS) will take on the .526-mile paperclip in the Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 400 on Saturday, April 9, at 7:30 p.m. ET. The 400-lap event marks the first of just four night races on the 2022 schedule for NASCAR’s premier series. Chevrolet has captured the victory at Martinsville Speedway 58 times to lead all manufacturers. In the series last appearance at the track, Alex Bowman piloted his No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet to victory, his third-career NCS short-track victory and his first at Martinsville Speedway.
Chevrolet drivers in the NASCAR Xfinity Series (NXS) will take the green for the Call 811 Before You Dig 250 Powered by Call811.com on Friday, April 8, at 7:30 p.m. ET. The Camaro SS swept both race wins in the series at Martinsville Speedway last season. The spring 2021 race saw Josh Berry, the short-track phenom who was competing a part-time schedule for JR Motorsports in 2021, lead a race-high 95 laps to capture his first-career NXS victory. In the series return to the venue in the fall, Noah Gragson wheeled his Chevrolet-powered machine to victory lane, a win that secured his spot in the Championship 4.
The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) will start the three-race weekend with the Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 200 on Thursday, April 8, at 8 p.m. ET. The 200-lap race will be the only appearance by the series at the Virginia-based track this season. The 2021 Martinsville race for the series saw GMS Racing claim the victory, marking Chevrolet’s 257th all-time NCWTS win. NASCAR Cup Series regular, William Byron, will be take on the NCWTS behind the wheel of the No. 7 Spire Motorsports Silverado. The 24-year-old Charlotte native is no stranger to the series. Byron ran a full season in the NCWTS in 2016, capturing seven wins that season to set a NASCAR record for a first-year driver. In 25 starts in the series, Byron has also recorded 11 top-five’s, 16 top-10’s and three pole wins.
ALL-TIME NCS WIN LEADER AT MARTINSVILLE
In the 146 NASCAR Cup Series races that have been held at Martinsville Speedway, Chevrolet has made its way to victory lane a record-58 times to top all manufacturers. Chevrolet team, Hendrick Motorsports, leads all organizations in NCS wins at Martinsville with 26 victories, including holding the title as the most recent winner at the venue following Alex Bowman’s win in the fall 2021 event. Other drivers that have contributed to Hendrick Motorsports triumphs at Martinsville include: Jeff Gordon (nine), Jimmie Johnson (nine), Darrell Waltrip (four), Geoffrey Bodine (one), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (one) and Chase Elliott (one).
CHEVROLET REMAINS ON TOP IN STANDINGS
Heading into the eighth points-paying race on the season, Chevrolet remains on top of the driver and manufacturer points standings in both the NASCAR Cup Series and NASCAR Xfinity Series. 2020 NCS Champion, Chase Elliott, leads the bowtie brigade into the NCS driver standings, tied for the top position. Chevrolet drivers occupy two of the top-five and four of the top-10 heading into the Martinsville race weekend.
The winningest brand in NASCAR also continues to lead in the NASCAR Cup Series manufacturer standings. The Camaro ZL1 has recorded four wins thus far this season with four different Chevrolet drivers, the most of all manufacturers. The bowtie brand also continues to top all manufacturers in top-five’s (20), top-10’s (32), laps led (786) and stage wins (7).
Following the Richmond race weekend, Chevrolet remained in the top position of the NASCAR Xfinity Series driver and manufacturer points standings. Five of the top-six and seven of the top-10 of the driver points standings are occupied by Camaro SS drivers. Chevrolet’s most recent winner in the series, AJ Allmendinger, took over the top spot in the driver standings following his fourth top-five finish of the season at Richmond.
DALE EARNHARDT JR. BACK BEHIND THE WHEEL
Career Chevrolet driver and NASCAR Hall of Famer, Dale Earnhardt Jr., is set to make his only appearance behind the wheel during the 2022 NASCAR Xfinity Series season this weekend at Martinsville Speedway, piloting the No. 88 Hellman’s Fridge Hunters Camaro SS. Dale Earnhardt Jr. has made 35 NASCAR Cup Series starts at the .526-mile venue, claiming one win (2014), 13 top-five’s and 18 top-10’s in his NCS career. Since retiring from full-time competition in 2017, Earnhardt Jr. has raced four times in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, with this weekend marking his first appearance at Martinsville Speedway since retirement.
· Active NASCAR Cup Series Chevrolet drivers who have won at Martinsville Speedway:
Alex Bowman (2021)
Chase Elliott (2020)
· In 146 events at Martinsville Speedway, Chevrolet leads all manufacturers in wins (58) and pole awards (53). The bowtie brand has also recorded 269 top-five’s, 511 top-10’s and led 28,078 laps at the .526-mile paperclip.
· Heading into the eighth race of the 2022 season, Chevrolet leads all manufacturers in NASCAR Cup Series wins (4), top-five’s (20), top-10’s (32), laps led (786) and stage wins (7).
· Five Team Chevy drivers have combined seven NASCAR Cup Series stage wins:
Tyler Reddick 2 - (Fontanax2)
Alex Bowman 1 - (Las Vegas)
Ross Chastain 1 - (Las Vegas)
William Byron 2 – (Phoenix)(Atlanta)
Daniel Suarez 1 – (COTA)
· With its 40 NASCAR Cup Series Manufacturer Championships; 33 NASCAR Cup Series Driver Championships; and 818 all-time NASCAR Cup Series wins, Chevrolet holds the title of winningest brand in NASCAR.
· Chevrolet leads in the driver points standing in both the NASCAR Cup Series and NASCAR Xfinity Series. Chase Elliott is tied for the top spot in the NCS standings; and AJ Allmendinger leads in the NXS standings by 20 points. The bowtie brand also sits atop both the NCS and NXS manufacturer points standings.
FS1 will telecast the NASCAR Cup Series Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 400 at 7:30 p.m. ET on Saturday, April 9. FS1 will telecast the NASCAR Xfinity Series Call 811 Before You Dig 250 Powered by Call811.com at 7:30 p.m. ET on Friday, April 8. FS1 will telecast the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 200 at 8 p.m. ET on Thursday, April 7. Live coverage of all three events can also be found on MRN and Sirius XM NASCAR Radio Channel 90.
ROSS CHASTAIN, NO. 1 GOPRO CAMARO ZL1
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON TRACKHOUSE RACING’S SUCCESS IN 2022?
"There have been smiles this year. You’ve probably heard some of us talk about it, but it is different. For the same building and most of the same employees, it’s different. This car gives us a lot of things to smile about and we’ve been fast."
WHAT HAS IT BEEN LIKE TO BE PART OF THE TRACKHOUSE TEAM THAT HAS MADE SUCH A LEAP IN 2022?
“I’ve been grateful and I keep telling the boys and girls that at Trackhouse (Racing). Thank you for giving me fast cars because nobody’s car is comfortable to drive right now. We’re spinning out; I’ve wrecked. I’ve over-corrected. But as we’ve went through each race, they’ve made it tolerable. Just that extra little bit where I can start to hustle it. I have to keep reminding myself – come off of 100 percent because they are hard to drive. You see guys, we’re all spinning out and bottoming out. It’s been a grateful feeling for me that they’re giving me cars with speed. Our car at Auto Club was fast and I plugged it in the wall, head-on, off turn four. I can’t be doing that.”
AUSTIN DILLON, NO. 3 GET BIOETHANOL CAMARO ZL1
“I’m really excited for Martinsville Speedway. Martinsville is a place where you get in there and can really race hard. It’s a short track. It is one of those places where you go through so many emotions during the course the race. Someone might bump you and that give-and-take can get frustrating. It’s a short little paper clip, with hard-braking corners. We’ve had some solid runs there, and I think that we can go back and do it again. We have Get Bioethanol is on the car, and we’ll be pumped when we get there. It’s a place we circle on the schedule every year because we know we have a shot to win. I haven’t gotten that Martinsville clock yet, but we raced at a similar short track at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum earlier this year. It was a good start for us in this Next Gen Chevy. We had a top-three finish and based on that, I think we’ll be able to show up when it comes to Martinsville.”
KYLE LARSON, NO. 5 HENDRICKCARS.COM CAMARO ZL1
LARSON ON RACING AT MARTINSVILLE SPEEDWAY:
"I love racing at Martinsville, but I haven’t been that fast there in the past – at least fast enough to win. I always go there with enthusiasm, with the mindset to continue to work hard and evolve and to become better. Hopefully we can battle for the win."
CLIFF DANIELS, CREW CHIEF, NO. 5 HENDRICKCARS.COM CAMARO ZL1
DANIELS ON PREPARING FOR THE FLAT SHORT TRACK:
“The closest track we’ve raced this year is the (Los Angeles Memorial) Coliseum where we ran the Clash. Still, it’s very, very different compared to Martinsville. We try to piece together from that data point, from the Phoenix test, the Phoenix race and from Richmond. None of those are like Martinsville, but we can base our approach on the differences of those tracks compared to Martinsville in years past.”
TYLER REDDICK, NO. 8 3CHI CAMARO ZL1
WHAT’S THE MINDSET HEADING TO MARTINSVILLE SPEEDWAY THIS SATURDAY?
“With the speed that we had at the LA Coliseum for The Clash in the beginning of the season, we are very intrigued and curious to see how the speed that we had at a short track that is very similar to Martinsville’s shape and banking translates to the bigger of the two racetracks. With this new car, we saw that, at Richmond in particular, that with a similar tire, it raced a lot more like last year’s car than we’ve seen at other races. I’m assuming that the tire isn’t much different, I haven’t heard anything about the tire yet. If that remains fairly close then I would think that the race will play out a lot like the races did with the last car, too. Richmond is always a long race filled with lots of opportunities to make a mistake that really changes the outcome of your day, that’s how it will be this weekend at Martinsville, too. Hopefully our setup is right for Saturday, and we can take the things we learned from Richmond and put them into our plans. Track position and staying up front all day long is going to be very important. Outside of that, we just need to keep executing clean races and make the most out of our days.”
HOW DO YOU FEEL YOUR SEASON IS GOING SO FAR?
“There have certainly been a lot of highs and lows this season. Being so close to that first win has been tough but also as just added more motivation. My team and everyone at ECR have been working around the clock on these new cars to bring us fast Chevys every single week and they have. Everyone has been working so hard on the ins and outs of the car as well as strategy, setup, everything. We have consistently brought strong and fast cars to every racetrack. Sometimes luck hasn’t been on our side, but I know that if we continue to execute the right way and work on improving certain elements, our time is coming. Looking back, we’ve been able to run up front for most of the races and we’ve also been able to fight back from a lot of deficits. Richmond last week showed that. None of us were necessarily happy with how the car was running but we were able to salvage a 12th-place finish and stay in it the best we could. I’ve learned a lot as a driver about this new car and I know everyone at RCR has, too. This season is long, and we’ve got so much racing left to do. I’m proud of our results this far and know we will achieve even better ones.”
CHASE ELLIOTT, NO. 9 LLUMAR CAMARO ZL1
ELLIOTT ON THE TEAM’S PERFORMANCE IN 2022:
"I feel like we’ve been solid at times. Other than Vegas, I felt like there’s been signs of pace for us. We just haven’t put a whole day together yet. We’ll keep doing our thing and continue to move forward. That’s really all you can do. This deal pays in November. We’ve got a long ways to go, and I feel like we have a great team, and that’s the part of the year we want to be prepared for most. We want to win and we want to gain as many bonus points as we can, don’t get me wrong, but a lot of racing to be done."
ALAN GUSTAFSON, CREW CHIEF, NO. 9 LLUMAR CAMARO ZL1
GUSTAFSON ON HEADING TO MARTINSVILLE IN THE NEXT GEN CAR:
"Martinsville is super unique and that's what I like about it. I really like going there. With this new car, it’s just going to be a huge difference for us to get it to do what the old car did setup-wise, so that’s going to be a learning curve for us."
WILLIAM BYRON, NO. 24 RAPTORTOUGH.COM CAMARO ZL1
BYRON ON HOW HE APPROACHES RACING AT MARTINSVILLE:
"I think Martinsville has always been a good track for us especially with two top-five finishes last year. We just need to hit on the things that are crucial there and work on it. With the shape of the corners and the rhythm it takes, I feel like I have an eye for what a car should look like to get around there just from coming to so many races growing up. I think some of that translates to inside the car when you’re thinking through what lines to take and how to pass somebody. Growing up short-track racing helps too. Similar to Denny (Hamlin), I grew up racing around the Southeast and running a lot of late model races. I’ve gone back and done some of that this year and that helps reaffirm how I race at tracks like this."
RUDY FUGLE, CREW CHIEF, NO. 24 RAPTORTOUGH.COM CAMARO ZL1
FUGLE ON HIS THOUGHTS OF RACING 400 MILES AT MARTINSVILLE:
"I’m excited to race under the lights this weekend at Martinsville, especially for 400 laps. I’m excited to have a little bit of a shorter race honestly. I like that style. It’s a bit more up my alley of racing from the other series. You really have to try to get all the work done early. You won’t have as much time to recover from mistakes now, so you really have to minimize those. Realistically the way we race these races is we race to the end of stage one, we race to the end of stage two and then to the race end. It makes them all shorter races essentially. With every call you make, and even how you start the race, you can’t be as far off and need to make better decisions early on. I like those situations and the pressure it brings. I welcome that challenge."
TY DILLON, NO. 42 CHEVYLINERS.COM CAMARO ZL1
WHAT HAS YOUR EXPERIENCE BEEN LIKE WITH THE NEXT GEN CAR SO FAR? WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THIS NEW MODEL?
“I love it. Anytime there is a massive change, it opens the door for massive opportunity. That is the way that I choose to look at it. I don’t like to get stuck on change and why it shouldn’t work, but why it is going to work. It has been a lot of fun to drive. There are a lot of nuance things that I still don’t know why it feels a certain way or why it does certain things, but that is something over time that we will learn and build a notebook on. Time is only going to tell when you’ve had so many years of experience in a certain style and build of a car. There are so many new components of the car and as a driver, you become more connected to the car with more laps that you have in it. I’m growing in it, we are all growing in it, and it’s only a matter of time before it feels second nature to drive it.”
ERIK JONES, NO. 43 FOCUSFACTOR CAMARO ZL1
HOW ARE YOU ADAPTING TO THIS NEW CAR? DOES IT FIT YOUR DRIVING STYLE?
“You are constantly learning. Every time you hit the racetrack, you are going through figuring out what this car likes from a driver standpoint - of what you can do as a driver to make it better, what you need to ask for to make it better. People are having to drive a tighter racecar at this point. No one is super comfortable with driving it free and figuring out what the limits are. But that is part of a new car and learning through it. Overall, I feel pretty comfortable with it. I do feel like it suits my driving style, especially on short tracks and so far, the mile and a half as well. I’ve been pretty happy with the race car and how it’s drove to this point.”
ALEX BOWMAN, NO. 48 ALLY CAMARO ZL1
BOWMAN ON HIS CURRENT MOMENTUM:
"We have had three back-to-back top-10 finishes, which is getting us closer to our goal of being consistent. Having a great race at COTA and then following that up with an eighth place at Richmond boosts the confidence of everyone on the team, not just myself. Greg (Ives) and the rest of the guys at the shop work really hard to give me the best Ally Chevy they can put together and it's showing. Going back to Martinsville, a place that I won late last year, is something that keeps us looking in the right direction. I think we can go down there and repeat our success from last season."
GREG IVES, CREW CHIEF, NO. 48 ALLY CAMARO ZL1
IVES ON HIS APPROACH TO MARTINSVILLE AND THE WAVE OF CONFIDENCE THE TEAM HAS:
"Martinsville has been a great racetrack for Hendrick Motorsports. You always want to go there and perform well. It definitely boosts our confidence coming off our recent win there at the end of last year in addition to how we have been performing at short tracks recently. We are going to go there with a solid race car and a strategic plan. Barring any mistakes, I feel like we have what it takes to go out and contend for another win."
DANIEL SUAREZ, NO. 99 GOPRO CAMARO ZL1
DO YOU THINK HAVING A TEAMMATE THIS YEAR HAS BEEN THE KEY TO TRACKHOUSE SUCCESS?
“I think it’s a combination of things. Definitely having a teammate helps. That’s part of the success. Having that information and sharing that information; knowing exactly what they’re going to do and what we’re going to do. But I think that probably the biggest improvement from last year is the people. Having our own people working towards the speed and having a lot of support from Chevrolet. I think that’s the combination. I feel very, very fortunate to be in this position. We have everything that is required to go out there and be successful. Now, it’s up to us to do the job.”
GRANT ENFINGER, NO. 23 CHAMPION POWER EQUIPMENT SILVERADO RST
"Martinsville is always an intense race from all angles. As a driver, you have to manage your brakes, tires, fenders, and emotions. GMS Racing has shown some great success at that track in years past, and I personally love the short tracks, so I am really looking forward to this race. My No. 23 Champion Power Equipment team has made some great strides and we are ready to take it to the next level this weekend."
JACK WOOD, NO. 24 CHEVYLINERS.COM SILVERADO RST
"I'm looking forward to returning to Martinsville for the second time with my No. 24 team. The truck schedule has been all over the place to start out the year, going to different types of disciplines each week, so I am excited to get back to some short track racing. I feel confident heading back this weekend because we showed a lot of speed last year, but just never really got the track position that we needed to do anything with it. Hopefully the weather will allow us to qualify so we can have a good spot to roll off from, and the goal will be to stay up there as much as possible.”
Total (1949-2021): 40
First title for Chevrolet: 1958
Highest number of consecutive titles: 13 (2003-15)
Years Won: 1958, 1959, 1960, 1961, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1976, 1977, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1993, 1995, 1996, 1998, 2001, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2021
Total (1949-2021): 33
First Chevrolet champion: Buck Baker (1957)
Highest number of consecutive titles: 7 (2005-11)
Most Recent: Kyle Larson (2021)
Years Won: 1957, 1960, 1961, 1973, 1976, 1977, 1979, 1980, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1990, 1991, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2001, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2014, 2016, 2020, 2021
Record for total race wins in single season: 26 (2007)
Laps Led: 786
Top-five finishes: 20
Top-10 finishes: 32
Stage wins: 7
- Tyler Reddick (Fontanax2)
- Alex Bowman (Las Vegas)
- Ross Chastain (Las Vegas)
- William Byron (Phoenix), (Atlanta)
- Daniel Suarez (COTA)
CHEVROLET IN NASCAR CUMULATIVE STATISTICS:
Total Chevrolet race wins: 818 (1949 to date)
Poles won to date: 724
Laps led to date: 242,122
Top-five finishes to date: 4,158
Top-10 finishes to date: 8,587
Total NASCAR Cup Wins by Corporation, 1949 to Date:
General Motors: 1,152
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles: 467